As Marvel Studios has reclaimed the rights to the Defenders characters, there is plenty of speculation about new series for Disney+ or characters joining other shows. But what if Marvel took Iron Fist, the least popular of the Defenders Netflix series, and made a blockbuster?
That may sound out of left field to Marvel fans, but when Mikey Sutton recently scooped the story, it certainly made sense. In the second half of 2021 (hopefully) we’ll be seeing Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings hit the big screens. When it does, the studios are hoping for a major success. They’d be primed to follow that success up with a martial arts blockbuster. Iron Fist is the perfect opportunity to make that happen. If things went perfectly, Sutton says Shang-Chi 2 would be the first place they’d feature Iron Fist.
In that scenario, Shang-Chi 2 would include a massive fight scene between Shang-Chi and Iron Fist. This wouldn’t turn Iron Fist into a villain, of course. We’re talking about a fight scene between heroes, in true Marvel comics tradition.
Sutton added that if that did well, the studios would move forward with Iron Fist solo movies. If greenlit, they would be interested in adapting the comics created by Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker with artist David Aja.
There are a lot of dominos that have to fall into place in that scenario, of course. It all begins with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings doing exceptionally well at the box office. If that happens, there will be more speculation about recasting Iron Fist. There has already been speculation about how Marvel will handle this with all the characters they’re getting the rights back to. It seems unlikely they would recast Finn Jones. Marvel will likely want to separate their fresh takes from what Netflix has done with their series.
Speculation about what Marvel may do with Iron Fist and the other characters returning from Netflix has been heavy. Many of the series they did were hits with fans. However, there was a common complaint of a disconnect between the Netflix series and the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe. Because different companies owned the character rights, you wouldn’t see characters that should exist in the same world. Marvel getting back the rights could potentially bridge that gap.
However, the company is making a lot of moves right now with fresh series for streaming on Disney+. Many are questioning whether Marvel will create stories in a way that creates the same story gap. After all, the writers for the blockbuster movies aren’t in the same room as the writers for the streaming series. Will the Defenders characters return to Marvel, only to see the same story treatment?
It’ll be a while before we have answers to that question. The deal between Netflix and Marvel means that Marvel Studios has to wait two years after the ending of each Netflix show before Marvel can use the characters again. Iron Fist was the first Defenders series to be canceled at Netflix. It aired for two seasons to mixed reception.
Will the character of Iron Fist do better with a series of blockbuster martial-arts films? We’ll have to wait a while to see.