Does Danny Rand Even Deserve The Iron Fist?

Jessica Henwick thinks so.
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  • Superhero

Iron Fist, the character and the TV series, is pretty much universally hated by viewers heading into The Defenders and Iron Fist Season 2. One of the many problems was the lack of struggle in the character’s story compared to the rest of the cast, like we explain in our review. Daredevil fights for justice in and out of the courtroom. Jessica Jones fights for the little guys against adversity (and just for money, let’s be honest). Luke Cage fights for Harlem. What does Iron Fist fight for? We asked Jessica Henwick, who plays Danny Rand’s love interest Colleen Wing, because she clearly sees something in Danny that the rest of us don’t.

“I think that you’ll see more of why he's deserving in The Defenders,” Henwick told Player.One at San Diego Comic-Con. “In Iron Fist he’s going through so much that he’s not presenting his best self. By the end of The Defenders, he’s a whole different character.”

IronFist colleen wing
Colleen Wing was Danny Rand's first friend when he returned from Ku'n-Lun. Photo: Marvel / Netflix

Henwick is right. Danny Rand was not presenting his best self. Finn Jones was also right when he said we can’t get past Danny Rand’s corporate, Trump identity. But is character development to blame, rather than Danny Rand himself? We’ve watched the first four episodes of The Defenders and one interaction with castmate Luke Cage in particular appears, so far, to set his character on a new trajectory that could carry through The Defenders into Iron Fist season 2. A direction that understands how to better take advantage of his corporate powers, instead of his iron fist. This sort of restraint could allow viewers to respect his character at least a little bit more, if instead of being wilfully blind to his white privilege he uses is for the betterment of New York and the people he cares about.

READ: Six Iron Fist Cliffhangers

iron fist luke cage
Luke Cage gets punched in the face by Iron Fist, but Mike Colter maintains, "It didn't hurt." Photo: Marvel / Netflix

Just because Danny came back to New York City wearing rags with no money and no economic power, he still enjoys privilege based solely on the color of his skin. This reflects a dynamic we see in America today. Just because you are poor, doesn’t mean you know what it’s like to experience prejudice based on race and social class. Was Danny Rand’s failure to recognize this in the plan all along? Is Marvel planning to use Heroes for Hire as a mechanism to explore Danny Rand’s white privilege? Will The Defenders or season 2 of Iron Fist offer a lesson on how two extremely different people who don’t see eye to eye can come together and make the world a better place? Finn Jones actually told us he thinks exploring Danny Rand’s white privilege would be good for Heroes for Hire, if it ever happens.

“That’s why Heroes for Hire would be a great television show, because you could go deep with that conversation. Having someone like Danny Rand who is from a white privilege background and then someone like Luke ... think about some of the conversations and the themes and stories you could really tackle with that,” he said.

Danny Rand harnesses his chi to manifest his Iron Fist. Photo: Marvel / Netflix

But part of the problem is that we actually don’t know anything Danny’s background, upbringing, or why he is the way he is because we never got flashbacks or a true origin story for his character. We simply don’t know what he went through and have nothing to even attempt to identify with, even if it would be difficult to relate to. When we met Davos, he truly seemed like someone who deserves the Iron Fist more than Danny Rand, who abandoned his post, and the people who took care of him and trained him on K'un-Lun.

READ: Twelve Best Moments In Iron Fist

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Danny Rand and Colleen Wing travel to Ku'n-Lun in the Iron Fist Season 1 finale to find everyone was killed by The Hand. Photo: Marvel / Netflix

With Iron Fist Season 2 confirmed, only time will tell if Danny Rand grows into a hero who fans feel like actually deserves the power of Iron Fist. But it may be too little too late. We can only hope Marvel-Netflix has a plan to rectify the missteps of Iron Fist Season 1 sooner rather than later.

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