In a discussion about the Marvel series on Netflix, someone asked – since I was very disappointed with Iron Fist – what would I have done. That person obviously had no idea what they were getting into, and while we were discussing the various factors, many of the components and plots that I suggested accreted into something resembling coherence.
And now I am going to throw that semi-coherence in your face, because that’s what I do.
It’s important to stress how much this idea takes from the Matt Fraction/Ed Brubaker run on the Immortal Iron Fist as well as some of the more traditional background of the character. While this was discussed as a TV series, as a counter-factual to what actually happened, there is no way a TV series could happen now, unless Marvel retcons their Netflix series. Of course, it’s also not going to happen as a comic, but it’s not a complete impossibility (a less than absolute 0% chance, but that’s still a chance).
The biggest difference between my conception of the character and the the Iron Fists from TV and the comics is that this Iron Fist is neither white nor male. She doesn’t have to be Asian, but that’s kind of what I was thinking. The Iron Fist Wu Ao-Shi from the Immortal Iron Fist is kind of an inspiration. To separate my Iron Fist, let’s just call her Wu.
Anyway, the backstory is that one of the Cities of Heaven (working with seven, but maybe leave the number open) intersects with Earth once every 10 years, which is how it works in the Immortal Iron Fist. Each city has a champion, an Immortal Weapon, who bears a spark of that city’s essence, augmenting their inner qi and making them powerful beyond even the greatest warriors of Heaven.
During the intersection, all Immortal Weapons must return to their home cities in order to participate in a tournament to decide which city will be preeminent and act as the gateway to Earth. In between those intersections, the Immortal Weapons can stay in their city or wander the Earth. Most Immortal Weapons stay in their city to both train and be lavished with luxuries. Our Iron Fist – and most before her – chose something else because the Immortal Iron Fist is not just an Immortal Weapon, but also a seeker for justice.
It isn’t uncommon for the city that intersects with the Earth to accept supplicants who wish to come and learn within that city’s monastery – the training ground of the Immortal Weapons. Wu is one such supplicant who became the best student of Lei Kung, the Thunderer.
During the last intersection, Iron Fist did not return to K’un L’un, and so a hasty selection took place which Wu won, becoming the new Iron Fist. Further, she won the tournament among the Cities of Heaven and so it was K’un L’un that intersected with Earth. Wu decided to seek for the lost Iron Fist. She has since been wandering the Earth, fighting injustice while searching for her lost predecessor. This is all back story which might be provided through the series, but not all at once and not at first.
Wu is closer in personality to Danny Rand in the Immortal Iron Fist. She is a martial artist, yes, but she’s also a swashbuckler. We learn that it was her empathy and willingness to sacrifice that led Shou-Lao the Undying to mark her and provide a piece of its essence to strengthen her already impressive qi. She revels in her abilities because they allow her to fight injustice and help people. She loves what she is and what she can do, and she’s not afraid to die, if it’s in a good cause.
She’s a knight errant, a noble warrior as she seeks out injustices but is not touched by their darkness.
That’s all background and character stuff. I kind of plotted out how I would have delivered the story, and I’ll share that with you next.
You can find out more about Iron Fist here.
The images are of the Iron Fist Wu Ao-Shi, whom you can learn about here.