Netflix has officially cancelled its Marvel series Iron Fist.
The superhero drama starred Finn Jones as billionaire kung fu specialist Danny Rand and was the fourth of Netflix’s quartet of Marvel series, after Daredevil, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. It followed Rand as he returned to New York after being missing for years, trying to reconnect with his past and his family legacy. He fought against the criminal element corrupting New York City with his kung-fu mastery and ability to summon “the awesome power of the fiery Iron Fist” – skills that he learned in the mysterious city of K’un L’un.
Unlike the other Hell’s Kitchen heroes, though, the reception of Iron Fist was decidedly mixed, thanks to its flawed source material and the white saviour trope at the heart of it, both of which fed into its unlikeable protagonist. Our review of Season 1 criticised its “simplistic writing” and “tedious characterisation”. It was telling that when Lewis Tan showed up as villainous fighter Zhou Cheng in Episode 8, he swiftly overshadowed Danny to become a preferred favourite.
Nonetheless, the series played a key role in paving the way for The Defenders, Netflix’s Marvel crossover series. That event series redeemed Rand’s character somewhat, with Netflix then bringing in a new showrunner (Raven Metzner) for Season 2, plus a new villain played by Alice Eve. Despite the efforts to change things up, though, the show’s sophomore run was again met with mixed reactions.
“Despite some improvements, Marvel’s refusal to deal with issues makes Iron Fist’s second season more tedious than ever,” we wrote in our review.
Now, Netflix has confirmed that Iron Fist will not return for a third season.
“Everyone at Marvel Television and Netflix is proud of the series and grateful for all of the hard work from our incredible cast, crew and showrunners,” the companies said in a joint statement last night. “We’re thankful to the fans who have watched these two seasons, and for the partnership we’ve shared on this series.”
“While the series on Netflix has ended, the immortal Iron Fist will live on,” added the statement.
Whether that means Rand or the titular hero, as left at the end of Season 2, will return in other Netflix series or just in future Marvel comic books is yet to be seen. Nonetheless, the news marks a major milestone in Netflix’s relationship with Marvel, as Disney, which owns the comics giant, prepares to launch a subscription streaming platform to rival Netflix. Competition is also increasing from DC, as it launches its own subscription service.