(Note: This post contains spoilers for “Iron Fist” Season 1.)
The trouble with being a superhero like Danny Rand (Finn Jones) in Netflix’s new adaptation of Marvel’s “Iron Fist” is that your friends tend to turn into supervillains.
At least a few of the characters we see in Season 1 of “Iron Fist” won’t always be Danny’s friends, and a few even change sides before the end of the first 13 episodes. When it comes to villains, allegiances can often change based on the situation, but the first season gives some sense of who might wind up being evil and who’s still on Team Danny. And we know, thanks to Marvel’s “Iron Fist” comics, which characters have alter-egos we can expect to see in the future.
Here are a few of the big bads and former friends we can expect to see show up in Danny Rand’s future, either in “Iron Fist” Season Two, or in the upcoming Netflix Marvel hero crossover show “The Defenders.”
Davos, the Steel Serpent
In Netflix’s “Iron Fist,” we learn a lot of backstory for Davos (Sacha Dhawan) that plays into his future as a bad dude. He’s the son of Danny’s mentor, Lei-Kung the Thunderer (Hoon Lee), and he trained his whole life to be the Iron Fist. Unfortunately for Davos, his best friend Danny was chosen. Davos was willing to stand beside Danny in his duty, but he’s pretty upset that Danny bailed on K’un-Lun to go back to New York, and even more upset that Danny seems unwilling to complete his duty of destroying the Hand.
“Iron Fist” ends with Davos offering to kill Danny with Joy Meachum’s help, putting him well on the path to supervillainy. In the comics, Davos goes on to become the Steel Serpent, a bad guy who eventually finds himself in the service of the Crane Mother.
Fans speculate that Madame Gao, the secretive leader of the Hand in New York who Danny tries to deal with for much of “Iron Fist,” may well be the Crane Mother, and she uses his eventual wingless dragon logo on her heroin. All that would dovetail nicely with Davos’ eventual alter-ego.
The Hand leader has showed up as a bad guy on “Daredevil” and was a major antagonist in the first season of “Iron Fist,” and the ending of Season One suggests she’s not going anywhere. Fans also suspect Madame Gao (Wai Ching Ho) of being the Crane Mother, a villain who wants to enact revenge on Danny in the comics. The Crane Mother is the leader of one of the seven capital cities of heaven. One of the other cities is K’un-Lun, where Danny wound up after his plane crash in the show, and where he gained his Iron Fist powers.
The Crane Mother theory would fit with some of the clues the Netflix Marvel series have dropped about her. Madame Gao seems to be immortal and very powerful, and she knows a lot about Danny’s adopted home, the mystical (and not entirely earthbound) city of K’un-Lun.
Madam Gao clearly has more trouble to bring the heroes of Netflix’s series, so while she hasn’t revealed a comic book persona just yet, it seems likely she will in the future.
The Immortal Weapons
In keeping with the theory that Madame Gao is the Crane Mother are the Immortal Weapons. They’re a group of other fighters, of which the Iron Fist is just one. Each hails from a different capital city of heaven, like K’un-Lun. Though they appeared with little fanfare, two of these characters already showed up in the first season of “Iron Fist.”
During the tournament in which Danny makes a deal with Madame Gao to fight members of the Hand, he encounters a woman who poisons him with spider venom. That’s the Bride of Spiders (Jane Kim), who dresses almost exactly the same in 2007’s “The Immortal Iron Fist” comics. It’s not revealed what city she hails from, but she’s also not all bad — during the comics, she sides with Iron Fist against the forces of Hydra, the bad guys from Marvel’s “Captain America” movies.
Danny tangles with a drunk kung-fu master when he tries to break into the Hand’s Chinese heroin factory, and it’s a tough fight. That’s Zhou Cheng (Lewis Tan), a longtime killer of Iron Fists in the Marvel comics. In the show, he’s a momentary distraction, with Danny winning their fight and leaving Cheng extremely bloodied.
In the comics, Cheng attempts to kill Danny while under the control of another villain, the monstrous Ch’i-Lin. He fails when Danny enlists the help of the other Immortal Weapons to help, and later fails again when Danny is aided by Luke Cage and Colleen Wing (who in the show is played by Jessica Henwick). Cheng can sense Danny’s chi, which allows him to predict Danny’s moves, but Danny eventually defeats him in a fight to the death by relying on his training and not his chi.
Cheng was pretty handily defeated about midway through “Iron Fist,” so whether he returns to the show or not is up in the air. But he’s a notable opponent of Danny’s and gave him a pretty tough fight, and Danny hurt him badly but seemingly didn’t kill him. That’s a recipe for Cheng to return with a grudge.
A former friend of Danny’s, Joy Meachum (Jessica Stroup) lost a lot in the first season of “Iron Fist.” She blames Danny for the death of her dad, Harold Meachum (David Wenham). The final episode concludes with her meeting with Danny’s former friend Davos as he suggests they team up to kill Danny.
That’s pretty much what happens to Joy in the comics as well. She and Ward Meachum (played by Tom Pelphrey on the show) hire Davos, otherwise known as the Steel Serpent, to take Danny out. Eventually Danny and Joy bury the hatchet and become friends, but not before she makes multiple attempts on his life in the name of revenge. Joy’s definitely going to oppose Danny going forward, at least for a while.