I’ve seen some online speculation and rumors over the past few days that Netflix may be thinking of replacing the proposed Iron Fist series in their previously announced line-up of Marvel Comics based shows with the character Moon Knight instead.
The stories actually spin out of rumors that Netflix has been dithering for awhile as to whether Iron Fist, with his semi-mythic origin really fits into the ground-level world that they want to build around the success of last spring’s Daredevil series. Since DD proved to be such a hit, it really comes as no surprise that rather than branching out more, the… hmm… do we still, in this instance call them a streaming service, or in this case are they actually more of a studio? Well, however you want to tag them, (for now let’s just say “the powers that be”) it makes complete sense, from a money perspective, to say “more of the same, please”. Which is, of course, why we’re going to see another season of Daredevil before we get to either Iron Fist or Moon Knight, whichever way they ultimately decide to go.
Anyway, the rumor has been, for a while now, that since Iron Fist is seen as a partially mystical character, with his origin tied up in the mystical city of K’un L’un (a sort of martial arts Shangri-La type city which only appears on Earth every x number of years – I’m going with the traditional origin here, and not any retcons which may have been made to it over the years) it may not fit in as well with the other characters that Netflix is introducing as part of its Defenders series of shows. This despite the fact that they actually put some nods towards K’un L’un and Iron Fist into the first Daredevil series.
So, if you accept the rumors as fact that Netflix is re-thinking Iron Fist, then who do you replace him with? Well, as I noted above, their choice – again, according only to rumor and speculation — seems to be Moon Knight, and at first glance this does seem to be a reasonable replacement.
After all, Moon Knight really began his comics life as Marvel’s answer to Batman, except – and again, I’m going with the original, traditional iteration of the character and ignoring most of the changes that have followed – instead of simply having one secret identity – that of Bruce Wayne – M K had three: multi-millionaire Steven Grant, mercenary Marc Spector, and cab driver Jake Lockley.
Which is well and good as far as it goes, but there’s just one problem. In some ways, Moonie’s origin is just as mystical as Iron Fist’s.
Well, okay, maybe not quite as mystical, but… you see, according to the comics, in his Marc Spector identity, he was working in Egypt under another mercenary, the African Raoul Bushman. Bushman planned to raid and loot an archaeological dig which had uncovered many artifacts, including a number relating to the Egyptian moon god Khonshu. Rebelling against Bushman because he has fallen for the daughter of the scientist leading the dig, Spector is defeated by the African and left for dead. He is subsequently dragged to a temple by a group of Egyptians who still worship the ancient gods, and, after his heart stops, he has a vision in which Khonshu appears to him and offers him not only a second chance at life, but increased strength under the light of the moon.
Yeah, not exactly a completely ground-level, reality based origin.
Of course, the truth is that Netflix can make whatever tweaks they want to to either of those origins to make them fit better into the vision they have for their current spate of series, downplaying or even ignoring the more mystical aspects as they desire, After all, really the only thing you really need to portray Iron Fist is that he was trained to channel his chi in a way that allows him to focus it into his fist making it, as the comics used to say, “like unto a thing of iron”.
And as for Moon Knight, as noted earlier, all you really have to do is play him as Batman with multiple secret identities, and there you go.
So in the end does it really matter which character they choose to go with? No, not really. Especially since for the majority of viewers, both of them are going to be new characters, and they’re likely not to know, or care about. the changes that have been made. Nor is the fact that in the comics the Luke Cage character (at the time under the hero name “Power Man”) and Iron Fist have quite a long history together, first co-starring in their own book and then later becoming the Heroes For Hire.
(Actually, Luke Cage: Hero for Hire was the title under which the character made his debut, but that’s another issue altogether, and one which it will be interesting to see if they touch on in the character’s own series.)
As for me, personally I’m just miffed that they’ve appropriated the title Defenders for the group that they’re planning on spinning out of all of these individual series. That’s a team name that belongs to a completely different set of Marvel characters. But that’s also another post for another time.