Hi there, welcome to my first hypothetical post on this blog! Here I’m gonna imagine a world were Iron Fist wasn’t the terrible dumpster fire that it was but rather it was a compelling and touching story about a man who has to choose between two ways of life; the sacred or the profane. This is gonna be a followup to my post about why Iron Fist failed as a story and if you haven’t read that yet I suggest you do so because it will give context to as to why the changes I’m going to make here are so necessary. I’m gonna try and keep the complaining to a minimum here as I got that out of my system last week. By the way I’m sorry for the late post as university has really been dialling up the pressure lately. Gets dive in!
How to fix Danny Rand
If you read my last post on Iron Fist you’d know that the biggest reason I dislike Danny Rand beyond his insufferable attitude (which I’ll get to in a bit) is that he betrayed his vows and abandoned K’un-Lun to be slaughtered for no good reason. Something that bothered me about the lore of K’un-Lun was the question of why it needed a protector if the gateway to accessing it only opened once every fifteen years, hence the Iron Fist would only need to exist for that crucial few months when the place was vulnerable.
Another bit of trivia is that the Iron Fist is sworn to destroy the Hand as Danny loves to constantly tell everyone. After thinking about this I came up with a simple idea to fix this crippling flaw in Danny’s character: have it be that Danny never abandoned K’un-Lun at all, instead he was SENT by the monks there to go out into the world and destroy the Hand. There, done. Did you realise how simple that was? With such a simple change Danny is now a worthy Iron Fist. This way Danny is no longer the thieving and treacherous failure he is in the show, he is now a man on a mission, he’s leaving the paradise where he was raised to return home and prove himself as the Immortal Iron Fist and the Champion of K’un-Lun.
As for his personality I’d have Danny be the most kind, chill and mellow guy you could possibly meet. Almost like a badass hippie or a pacifist who only fights when absolutely forced. In the show he came across as incredibly immature and prone to childish tantrums. Theres this one scene where he’s fighting a drunken master serving the Hand who ironically has more honour and integrity than Danny himself and when he points this out Danny beats the man within an inch of his life. That is not the behaviour of someone who is in control of their emotions.
Danny always seems so ready to use his stupid glowing fist to punch people in order to prove how badass he is, you know what would make me admire him? If he showed restraint by constantly implying through his technique how he could obliterate anyone in seconds but doesn’t because in reality he doesn’t want to hurt anybody. He wants to be a peaceful warrior if that makes sense. To him martial arts is a way to focus his emotions and enter a meditative state, being able to fight is just a bonus. Any thug can break bones, it takes a true master to beat someone without causing them serious injury.
How I would write Iron Fist
Heres how I would outline the plot, Danny returns to New York like his masters in K’un-Lun told him to not because he cares about regaining his fortune but because he was informed that the Hand has a large presence in the city. He figures that with a multi-billion dollar corporation at his side he would be able to locate the Hand more quickly and use its resources to combat them. In the first episode he gets his identity back and then we’re onto the plot. Danny is welcomed back by everyone; his best friend Ward, his surrogate sister Joy, his ‘uncle’ Harold and while they simply want him to party and start a life as an affluent billionaire socialite, Danny is more focused on finding and destroying the mysterious Hand, much to his friends confusion. Then we have a twist.
I wish, in time Danny learns that Harold himself is one of the leaders of the Hand and in Wendell Rand’s absence he’s essentially turned Rand Enterprises into a complete front organisation for the Hand’s activities. At first Danny intends to take down Harold but then he’s met with another surprise. Harold doesn’t try to fight Danny, he wants him to join him. He explains that he too once lived in K’un-Lun but like his colleagues who would found the Hand he came to see the masters as arrogant and separated from the real world, stuck in their monastery hoarding a power that should belong to the rest of the world; the power of immortality. They stole this power and were excommunicated from K’un-Lun where they would come to influence world events from the shadows with Rand Enterprises becoming their base of operations.
Harold tempts Danny, showing him the many privileges that wealth could give him and after fifteen years of eating nothing but rice and sleeping on a cold hard floor he almost considers it. After all this is Danny’s birthright isn’t it? Why shouldn’t he have the soft bed, the beautiful woman, the power and the prestige? Why can’t he be as happy as his best friend Ward who indulges in all these things and doesn’t have a care in the world? Danny spends the next few episodes unlearning everything K’un-Lun taught him, he dives straight into the sex, the drugs and the parties with Ward right there by his side and Harold watching from afar with a sinister grin. Davos eventually surfaces and informs Danny that he was sent by K’un-Lun to make sure he succeeded and the former is appalled that Danny would abandon his mission for a profane lifestyle. Danny retorts that he never asked to be found in K’un-Lun and that this is his life now, if Davos wants to be the Iron Fist he would give him the power.
But in time Danny discovers Harold and the Hand’s true nature. Harold is a man who is so concerned with material wealth and power that he lacks any kind of moral centre, he is the antithesis of everything that K’un-Lun teaches. Danny learns that after founding Rand Enterprises with his father, Harold had Wendell murdered in the plane crash so he could turn the organisation into a complete front for the Hand unimpeded. Danny sees that despite all the power and money Harold has nothing that makes life worth living, he doesn’t care that his son is a drug-addicted mess and he sees his highly-competent daughter as an ignorant tool for his organisation’s success. Harold is empty and his soul is tainted. This is the future that Danny faces if he continues down on this path.
Instead he resolves to do his duty and take down his father’s murderer. With Davos’ help he defeats Harold in the penultimate episode before Harold simply claims that beating him in a fist fight won’t change anything. He has an army of lawyers and friends at every level of society that will do everything in their power to keep him out of a jail cell. But Danny can’t murder him, he’s not a killer. Davos however finally loses it with his friend, he claims that Danny is unworthy of the title of Iron Fist and isn’t capable of abandoning his past life, that he secretly wants to take Harold’s place and betray K’un-Lun. Davos then murders Harold and escapes.
In the season finale Davos resolves to do what Danny cannot; destroy the Hand. To do this he must strike a blow from which they can’t recover, he resolves to blow up Rand Enterprises and everyone in it, innocent or not. Davos is the physical embodiment of K’un-Lun at its worst, a place so separated from the outside world and dogmatic in its beliefs that innocent lives outside of paradise are worthless because their souls are tainted by a profane existence. But Danny knows better, he’s lived outside of that bubble and he’s come to learn that a wholesome life needs balance, you can’t isolate yourself in the sacred like Davos or indulge in the profane like Harold. Both lifestyles consume you in the end. In the final battle he begs his friend to relent, that destroying the Hand isn’t worth sacrificing thousands of innocent lives but Davos cannot understand thanks to his upbringing and after an epic martial arts fight for the ages Danny is forced to kill him. Danny comforts his old friend in his dying moments and promises him that he’ll destroy the Hand the right way and that he’ll return to K’un-Lun to bury him.
At the very end of the season Danny calls Ward and Joy to his new office and tells them he as to do something they’re not gonna like. He later calls a press conference and tells them everything. He says that he’s the Iron Fist to the reporter’s amusement before breaking steel in-front of their eyes. He says that Rand Enterprises is a front for a sinister organisation known as the Hand that Harold was a member of. He says that in a world of aliens, gods with magic hammers and men with flying suits of armour whats so crazy about the concept of K’un-Lun? He finishes by saying that everything he owns is an ill-gotten gain and that he’s dismantling Rand Enterprises, finding new jobs for its employees and donating all his billions to charities helping those hurt by the Hand. Thats the way I’d write Iron Fist. You may notice that Colleen wasn’t mentioned at all but if I was to actually write it I would definitely find some way to factor her in (maybe in season 2 even).
Whats more important to me right now is that the story and character of Danny Rand are compelling. This way Danny is a moral and courageous warrior who gave up a life of privilege for his principles and it sets up The Defenders when the Hand comes back for vengeance. Ward and Joy swear vengeance on the man who took their way of life setting up Iron Fist season 2 and the last scene of the season is Danny burying Davos and urging the masters there to open up to the world more and not be so isolated in their worldview as Davos was. Even so he promises them that he’ll continue to fight the Hand the right way. Hope you enjoyed this post and I’ll be back soon with a similar one called “How to make Malekith a good villain” Cya there!