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Iron Fist: behind the scenes

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The final salvo in the Marvel/Netflix collaboration prior to the Defenders event is Iron Fist, which recently wrapped production of its first season. The character, AKA Danny Rand (Finn Jones), joins Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage as part of the grittier side of the Marvel universe.

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In the show, Rand, missing for the past fifteen years, has returned to New York City to take ownership of his family company. He faces challenges to this on a number of levels, most notably in the fact that he can't really prove his identity and there are a number of people who don't want him there. Additionally, he has spent most of his life being trained in the martial arts at a secluded monastary, mastering the power of the "Iron Fist." Those skills, unsurprisingly, are called into action to combat a growing threat.

Exective producers Jeph Loeb and Scott Buck preview the series, coming in 2017, in the following conversation.

What's been the evolution of this show?

Jeph Loeb: One of the things that really excited us about doing the show was when Scott came on board with his background on Dexter. Dexter's a show that has a very grounded reality to it, but has at it's core someone who, theoretically, is mentally unbalanced. Or, has a very unusual way of looking at the world that makes him both an insider and an outsider. That was really important to us in terms of being able to understand who Danny Rand is. You start with a concept of a young boy who, at the age of ten, disappears off the face of the planet, who is the son of a billionaire, who then, at the age of twenty-five, in the very first scene, turns up at a skyscraper that has his name on it, and says, “Hi, I’m here.” The rest of the world goes, “Who or what are you?” There’s no DNA, there’s no fingerprint, there’s no way for him to prove who he is. The world reacts back in a very, very harsh way. And this is a young man who's just trying to find out who he is and what's happened to him. It gives us a very compelling story.

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Scott Buck: I would just add that our starting point was completely approaching this through character: "Who is Danny Rand?" That's actually what a lot of what his journey is, because he is a man who's torn between two different worlds. He's a younger character than some of the other Marvel heroes, so he's still trying to find his place in this world, and figure out who he is as Danny Rand, who he is as Iron Fist.

How does he fit in among the personality of the other Defenders?

Loeb: It's an interesting kind of thing, because when we pick up Matt's story, Matt is struggling with the idea of, "Is he going to be his father's son, or is he going to be his own man?" Is he going to throw away everything his father wanted for him, or is he going to be this vigilante? Jessica is a woman who's had this horrible thing happen to her, and she's trying to get her life back. Luke is a man who had this past happen to him, and in many ways is the most grown up of the group, because he knows what it is that's in front of him. It's just a question of whether or not he wants to accept that. Danny, because he's the age that he's at, while in many ways absolutely understanding what he's capable of, is in a world he doesn't understand. It really gives us a very different way of going about it.

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That almost seems to be the throughline running between all the shows: surviving great trauma, while also coming to terms with how you deal with it.

Loeb: You know, one of the things that I think is very true about the Marvel Universe is that all of our heroes start from a place where they are incredibly damaged, whether they know it not. Whether it's that Tony Stark has this incredible hubris, and doesn't understand, and can't communicate with people, winds up in a cave without any money, and literally has his heart torn out; or Peter Parker, who desperately wants to be beloved, gets bitten by a radioactive spider and his whole world has turned upside down. The idea is that these are all stories about people just like us, who are then thrown into a certain situation. I think one of the things that is important, and the message that we try to get out all the time, is there's a hero inside all of us. It's just a question of how it's brought out, and whether or not we're willing to accept that responsibility.

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