Netflix cancels shows now. It’s kind of a big deal. They didn’t used to, but when you’re spending billions on original programming and making back mere millions you’re going to have to start pulling the plug and cutting your losses eventually. So, see ya later, Sense8, The Get-Down, Girl Boss, Iron Fi…
Not so fast. Yes, Netflix did drop the ax on those other short-lived shows but not Iron Fist, even though many had expected it to suffer an early death due to its poor showing with critics and lukewarm-to-outright-hostile reaction on social media. Instead, Netflix just announced Iron Fist has been renewed for a second season. Moreover, Luke Cage‘s Misty Knight will be joining the cast in a recurring role, which in Marvel could simply mean she’ll pop up for an episode or two or that she’ll be as significant a presence as Claire was in the first season. Sleepy Hollow‘s Raven Metzner is taking over as showrunner, replacing Scott Buck.
“Raven’s love of all things Iron Fist and his extensive knowledge of martial arts films made him the perfect choice to continue telling the adventures of Danny Rand and Colleen Wing,” Marvel’s head of television and Iron Fist exec producer Jeph Loeb said in a statement. “Season One and The Defenders are only the beginning of this fantastic action packed tale.” – THR
My reaction: The real reason to bring Iron Fist back is to offer us more of Joy and Ward Meachum, the Ivanka and Donald Jr. to Harold Meachum’s Donald Trump. The show is largely about the meeting of the mystical and corporate sides of the Netflix Marvel Universe, and while it drops the ball with the mystical stuff it actually takes an admirable pass at setting up Shakespearean power plays and family drama with the Meachums, whose lives are irrevocably altered not only by the return of Danny Rand (they’ve been running his family’s company for over a decade, unaware he was still alive) but by the fact that Danny is wholly incapable of existing in any kind of corporate structure.
Every time Danny talks you can practically see them facepalming, and rightfully so. Iron Fost isn’t so much the story of a hero learning some hard truths about the cruelty of the adult world but instead a sympathetic depiction of a brother and sister whose world gets all kinds of fucked up by the return of a childhood friend. By the end of the season, Ward has returned to the path of good and made his peace with Danny whereas Joy is on her way to possibly becoming a villain. Let’s see more of that. Screw Danny and Colleen, his love interest who deserved a better storyline. Give me more of Ward and Joy. Call it Iron Fist Vs. Those You’re Actually Rooting For.
Of course, I say that now, but it’s entirely possible that I’ll be all turned around on Danny and Colleen by the end of The Defenders, which looks – based on the new trailer – to be making better use of them than Iron Fist ever did:
There are multiple plot reveals in this trailer as well as geek-out moments based on the inherent joy of finally seeing all of these characters together, but my biggest takeaway is this: Sigourney Weaver is going to eat them all up and spit them out. I don’t mean that literally, although this is a comic book show so anything’s possible. I more mean that in terms of screen presence and bringing gravitas and a confident menace to her performance Weaver is going to out-act everyone on screen, but everyone will benefit because she’ll have forced them to raise their games.
The specifics of her plot as well as the general trajectory of the series – most likely an Avengers rehash which draws the good guys together to face a common enemy then sees them fall apart due to their various differences before coming together in a triumphant conclusion – are secondary at this point. This show is going to have an amazing villain, and that’s what really makes these Netflix Marvel shows go.