ByMatt Juul, writer at
MMA and Entertainment Writer
Matt Juul

It's official! Iron Fist will be serving up beatdowns galore on Netflix, starting next March, but what should fans expect from Marvel's latest superhero series?

If the company's last few forays into the cinematic universe are any indication, the show will likely try to update a classic genre. So, it wouldn't be a surprise if Iron Fist ends up being a throwback to the era of old school kung fu movies.

Over the past few years, Marvel has widened its scope beyond the standard superhero shtick when it comes to the brand's various on-screen properties. For example, the company's latest series, Luke Cage, is clearly a modernized homage to 70's blaxplotation films, while recent big screen projects such as Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy borrow heavily from heist thrillers and space operas, respectively.

Since the brains behind the Marvel machine seem interested in both expanding its type of offerings, as well as honoring classic movie genres, it only makes sense that a martial arts-influenced show would draw inspiration from the kung fu flicks of old. Iron Fist is tailor-made to put a new spin on this beloved genre.

According to the official synopsis, this version of hero Danny Rand, played by Game of Thrones star, Finn Jones, will take on the evil lurking in New York City with his "incredible kung fu mastery and ability to summon the awesome power of the fiery Iron Fist." This should excite fans on a few levels, especially the martial arts aspect of the show.

Putting kung fu front and center is a bit of a bold move in 2016, as most projects these days have shied away from traditional martial arts styles in favor of the grittier, more realistic world of MMA-style combat. While there have been some recent, cult kung fu hits with Ip Man and Wu-Tang Clan legend RZA's The Man with the Iron Fists on the big screen, this is only the second, mainstream martial arts television project of its kind (AMC's Into the Badlands was the first) in more than 30 years. After The Green Hornet went off air, the next mainstream martial arts show to hit primetime was The Master, featuring Lee Van Cleef and Timothy Van Patten.

Channeling the mentality featured in old school martial arts movies should work well in Iron Fist, particularly because the Marvel Cinematic Universe can justify the fancy moves due to the hero's magical background. As we've seen inside the Octagon, traditional martial arts techniques only work when a fighter also has a foundation in other areas, like jiu-jitsu, wrestling and boxing. There will likely be a bit of that in Rand's arsenal, but his style will definitely draw more from kung fu, meaning he'll need some help from his mystical side in order to make up the difference.

Adding a superheroic, otherworldly element with a touch of creative movement is the perfect way to honor the old-school kung fu genre, making it work both in the context of the MCU as well as a standalone series.

Of course, we'll have to wait and see just how well Finn's Iron Fist can throw down in comparison to his fellow Defenders. Since Marvel has done so well translating other genres to their properties, Iron Fist should have no problem continuing the company's success.

Check out the first promo teaser that premiered during SDCC 2016 below:

Do you think old school kung fu movies will factor into the production of Iron Fist? Let us know in the comments below.


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