WARNING: Spoilers ahead for each of Marvel’s Netflix series: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist.
Danny Rand (Finn Jones) has punched his way onto Netflix with Iron Fist, and between the plot twists (Colleen Wing works for the Hand?!) and kung fu action (sorry, Hatchet Men!), his series planted plenty of seeds for the upcoming team-up series, The Defenders, to sow when Danny joins Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), and Luke Cage (Mike Colter) to protect New York from a mysterious threat.
Here, we’ve rounded up the five biggest takeaways and Easter eggs you’ll need to keep in mind after watching Iron Fist. (And if you didn’t binge all 13 episodes but want to find out what you need to know, we can keep a secret.) Consider it a study guide before The Defenders arrives this summer.
1. There is more than one type of Hand
Until Iron Fist, the Hand had only been seen in Daredevil as a shady group who had an expendable roster of ninjas, wanted possession of a weapon called Black Sky, and could revive the dead. Led by Madame Gao (Wai Ching Ho), they used blind workers to process and run heroin across the city, packaged with neat little symbols that looked like serpents, with help from Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio).
Post-Iron Fist, it’s clear they also had help from Harold Meachum (David Wenham) and Rand Corporation’s funds to drive their business across the Eastern seaboard. It’s also clear they’re not the end-all, be-all of the Hand itself. Rather, they’re only one faction in the organization, using its values and resources to push drugs. Another faction, led by Bakuto (Ramon Rodriguez), recruits and breeds fighters like Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick) to plant across the city and influence culture and society. In essence, every variation of the Hand — the comics has referred to them as “fingers” — wants power, and when united, can be a menacing force to face. Which brings us to…
2. K’un-Lun has disappeared
The mystical city in which Danny trained has vanished entirely — but to where? Iron Fist doesn’t offer an answer to that question (there is a giant hole in the middle of New York City, but we’ll get to that), but it’s important to note the corpses of the Hand members left behind at the gateway. Are these Hand members working with Black Sky, presumably Elektra (Elodie Yung)?
Wherever it’s gone, we can draw a few certain conclusions from the city’s departure. First, it proves Davos (Sacha Dhawan) was right to warn Danny that leaving his post while the gateway remained open was a bad idea. Second, this will weigh on Danny’s mind to the point that the buoyant, lighthearted Danny we met at the start of Iron Fist will seem a distant memory. And third, he’ll need to continue his training some other way. After losing his glow-y powers for a stretch in his solo series, Danny evidently doesn’t have a complete grasp of his abilities… yet. Without K’un-Lun around, he’ll have to head back to New York and stop being what Davos says he is:
3. Madame Gao is working with Davos
The final minutes of the season finale shouldn’t be a surprise to comic-book fans: Steel Serpent has always been the nom de plume of Davos, and his symbol — like Danny’s, but without the wings — has been used on the labels for Madame Gao’s heroin packets since Daredevil season 1, foreshadowing his eventual villainy from the beginning.
It’s clear Gao’s centuries of manipulating have helped her turn him against Danny. He had already been jealous of Danny, an outsider, becoming the Iron Fist, and compartmentalizing his emotions over Danny defending Colleen can only do so much. At the end of Iron Fist, he speaks to Joy Meachum (Jessica Stroup) about how Danny’s arrival ruined her life, and she appears to agree. Gao will likely make an appearance on The Defenders — she’s been spotted on set — but Dhawan has said he won’t appear in The Defenders and it’s unclear whether either Meachum sibling will either. So how will this plot thread continue in the meantime? Look to this scene between Joy and Ward (Tom Pelphrey):
She doesn’t name Jessica, but a hard-drinking PI who’s exceptionally good at her job sounds like the Defender running Alias Investigations. If Jessica counts Joy as a client, she might have some (and want to find more) dirt on Danny by the time they meet in The Defenders. And if we’re willing to believe Gao didn’t simply forget to name her, Jessica currently flies far under the Hand’s radar:
4. Expect more… decapitations
This is a relatively small takeaway, but Iron Fist confirms Stick’s (Scott Glenn) comment at the end of Daredevil season 2, when he claimed that Nobu (Peter Shinkoda) would stay dead because he cut off his head. Bakuto explains in no uncertain terms while threatening the Meachums that the only way to dispatch the zombie Hand members is indeed to decapitate them. So, uh, time to invest in some neck protectors, Elektra.
5. Midland Circle matters
See that name at the bottom of the spreadsheet? “Midland Circle Financials”? Those first two words should sound familiar to those who paid attention to Daredevil season 2: It’s the company allegedly behind the giant hole in New York — and the operation that might pull all four solo stories into one. As Danny and the Meachum siblings discover in Iron Fist, Rand has unknowingly funneled money into Gao’s heroin trafficking, and much of that money — as indicated on that spreadsheet above — has gone to Midland Circle. Remember: The Midland Circle offices will be the site of the Defenders’ first, accidental meeting. So if Danny chooses to investigate the company listed on these documents, and Jessica investigates Danny on behalf of Joy, and Matt and Luke somehow become involved, then it’s not a stretch to imagine that The Defenders will revolve around this mysterious business.
Hey, it’s either going to be that, or it’s totally on Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) to bring the Defenders together. After all, she’s already a fan of two of them:
Iron Fist is now streaming on Netflix.