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This is the last aspect of Iron Fist that I really want to talk about, and it is the one for which I’m the most torn. All of the Marvel Netflix shows share characters and settings, both in the foreground and the background. This really helps them feel like they are all taking place in the same world, just a few blocks apart. Considering that these series are all building up to The Defenders crossover miniseries this summer, it is important for them to already feel like they inhabit the same neighborhood—even though there are tonal differences between them. It’s similar to what Marvel Studios did in Phase 1 by having Coulson, Tony, and/or Fury show up in all the movies at some point.
Unfortunately, at a certain point the shared characters cease to be fun and start being genuine plot holes. That is part of the problem with Iron Fist.
|Image Courtesy www.comicbook.com|
Oh, Claire. Where did your part in this series go wrong? Both Luke Cage and Iron Fist expand Claire’s role substantially: she is the love interest in Luke Cage, and then she is a student at Colleen’s dojo in Iron Fist, which connects her into all the action and gives Danny and Colleen a different perspective on the Hand. Claire’s experience of having been at Metro General when the Hand attacked them—and of having experienced undead ninjas firsthand—gives her a reason for joining Danny and Colleen on their trip to China.
Claire also serves as the connective tissue bringing together all of the Defenders, having met and helped all of them at one point or another. This is something the writers decided that she needed to remind us about in every third episode or so: she knows a guy who’s been fighting the Hand for a while who could help them.
So why don’t you invite the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen to the party?????
In an interview afterward, Rosario Dawson did explain that unfortunately Charlie Cox was too busy filming another project (I think it was The Defenders itself) to appear in Iron Fist.
However, the fact that the actor couldn’t appear doesn’t excuse bringing up every chance you get that Claire knows Daredevil. If she even said, “I called my friend, but he’s too busy breaking up a human trafficking ring to help us right now,” that would have been so much better. As it stands, every single time Claire opens her mouth to talk about her role as the connection between the shows, it just drives home the point further: Why isn’t Daredevil fighting the Hand alongside Iron Fist?
This is the same issue that cropped up in the Phase 2 movies (all of which have a reasonable explanation), but it appeared then because the heroes had already teamed up. For the Defenders, it’s appearing before they ever teamed up! Perversely, it would not be an issue if Claire’s role were smaller or she didn’t remind us of it at every opportunity.
I don’t think the solution would have been to leave Claire out entirely. She needed to be there, and in the few scenes where she was really important, she shined. But I do think that they need to be more judicious in their use of her—and all these connection characters—so these questions don’t show up.
By contrast to Claire, Hogarth’s role in Iron Fist is actually close to perfect. In the comics, Jeryn Hogarth is the attorney for Rand Enterprises; in the series, Jeri Hogarth was a legal intern at Rand before Danny disappeared, and he goes to her for help in proving who he is and restoring his good name. In Jessica Jones, it seems pretty clear that Hogarth is a defense attorney, so at first it’s a little odd that she would be taking on a corporate law case. However, considering that she knew Danny personally, it makes sense for him to go to her.
Really, Hogarth’s role in Iron Fist is an example of a well-executed crossover between the Netflix series.
Darryl is a bit more of an Easter egg in terms of shared continuity. He was a kid being arrested at the police station in Luke Cage, but appears to have gotten his life turned around in time for Iron Fist. However, before discovering the Hand’s evil plans, Colleen sends Darryl off to Bakuto, who declares him to be instrumental to the Hand’s future plans.
This is a good example of what the shared universe can do for character development. Luke Cage established that Darryl is a kid with a troubled past; Iron Fist establishes that his trust was taken advantage of, positioning him to become a Hand pawn. Where will his story take him next? It’s unclear for now, but he could rise as high as to become the next disciple of Ch’i-Lin, or he could just be “Faceless Hand Ninja #6.”
There are some really good things that Iron Fist did in terms of connecting to the other Marvel Netflix shows, but there are definite areas for improvement. I really think that Claire’s part in the series needed to be different, and I actually think that The Defenders will help with that particular issue.
What did you think of Claire’s role in Iron Fist? What do you think will happen to Darryl? Let me know in the comments!