One of the most common issues people had with last March’s Iron Fist was how inherently unlikable Danny Rand was in that show. Throughout the series, we hear Danny proudly wave his mantle of the Iron Fist, share his 15 years of solitary, intensive training with Himalayan monks, and hear him spout Zen quotes numerous times, only to see him throw a tantrum when any semblance of strife is headed towards him. It was the kind of creative choice that makes you wonder why they made the lead si unlikable with almost no redeemable qualities. The Danny Rand fans saw in the show was so insufferable that people actually preferred the Meachums as characters over the actual lead. And because of this, some were worried about the character moving into the future. Thankfully, Iron Fist star Finn Jones gave some words of encouragement about the character and how the events of Defenders would shape Danny Rand’s viewpoint.
The thing with there with Danny is that we’re taking an ordinary kid with a lot of issues and we’re trying to iron those out first before getting to Danny as Iron Fist. And what we’ll in Defenders is Danny coming to terms with being a superhero. In the Defenders when he first starts, he doesn’t even know what a superhero is and then he meets those guys and he’s like ‘WHOA. This is cool,’ and by the end of it you kind of see Danny really coming to the grips with his responsibility in a much more mature way.
Finn mentions Danny not being aware what a superhero is which is weird and interesting in a way. Danny is someone who has been away from modern civilization and pop-culture for the past 15 years so there is a possibility of him being unaware who or what an Iron Man is. It’s something that makes me wish they nodded to in Iron Fist. One of the things that would have made Danny’s childishness more likable and palatable would be to emphasize his man-out-of-time circumstance (remember Davos’ fun moment not knowing what pizza was?). So him realizing how crazy the world has become after 15 years and seeing a blind ninja do a somersault from a building in The Defenders is definitely one of the right steps in developing his character.
Finn saying that Danny will come to grips with his responsibility makes me think it will come from him seeing all these heroes selflessly give all they have to protect people, not because it’s a mantle and duty bestowed upon them but because it’s the right thing to do.
Big thanks to our good friends and former collaborators at the It’s All Connected Podcast for hooking us up with the audio recording of the panel. You can check out their podcasts over at HHWLOD!