Marvel’s Iron Fist might have been a loose adaptation of the Roy Thomas and Gil Kane hero from Marvel’s old kung fu comics, but the Netflix series avoided a lot of the original’s fantastical elements. Danny Rand (Finn Jones) [is still a guy who punched a dragon [(https://www.inverse.com/article/21754-iron-fist-marvel-white-asian-representation) in an ancient city no one believes exists, but the show never went to K’un-Lun. Now that audiences are more familiar with the world of Iron Fist, maybe Season 2 will boldly show K’un-Lun, and there’s no better way to do that than in Davos embracing his identity as the Steel Serpent.
Davos appeared in Marvel’s Iron Fist played by Sacha Dhawan, as a friend of Danny Rand from his adolescent years in K’un-Lun. They trained together to wield the power of the Iron Fist, but only Danny proved himself to be worthy. Davos is also the son of Lei Kung the Thunderer, the mentor of Danny Rand who appeared in ethereal form (played by Hoon Lee) throughout the RZA-directed Episode 6.
There’s tension between Davos and Danny Rand that the Netflix series retained from the comics. In the comics, Davos — created by Chirs Claremont and John Byrne in 1975’s Iron Fist #1 — was resentful that an outsider like Danny Rand became the wielder of the Iron Fist, and he tried to have Danny killed. Davos was exiled from K’un-Lun, which only led him to New York where Davos steals Danny’s Iron Fist power and becomes the Steel Serpent.
After he was defeated, Crane Mother — ruler of K’un-Zi, another capital city of heaven like K’un-Lun — restores Davos’s power and turns him into the champion of K’un-Zi. That’s when he enters a tournament between all the ancient cities and their Living Weapons, where Davos hopes to fight Danny, adopting the name “Steel Phoenix.”
But all that cool ass kung fu stuff was lost in Netflix’s Iron Fist, as helmed by showrunner Scott Buck. Instead of ancient tournaments, Iron Fist was mostly focused on Danny going up and down Rand HQ in the polished Financial District. It’s not the first setting anyone would think of for a “superhero kung fu show,” but that was Iron Fist for better or worse (it was worse).
But in the Immortal Iron Fist from Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction — which arguably are the definitive Iron Fist comics for modern fans — Danny Rand spent most of his time in K’un-Lun in a tournament fighting against dope freaks like Fat Cobra (a gigantic sumo wrestler), Bride of Nine Spiders (a witch with spider powers), a so-called Prince of Orphans who looked like the Grim Reaper, and more. That same series also explored previous wielders of the Iron Fist mantle, like Wu Ao-Shi, which fleshed out the history of Iron Fist in ways the Netflix series didn’t bother. But that’s how origin stories go: They’re always gritty and “grounded” in reality. The magic comes later. (That’s how Arrow did it, anyway.)
Season 1 of Iron Fist ended with the hope that Season 2 will fully embrace its unique magical identity that made its comics stand out from other Marvel offerings all those years ago. At the end of Iron Fist, Davos meets with Joy Meachum (Jessica Stroup) with Madame Gao (Wai Ching-Ho), leader of a rebel faction of the Hand, not far behind.
Iron Fist is now streaming on Netflix.Photos via Marvel Comics