In 2012, Marvel’s Avengers defined the superhero genre in Hollywood as the tent-pole went ahead underlining earth-shattering records with a whopping $1.5 billion in its world-wide gross. Not to exclude the merchandise and brands along with other source materials Marvel has been able to cash on since then. It didn’t take long for the studio to realize that the superhero slugfest was the new mantra for success. With the rights of Daredevil won back from 20th Century Fox in 2012, Marvel studios strung up a new idea in its ‘think tank’ to replicate its success with the mini-series Defenders but on a small-screen format. Disney and Marvel planned a 60 episode mini-series starring individual seasons of Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones, on a $200 million budget-scale.
The Netflix/Marvel team-up worked stupendously well for the studios as Marvel’s Daredevil (2015) starring Charlie Cox as the ‘Man without Fear’ struck the right cord with the masses. The series’ gritty and dark, serious tone underlined with intense performances (special mention to Vincent D’Onofrio as KingPin) by its cast led to the gateway of season two. As per the initial plan, production has commenced on the next series Jessica Jones, followed by Luke Cage which too has gone to the writing stage. However the series on Marvel’s mystical superhero, Iron Fist a.k.a Danny Rand seems to have hit the rocky patch for the studio that has conquered the masses with its superhero incarnations on the big and small screen but is perhaps stumbling upon a direction for its character.
So long, Marvel has been true in leaping its characters from the comic-strips to the screens. However with Iron Fist, Marvel may be contemplating to re-route their path and we at TheGraphicSlate.com think why.
Marvel’s Daredevil brought out a perfect blend of grittiness to the fictional Manhattan neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen. Also Daredevil flaunted its superhero genre with stark realism without all the glamour and flamboyance it’s big screen counterparts boast of. This not only kept the screen-play edgy but also gave plenty of room to the writers to develop the characters rather than find ways of beefing-up the production value. Daredevil, a comic-hero is a vigilante at night pulping-down city’s criminals and by day plays by the rules as the blind attorney, Matthew Murdock. The other characters, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage too are grounded street-level heroes in the Marvel comic universe who have been in the comics together as the superhero team-up, Heroes on Hire. However, Iron Fist (also part of Heroes on Hire) is wielder of a mystical force known as the Iron Fist. His mystical powers allow him to transfer his body’s chi to his fist, which glows in a magical way before he punches down the baddies. One reason it isn’t working out for Netflix/ Marvel is to blend in the mystical folk-lore of Iron fist into the realism Daredevil sew in the first season. Rumors are flowing in that Marvel may be considering to eliminate the mysticism surrounding Iron Fist and that would be a real bummer for the fans.
Secondly, with a $200 million budget spread across the four series, Marvel/Netflix may be citing budget-concerns especially when each episode on an average is budgeted at $3.5 million. The depiction of the mystical-lore of Iron Fist and the whole mystical city of K’un-L’un where Danny acquired the power of Iron Fist may just go a bit over-board Marvel’s low-budget plans for the series. Also another angle to the road-block the writers are having a hard time dealing with could be the story-telling format which for a character as complex as Iron Fist may not work well in an episodic format. Remember Marvel’s Thor, Captain America and Iron Man all received a big-budgeted tent-pole to launch the characters in an epic story-tale format. The 13 episode route may just not be an Iron Fist thing.
Lastly, Marvel has shown its inclination towards the magical parts of its universe with the official announcement of bringing on Doctor Strange into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The small-screen format too blends itself with the MCU and perhaps Marvel writers are facing a clash setting the contemporary timelines for Doctor Strange and Iron Fist, both of whom delve into the mystical powers of superheroes. With Doctor Strange planned for a November 2016 release, the makers may just be contemplating the timing of the mystical superhero’s entry into the MCU.
So from contradicting Daredevil’s reality with Iron Fist’s mysticism, to budgetary constraints to even facing clashes in the timelines of introducing such magical-lore into the MCU, the writers at Marvel Studios have their hands full.
We’ve already noted the Easter Eggs of Iron Fist in the first season of Daredevil, especially when Madam Gaoun loads a mystical-force at our bling hero and later mentions a place far-away as her abode, possibly referring to the K’unL’un. Also the drugs at her place bore the symbol of the Steel Serpent, an Iron Fist villain as per comics. It seems Marvel blatantly teased us with those Easter Eggs and now is feeling the heat, living upto them. However the think tank at Marvel has always managed to surprise us with the light-hearted big-screen tent-poles or the darker, intense small-screen mini-series. We could bestow tad-bit more trust over the folks at Marvel to tackle the magical elements too.
Jessica Jones is expected next in December 2015, followed by Daredevil season 2 in April, 2016 and Luke Cage and Iron Fist following respectively in 2016.