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Iron Fist’s origins and how they were changed for the Netflix series

Finn Jones strikes the heroic figure as Iron Fist aka Danny Rand on Netflix

This past weekend saw the premiere of Iron Fist, which despite negative early reviews has done pretty well and had a fairly positive reaction from fans.

As with every comic book adaptation, this series saw a number of changes made to the character’s origin story and we thought it would be fun to take a look at some of them.

For those that are not aware of the character’s history, Iron Fist was created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane. The character was a reaction to the pop culture phenomena of Kung Fu and other martial arts, which got huge in the 1970s thanks to actors such as Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris.

Much like the series, the comic centred on Danny Rand a white man from a wealthy background who is presumed dead by the world, but returns to New York as the mystical warrior Iron Fist.

In the comic book Rand and his family go missing while on an expedition to the mythical land of K’un-L’un.

Apparently Danny’s father Wendell Rand saved the life of the city’s ruler, Lord Tuan, and was adopted as Tuan’s son.

However Wendell eventually left K’un L’un and became a wealthy entrepreneur in the United States. He later wanted to take his family there to meet Lord Tuan.

David Wenham as the manipulative Harold Meachum, who killed Danny Rand’s parents in the comics

As we know, Danny loses both his parents in a tragic plane crash in the Netflix series, but the comic sees Danny’s parents being murdered by his father’s business partner Harold Meachum.

He leaves Danny to die, but later learns that Danny survived and was raised by the monks. Meachum in the comics winds up losing both his legs after getting lost trying to make his way home after leaving Danny.

The comic book mythology deals a lot more with Danny and his late father’s relationship with the city of K’un-L’un than the series does.

It’s something which seems to have either been put on the back-burner for later series or just dropped for the time being.

In the comics we learn that Danny’s father had the opportunity to become Iron Fist, but chose family and business instead.

He is also far less of an imposing figure than in the series, as Iron Fist sees how pathetic Harold has become and refuses to kill him.

So the change to Harold, by making him a tougher and more manipulative enemy, felt like a good move — especially given that he dies twice in the story, but is saved thanks to the mystical secrets of The Hand.

In the series Danny doesn’t know that his parents were murdered until later on, which was also a good move.

Another change for the TV seres is the use of The Hand.

Iron Fist in the comics most likely would not have had any dealings with The Hand until much later if indeed he ever did.

The reason being is The Hand were not created in the comics universe until 1981 and were the idea of Frank Miller for use in his run on Daredevil.

All that said, it makes wonderful sense to have Iron Fist go up against The Hand given the mystical nature of the character.

It also makes sense given that the Daredevil series has used them as well, so it could be paving the Way for Defenders which is due out later in the year.

Another change was how Danny AKA Iron Fist meets Colleen Wing. In the comics Colleen already knows of Danny and is actually sent to meet him. Additionally Danny and Wing are just friends in the comics and not romantically involved like in the series.

Iron Fist meets Colleen Wing, his future fighting partner and romantic interest

In the comics, Danny has a relationship with Misty Knight, who we saw in the Luke Cage series, which premiered last year.

All these changes aside, I really enjoyed the series and certainly feel that the television critics were overly harsh on it.

One of the biggest criticisms from critics was the fact that Iron Fist was not Asian.

This criticism to me did not make sense given that the character was written as a white guy in the comics.

I think it would have been stereotyping to have the character be Asian, and a little too obvious.

As far as differences between the TV show and comics, we’re literally just scratching the surface here.

There are very likely to be many more that haven’t been mentioned. Feel free to share them with us if you like in the comments below.

Iron Fist is currently available to stream on Netflix.

Ian Cullen is a TV journalist and when not writing for monstersandcritics.com runs his own website SciFiPulse. He has also written for Star Trek Magazine.... read more

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