With the second season premiere of Daredevil just hours away, Netflix appears to be looking ahead to its deeper plans for the small-screen side of Marvel’s cinematic universe — with an eye toward the fourth member of the street-level superhero team, The Defenders.
Following multiple reports last month that Game of Thrones actor Finn Jones will play Iron Fist in the upcoming Marvel series on Netflix, the studios today confirmed the news. Jones will round out a team that already includes Charlie Cox as Daredevil, Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, and Mike Colter as Luke Cage. The Iron Fist series will premiere sometime after the Luke Cage series lands this fall, and will be followed by a team-up miniseries titled The Defenders that will feature all four characters.
As first reported by The Hashtag Show, Jones will play Daniel Rand, the most popular incarnation of Marvel’s Comics Iron Fist. In the comic-book universe, Danny Rand is an orphan adopted by the leader of the magical, mysterious city of K’un L’un in the Himalayas, and trained to wield the power of (you guessed it) the Iron Fist — an ancient ability that only the most talented kung-fu masters have attained. After 10 years in K’un L’un, Danny returned to New York City to reclaim his family’s fortune and avenge the death of his parents, only to end up partnering with Luke Cage, and other heroes at various points, as a street-level vigilante.
“Danny Rand is a very complicated character. He’s a billionaire New York Buddhist monk martial arts superhero who’s still trying to figure out what exactly that all means,” said Executive Producer and showrunner, Scott Buck, in a press release. “Finn is able to play all these levels in such an honest, revelatory way that as soon as I saw him I knew he was our Danny.”
Plot details for the Iron Fist series on Netflix are scarce, but the synopsis provided by the studios so far indicates that the series will follow a similar arc to the comics, with Danny Rand’s return to New York City after disappearing years earlier. Upon his return, he takes up arms — literally — against the criminal element around the city, using his kung-fu skills and mastery of the Iron Fist.
Jones is probably best known for his portrayal of Ser Loras Tyrell on HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones, but he also appeared on the long-running British soap opera Hollyoaks in years past. News of his casting as Iron Fist has sparked a bit of controversy, with some insisting that the role should’ve gone to an Asian actor, and others suggesting that casting an Asian actor as a kung-fu character was a stereotype in itself.
Originally created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane, Iron Fist made his debut in a 1974 issue of Marvel Premiere. His popularity has fluctuated over the years, and he has often found success as a member of a team, typically partnered with Luke Cage. The pair had a popular run together during the late ’70s through the early ’80s, repeatedly teaming up over the years.
Iron Fist will be Marvel’s fourth solo series on Netflix, but it doesn’t have an official premiere date at this point.
Updated 3/17/16 by Stephanie Topacio Long: This article has been updated to reflect Marvel and Neftlix’s confirmation of Jones’ casting.