A Wish-List For Marvel’s Netflix Series ‘Iron Fist’ and ‘The Defenders’

Apr 18, 2015

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It’s been week since Netflix released the 13-episode run of Marvel Television‘s Daredevil series, many people have been blown-aways and others begrudgingly were mildly entertained. It’s hard to argue that this is one of the best comic book experiences on television, there’s some high expectations for Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and the team-up series The Defenders.

Former Daredevil comic book writer Kevin Smith made an argument on his podcast Fat Man on Batman, why the series has greater stakes than shows like Arrow, SHIELD, Gotham or The Flash, given that they don’t have leave cliff-hangers before every commercial break. Allowing for an actual story to go uninterrupted, focus on character development and give tangible stakes, which for the most part felt real and unpredictable in Daredevil, in the network shows not so much. This platform could be a great venue for amazing serial storytelling with characters that might need to develop a larger fanbase before giving them their own films. I think it’s safe to say that audiences might be more open to Daredevil showing-up in Captain America: Civil War after the character’s re-launch.

Listen to Kevin’s thoughts on the entire series, major SPOILERS involved.

https://soundcloud.com/fatmanonbatman/fatman-079

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This world Marvel is setting-up starting in Hell’s Kitchen is only going to get bigger and as sprawling as the films. Netflix allows Marvel a bit more wiggle room when comes to subject matter, tone and even the scale of the production. This could lead to us getting a version of Marvel Knights taking it’s roots at Netflix, characters too violent or gritty for ABC or a PG-13 rating might end-up fitting in nicely in the world that Daredevil has birthed.

Be warned the following will include major *SPOILERS*, so if you haven’t watched Daredevil yet you might want to bookmark this page, go watch, and then come back. This could also reveal future plots of the upcoming shows as well, just keep that in mind.


 

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The looming threat in the series has seemingly been the ancient ninja clan The Hand which Japanese villain Nobu belonged to, remember how badass he was in his ninja get-up? Well imagine hundreds of fellow ninja from the same clan, some much more skilled than he was, a few that could easily be a much tougher challenges for Murdock in the future but in massive amounts of waves.

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The ninja clan will obviously want revenge for Nobu’s death and if there is any hint to Matt causing them problems in the future they’ll target him along with anyone connected to him. There is a point in the comics where Kingpin assumes control of the criminal organization but I feel like that might get handed-off to another villain first, allowing a bit more insight into their origins.

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The could mean the inclusion of Typhoid Mary, a tough assassin and member of The Hand tasked to kill Daredevil but ends-up falling for him. Mary is a fan-favorite and there was even some demand to see her played by Katee Sackhoff. There could be an interesting aspect to a major villain in a series playing both sides because of a romance with Matt. It could also give us something a bit different before throwing Elektra back into the mix. She had role in the awful Elektra film along with Stick, so she’s prime for an MCU update herself.

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Madame Hydra/Viper aka Ophelia Sarkissian has been quite the interesting villainous becoming a pain-in-the-side for many Marvel heroes, from Wolverine to Captain America to Punisher. She’s just happens to be card-carrying terrorist of both the Hand as well as Hydra. It’s possible she could be a character that links Daredevil to Captain America, and by proxy the Avengers.

I’ve been curious why Marvel hasn’t decided on using her when she’s the second in command to Age of Ultron‘s Baron Strucker. There’s even talk that Baron Zemo will be apart of Civil War which means almost all the Hydra baddies will have been used-up. I’ve been beating the drum to see Marvel finally give us a lead female villain and she’s the best option. The character is originally Hungarian, but considering her ties to The Hand she could be easily be Japanese or of Asian descent.

The character is obviously up for grabs at Marvel, as Fox’s “shared” version of the character in The Wolverine was a mutant having zero ties to Hydra/Hand was only referred to Viper none of her other aliases or code names were used. Madame Hydra was first introduced in Captain America comics making her full character rights at at Marvel Studios.

One of the many leaders of The Hand is Tomi Shishido aka Gorgon, like Ophelia works for both Hydra and The Hand. It’s starting to look like Marvel has full access to the Hand and that may include characters like Shishido even though he was introduced in Wolverine comics. However, his connections to two Marvel owned criminal organizations might mean he’s fair-game to be used in their films and shows. When it comes to Fox’s X-Men rights most of the characters they have access to are mutants, and people linked to The Hand/Hydra don’t really fall under that deal.

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Other members of The Hand include Bullseye, Maki Matsumoto, Jonin, Black Tarantula, Tombstone, and Matsu’o Tsurayaba. I wouldn’t be totally shocked to see someone like Tombstone or Hammerhead become crime boss replacement for the incarcerated Kingpin, his ties to Spider-Man shouldn’t be an issue now that Sony is playing nice with Marvel. There’s even talk of Kingpin crossing over to the new Spider-Man films.


 

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The Chaste is a feuding ninja clan that Stick belongs to who are in an all-out war with The Hand. This is the war that Stick tries to recruit Matt for, and it’s referred to again with the mysterious scarred gentleman who is revealed to be Stone, a former student of Stick and member of Chaste. Other members of the ninja clan include Master Izo, Shaft, Claw, Flame, Star, and Wing. Stick’s war with The Hand sounds like it could easily spill-over into something like The Defenders.

The Hand comes into constant conflict with a heroic group known as the Chaste. This conflict is the first encounter with the Hand experienced by both Daredevil and Elektra, with the latter first infiltrating and later joining the Hand for a time. The conflict eventually results in the defeat of the Hand, but also in the deaths of the Chaste’s leader, Stick, and a member of the group named Shaft.

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There’s another student of Stick that could show-up as a lone wolf or a member of Chaste, that being Matt’s college flame Elektra Natchios. They made sure to refer to her as the “Greek girl” during the college flashbacks. She’s also trained by Stick but he also gives-up on her because of her vengeful personality. This could be a good way to introduce her for The Defenders and allow her to be a badass rather than just a love-interest.


 

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There’s sort of a looming question about the fate of Karen Page by the end of The Defenders. In Frank Miller’s Born Again, Page becomes a heroin addict who sells Matt’s secret identity to a drug dealer for a fix, this of course reaches the Kingpin and she essentially sells-out Matt to get high. I’m unsure if producers really feel like that’s avenue for one of their only female characters, but a version of that story could play-out. Another possibility could see a drunken and disgruntled Foggy blab to the wrong person at Josie’s, now that he has access to Daredevil’s identity.

Remember, in the MCU heroes don’t often keep their secret identities for too long.


 

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Danny Rand aka Iron Fist is expected have his solo series take cues from the more recent comic run The Immortal Iron Fist by Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction, and this could mean a giant tie-in to the existing Marvel Cinematic Universe. The martial arts hero battles a ruthless group of Hydra members which are led by his villainous rival Steel Serpent who is backed-up by the mystical Crane Mother.

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He holds he power of the Serpent’s Sting, master of the martial arts, capable of draining the power the Iron Fist from its wielder. Also going by the name Davos, just happens to be the exiled son of Danny Rand’s master Lei Kung the Thunderer, and is a high ranking member of Hydra and makes Danny’s life a bit uncomfortable. Considering Davos would have direct ties to his origins and training in K’un-L’un, he’s a top contender to become the antagonist of that series.

Having Hydra get involved might lead into some major tie-ins with Captain America and possibly SHIELD, I’m sort of hoping for the former. At the very least including Hydra could help set him up for future Avengers sequels and running with the big dogs. It’s not that crazy since this would be the second run of Ed Brubaker comics used for the MCU, Ed’s Captain America comics helped influence the extremely successful Captain America: Winter Soldier. I doubt they’d ignore an awesome Brubaker story like Immortal Fist.

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Madame Gao is mysterious on purpose and very well could be the mystical villain known as Crane Mother which would explain her being to takeout Matt in one blow. Her heroin packets are stamped with a familiar marking that seemingly represents The Serpent’s Sting and Davos. She’s also the ruler of Ku’n-Zi, one of the Legendary Cities of Heaven, this could be the location Goa refers to when she reveals she’s not from China.

The Crane Mother restores the Steel Serpent’s powers after Danny has defeated him, in exchange to hunt-down another Iron Fist known as Orson Randall, who uses a pair of pistols. Orson apparently had sullied their traditions and she had a strong vendetta against him, so much she sends the Crane Daughters to assist Davos who act as spies and healers. I wouldn’t be terribly shocked to see Madame Hydra being one of those Crane Daughters.

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Another more grounded location for the series could be Madripoor, a small island south of Singapore that is mainly controlled by Hydra and Ophelia. This could could a base of operations for Gao’s heroin trade and where it’s actually coming from. I wouldn’t be terribly shocked if this becomes a location used in the Iron Fist series to help setup Davos and Hydra, since Steel Serpent has been exiled from it would make sense he’d be residing here alongside Madame Hydra and Tomi Shishido. It’s extremely likely that both forces are starting to incorporate mystical powers into their ranks and might make them a lot more powerful than the Hell’s Kitchen gangsters.

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Making Madame Hydra a daughter [Crane Daughters] or adoptive daughter of Crane Mother and linking her to both Hydra and The Hand could be a way to finally give us a leading female villain in the MCU. It’s also a way to give her a stronger origin that doesn’t include her ties to Wolverine.

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Other characters from the comic that could be included in the solo series might be The Immortal Weapons. They include Fat Cobra, Tiger’s Beautiful Daughter, Dog Brother, The Bride of Nine Spiders, and Prince of Orphans.


 

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I have a feeling the actual threats for The Defenders might be coming from The Hand and HYDRA teaming-up. A street level threat that could be just big enough for the Hell’s Kitchen crew to handle on their own, of course they might need some help from Chaste and the Immortal Weapons.

It’s possible Marvel could combine elements of Mark Millar’s Enemy of State and Shadowland to create a huge threat for the Defenders to tackle. While it’s a Wolverine comic it includes many characters and organizations that Marvel has the film rights, not Fox. It’s possible that Marvel has a better chance of using it for there films than Fox does.

Marvel’s cinematic universe is greatly inspired by Millar’s Ultimates universe and will have a direct connection with Captain America: Civil War next year. In Enenmy of The State, The Hand and Hydra work together to abduct Wolverine to brainwash him to attack and kill superheroes, they also resurrect and brainwash Elektra as well. I’m sure they could apply this to Daredevil possibly making him a villain of sorts for The Defenders.

In Shadowland, Matt becomes the new leader of The Hand and sets-up a headquarters for them in Hell’s Kitchen, the group starts to corrupt him leading to him killing Bullseye breaking his no-killing policy. It’s later revealed that Murdock in actually possessed by the Beast of the Hand, an ancient demon lord. A chi strike from Iron Fist was able to purify Daredevil of the Beast’s influence and Matt subsequently relinquished control of the Hand, Kingpin and Typhoid Mary assume control of the ninja clan.

I could see Marvel making a hybrid version of these two stories making it threat for the Defenders, and it could lead to groups like Chaste and The Immortal Weapons getting involved.


There’s also a bunch of supporting characters I’d love to see if they’re able to fit them all in.

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The Iron Fist known as Orson Randall isn’t going to be a lock that he shows-up but it might be worth exploring an older superhero, not unlike Stick. Randall wouldn’t as much as a mentor to Danny rather than a partner. He’s a key player in the Immortal Iron Fist comics so the likelihood of him being included is rather large.

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After watching Daredevil many people including myself want Frank Castle involved in this world in a big bad way, if that leads to his own series that would be awesome. A new Punisher being introduced as an enemy of Daredevil would be interesting way to go in this Frank Miller influenced world, taking some cues from Child’s Play. Kingpin being in prison this could see many new replacements, some that are on the Punisher hit-list. Frank taking aim at someone like Tombstone and his goons wouldn’t be surprising.

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It’s almost a given we’ll see Colleen Wing and Misty Knight aka The Dragon Daughters introduced in either Luke Cage or Iron Fist. Colleen is super close with Danny Rand and this could be explored in his solo series, the duo would eventually become badasses in their own right and Heroes For Hire. There’s plenty of awesome female characters and to ignore these two would be a huge letdown. She also plays a role in The Immortal Iron Fist comics.

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Shang-Chi was a huge influence on characters like Iron Fist, being one of the first martial arts comic book heroes. He deserves to finally get his on screen debut since there has been movie talk since 2001. At one time Stephen Norrington (Blade, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Aliens) and Ang Lee (Life of Pi, Hulk) were attached to direct versions of a Shang-Chi movie, I’m actually curious if the rights have reverted back to Marvel as there hasn’t been word on it’s development since 2006. He could also be Marvel’s first genuine male Asian lead hero, that’s unless Danny Rand ends-up being cast with an Asian actor.

There are already rumors that Daredevil and The Defenders will eventually get involved in the Marvel films but at this point they could really stand alone in their own cinematic universe, building it up as a more mature Marvel world.

 

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