Danny Rand may refer to himself as “The Immortal Iron Fist,” but Marvel’s martial arts master has reached his mortality on Netflix.
As first reported by Deadline, Netflix and Marvel announced that Iron Fist would not be returning for a third season, becoming the first of the Marvel Netflix shows to be canceled. That news is somewhat surprising because Iron Fist’s second season — with Raven Metzner taking over as showrunner from Scott Buck — was widely viewed as a vast improvement to the subpar first run of the series.
Netflix doesn’t release viewership numbers or ratings, but it’s apparent that bad reviews for that first season and a lackluster reaction to The Defenders carried over to Iron Fist’s second run. What surely makes the cancellation decision particularly disappointing to fans is that the second season ended on a high note with a clear direction toward continuing the story.
** Spoiler alert for those who haven’t watched Iron Fist, Season 2 **
The final episode of Season 2 ended with Rand passing the Iron Fist power over to Colleen Rand, who was using her newfound abilities — channeled into her katana sword — to protect New York’s Chinatown. Consequently, Rand sought to find out who had allowed adversary Davos to gain the power of the Iron Fist and traveled to Asia (with Ward Meachum) to investigate.
It’s revealed that the two are looking for a man named Orson Randall. Readers of the Ed Brubaker-David Aja Immortal Iron Fist comic books know that Randall was the Iron Fist of World War I. The last image we see is Rand revealing that he’s regained the Iron Fist power and is able to channel his chi through a pair of pistols, which is exactly how Randall wielded his talent.
[End of spoiler alert]
That ending ramped up anticipation for a Season 3, but Netflix’s decision puts that in serious doubt. However, it also opened the door to a variety of speculation.
With Disney launching its new streaming service, Disney Play, it’s a possibility that Iron Fist could find new life there. But if viewers haven’t really responded to Iron Fist, is that a series that Disney wants to feature on its new service? Especially when mini-series with character like Loki and Scarlet Witch are in development?
More intriguing than another Iron Fist run would be a “Daughters of the Dragon” series featuring Colleen Wing and Misty Knight. But maybe those characters will appear in upcoming seasons of Luke Cage or Jessica Jones, both of which are expected to get third seasons on Netflix. (Maybe we’ll get that “Heroes for Hire” Luke Cage-Iron Fist team-up in Season 3.) Daredevil (whose third season premieres next week) and The Punisher could get additional seasons as well.
So Netflix isn’t getting out of the Marvel business. Maybe they’ll even look to replace Iron Fist with another “street-level” character like Moon Knight. There’s some wishful geek thinking.