Iron Fist might not be the best Marvel show on Netflix, but it is the last piece in the Manhattan superhero puzzle that is The Defenders. All Netflix Marvel shows have been leading up to the new series, which brings together superheroes Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist, all of whom have made names for themselves protecting various neighborhoods in Manhattan. Since Daredevil premiered in 2015, Marvel has been dropping shows on Netflix with very little crossover. The Defenders will change all of that. So, to help you prepare, here's everything from Iron Fist that you need to know before The Defenders.
So, obviously, if you want to watch The Defenders without watching Iron Fist first, then you need to know the basics. The hero, Danny Rand, is a 20-something white man who returns to New York City after being proclaimed dead at 10 years old, when he was in a plane crash over the Himalayan mountains that killed his parents. Danny survived and was adopted by old monks and raised in an ancient monastery hidden in the mystical city of K'un-Lun where he became the Iron Fist, trained in the Order of the Crane Mother. By the time he meets his fellow Defenders, Danny will have a better grasp on his power (the Iron Fist requires perfect chi to work correctly), and some real roots in the city. So, now that we've got the basics down, let's get to the stuff from Iron Fist you really need to know before The Defenders — spoilers ahead.
Danny's Powers & The Iron Fist
Danny is sort of a cross between Daredevil and Luke Cage, a man trained in martial arts endowed with supernatural strength. However, despite his status as the Iron Fist, his fist only becomes super-strong when he is in the right frame of mind. In Iron Fist, Danny has trouble calling upon its power when he needs it the most, and it seems to be pretty temperamental and tied to his emotions. Sometimes, if he's desperate enough, it will work, and other times when he's more frustrated, it won't. But, Iron Fist or not, Danny is more than capable in a fight.
The Hand & Madame Gao
First introduced in Daredevil, the Hand and the villainous Madame Gao feature heavily in Iron Fist. The Hand successfully infiltrated Rand Industries, Danny's family company, and they are using it to smuggle synthetic heroine into the country under Madame Gao's orders, something Danny manages to stop by the end of the season. Through his adventures, Danny also learns that the Hand and Harold Meachum (his father's BFF who ran the company after Danny "died") had conspired to kill his parents all those years ago.
Danny did not, however, manage to stop the Hand or kill Madame Gao. Iron Fist ended with him returning to K'un-Lun only to find the city gone and the path to it littered with the bodies of Hand soldiers. I'd expect both the Hand and Madame Gao to have some impact on The Defenders. If nothing else, having Madame Gao as a common enemy should help solidify Danny and Daredevil's allegiance.
Danny Rand Has Enemies
Iron Fist ended with his K'un-Lun brother, Davos, teaming up with his childhood BFF Joy Meachum to kill Danny. Davos resents him for becoming the Iron Fist and then abandoning K'un-Lun for New York, while Joy blames him for her father's second death (it's a long story). As Davos declared to Joy that Danny Rand must be eliminated, Madame Gao sat close by. It's unclear how this potential threat to Danny's life might play into the Defenders, but having a tough woman with enormous resources like Joy gunning for a superhero probably doesn't help much.
Danny Rand has a girlfriend: Colleen Wing, a dojo owning New Yorker who is also proficient in martial arts. Colleen befriends Danny and is one of the few people who actually understands his powers. Later in the season, it was revealed that she was actually working for the Hand, but believed them to be good. She eventually flipped on the Hand, and fought with Danny against them. As an important ally both in the field and off, Colleen will definitely be a part of The Defenders.
Claire Temple is officially the most badass nurse in all of Manhattan. In Iron Fist, it's revealed that she has learned to defend herself at Colleen's dojo, and the two are friends. After Luke Cage helped her embrace her purpose as someone who seems drawn to people with powers, Claire decides to help Danny when they cross paths. She even travels to China with him and Colleen to track down Madame Gao. As the only person in the Netflix Marvel Universe who knows all four superheroes — Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist — it seems likely that she'll be the one to bring them together to create the Defenders.
Claire isn't the only connection between the shows. Jeri Hogarth, the lawyer who worked closely with Jessica Jones to bring down Kilgrave, also worked with Danny Rand to help him get his identity back in Iron Fist.
The Elektra Connection
Remember when Elektra died, and her body was taken by The Hand at the end of Daredevil Season 2? You might remember how she was locked up in a ceramic contraption, that appears to be used as some kind of regeneration device to bring her back to life as the Black Sky (a mythical weapon). In Daredevil, the machine seemed to work by draining innocent people of blood, something that the Hand tried to do to Colleen in Iron Fist. Luckily, they failed, but it's clear that the Hand is still using this device and taking blood from innocent people to feed their evil agenda. Perhaps the Black Sky will meet the Iron Fist in The Defenders.
And, that's pretty much everything that happened in Iron Fist you need to know about leading into The Defenders. Simple, right? The Defenders will be released on Netflix in September of 2017, so get excited, folks.