NYCC 2016: First Iron Fist Footage Floors Fans

This Saturday, we were lucky enough to get a front row (alright fine, third row) seat to a truly surprising amount of Iron Fist footage at New York Comic Con. It was a very diverse group of scenes that helped us learn more about the series than anyone expected. There was a fair amount of action and a TON of exposition. Besides the trailer, which you can watch here, we got a look at five scenes from the show. Here is a rundown of what we saw.

“That’s my building”

To start the party, we got a look at Danny’s first day back in New York. He is dressed in the hobo/college freshman outfit we have seen in most of the publicity and behind the scenes pictures. Danny walks up to a skyscraper and brags to a hot dog vendor on the corner that it’s his building. The hot dog vendor doesn’t buy it. These bits were more comedic than anything else we saw, although even this scene eventually turned into a fistfight.

Danny enters the building and goes for the front desk. The lobby is fancy. Rand Industries may be on the same level as Stark. Danny tells the clerk that he is Danny Rand and asks to speak with Harold Meachem, the owner of the company. The clerk takes him about as seriously as the hot dog vendor did. She tells Danny to wait while she lets him know Harold’s here.

Danny goes and looks at a monitor full of Rand Industries exposition. Danny looks confused. It has something to do with Mr. Meachem. What Rand does is very unclear. There are shots of all kind of industry. Seems less like a Stark Industries and more of a Wayne Enterprises. Then, security arrives.

The fight scene that ensues was the first of many we got a look at during the panel. This one may have been the least exciting of the bunch. It wasn’t what were used to from Netflix. Not as rough as Daredevil. Not as detached as Luke Cage. Danny seemed to be practicing Jujutsu. There is very little movement on his end. That made it hard to tell if the fight is really cool or really boring. There is a fun moment where Danny made it to the elevator after beating a couple of guards and he had his hands around one of the guards so he kicked the elevator up button.

All in the Family

The next scene featured the Meachem children played by Tom Pelphrey and Jessica Stroup. Danny confronts them at a fancy restaurant about some sort of betrayal. It seems like Danny was raised with them as a semi brother. After a little back and forth, the Meachems go full villain and tell Danny that they never liked him and he isn’t family. This leads to Danny knocking a glass off of the table and almost getting physical with Ward Meachem. (What is it with MCU Wards being evil?) The scene was intense. It demonstrated that the Meachems all seem to have a high level of contempt for Danny and also don’t seem to understand that he would annihilate them in a fight. Unless maybe Ward is also a magic kung-fu master, but I doubt it.


Hell in a Cell

After that, we are introduced to Jessica Henwick’s Colleen Wing in action. An eventual ally of Danny Rand, Colleen is in some sort of underground cage fight. It’s the classic “some muscly idiot totally underestimates his opponent and gets it handed to him” scene from movies like X-Men and Sherlock Holmes. In this case, it’s taken up a level by adding another muscly idiot for Colleen to rout. Her fighting style is much more kinetic than what we saw from Danny in the first scene. She’s all over the place. Jumping off the walls of the cage. Using one guy to hit the other guy. She seems to be using a blend of multiple styles of Martial Arts. It’s unclear whether she has superpowers or not but it seems unlikely from what we saw. It is much more raw than Danny. At one point she gets one of the idiots in an arm bar and snaps his arm. This scene was probably the best overall. The NYCC crowd was really into it.

“What is the Hand?”

Next up, we got a look at Harold Meachem played by David Wenham. This is the scene from the first footage of Iron Fist that features Danny strapped to a bed in some sort of psych ward. Harold comes in and starts asking Danny questions in what turns out to be the expositionyist exposition scene I’ve witnessed in quite a long time. We learn that both characters thought the other was dead. Danny explains that he trained in a monastery. When asked where, he names the mythical “K’un L’un.” That was fun for Iron Fist fans in the audience. Danny tells Harold that he is a warrior in the long line of immortal Iron Fists, sworn enemy of the Hand. Harold asks “What is the Hand?” and Danny responds that it is his duty to destroy the Hand and he is the only one who can. That makes Danny not only the most important Defender, by far, but also the first Marvel Netflix character who is tied up in a ton of destiny. Harold seems very concerned.

Some of the conclusions we can draw from this scene are as follows.

  • Danny and Harold are both on the expedition from Danny’s childhood.
  • The Hand will play a major role in both Iron Fist and the Defenders, which may lead to a Daredevil or Elektra cameo at some point in this series.
  • Danny is the only Defender with a complete understanding of the Hand.
  • Harold is a villain who is not working with the big bad.
  • Danny will at some point destroy the Hand.

Hallway Reloaded

The final scene we saw was a big fight between Danny and a bunch of well-dressed axe wielding goons. They seem like Yakuza but that is unclear. One goon had captured Colleen Wing and is taking her into an elevator. Six or seven stood in the hall between Danny and the elevator. That’s right. This was another hallway fight.

Danny v Goons was way more polished than the lobby fight. The choreography was slick. The action was fast and the editing gave the punches more weight. There was also a lot more jujutsu, especially involving taking one goon’s axe and tricking that goon into swinging the axe into another goon. Eventually Danny finished off the goons but is just a hair too late to slide into the elevator. Marvel boss Joseph Loeb, who moderated the panel, told us that this scene ends with Danny getting “on the elevator” as if to imply that Danny will jump on top of the elevator to chase the other goons.

It is hard not to look at the footage and draw some Daredevil paralells. The story seems to be a mix between Kingpin style corporate espionage and Nobu style ninja action. The bad guy is involved with killing the hero’s dad. Some guys fight in a hallway. It worked for Daredevil and if it ain’t broke, why fix it? We also learned that Rosario Dawson’s Claire Temple and Simone Missick’s Misty Knight will have roles in the series even though they weren’t featured in any of the footage. It’s hard to tell if they will be more than cameos, but Misty Knight specifically has a long history with Iron Fist, so I imagine she will play a significant role.

All in all, the footage is largely promising. Some of the action isn’t completely finished, but they officially wrapped filming that morning and the series doesn’t come out for six months so I have complete faith that it will all look spectacular come March. Most importantly, the footage introduced a fresh set of interesting characters with complicated relationships, which is what makes these Marvel/Netflix shows work. I think every Marvel comics fan should step back for a second and consider the fact that there is going to be an Iron Fist series. Iron Fist. And it looks good. What a time to be alive.

Matthew Nando Kelly is the cool and tough Managing Editor of Pop Break who was allowed to write his own bio. Besides weekly Flash recaps, he has a podcast called Mad Bracket Status where he makes pop culture brackets with fellow writer DJ Chapman.