Danny Rand, played by Finn Jones in Marvel’s Iron Fist, has an unusual background. Unlike the protagonists on his fellow Netflix superhero shows — Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Daredevil — his backstory, psychological makeup, and powers are not straightforward. The first crop of episodes contain copious references to mysterious mystical lands and vague shadowy organizations. It’s all a bit opaque, so here’s a rundown of “The Order of the Crane Mother.”
Danny Rand grows up in a wealthy New York City family. He ends up in the mystical city of K’un-Lun after a plane crash in the Himalayas. The crash kills his parents but Danny survives and subsequently spends his childhood and teen years studying fighting and battling dragons under an elite order of monks. Eventually, he attains the status of Iron Fist, which is a bit like a Black Belt but with more superpowers and dragons involved.
Unfortunately for Danny, there are also more shadowy conspiracies involved.
Crane Mother was a ruler of K’un-Lun who had a vendetta against a previous Iron Fist before Danny’s time named Orson Randall. When he refused to participate in a tournament, she accused him of sullying tradition. Her pride was wounded further when he defeated Davos_(Earth-616), an alternate contender for the role as Iron Fist. Crane Mother resurrects Davos and both have held a mutual vendetta against Iron Fists ever since. She even gives Davos the assistance of her Crane Daughters, who can fight and turn into Crane birds. Crane Mother can — rather terrifyingly — create more Crane Daughters at will.
Danny is swept up in the middle of this conflict, as Crane Mother has tried to have him assassinated too. As it turns out, you really don’t want to go against her orders. Although it has not been revealed on the show in the first six episodes made available to critics, in the comics, Davos allies with_(Earth-616) Danny Rand’s frenemies Joy and Ward Meachum in order to take him down.
Further, the show has also not implied that Danny’s father died through foul play instead of the plane crash, but in the comics, Rand returns to New York City — the place of his birth and his parents’ business empire — seeking revenge and justice for his father’s murder. The show opens with his return to New York after spending years in K’un-Lun.
Iron Fist premieres on Netflix on March 17, 2017.Photos via Netflix