Is the Shang-Chi Director's Disney+ Series an Iron Fist Reboot?

When Marvel Studios announced it was bringing Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings director Destin Daniel Cretton back to helm Shang-Chi 2, one of the news items to come along with it was the reveal that Cretton is also directing a new Marvel show for Disney+. Naturally, speculation immediately went to the series being a Shang-Chi spinoff, potentially starring the hero's sister Xialing and featuring her new leadership role in the Ten Rings organization. However, there are clues this Disney+ series will instead reboot the Netflix street-level hero Iron Fist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

When The Hollywood Reporter asked Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige about Cretton directing a Xialing series, he laughed and responded, "I can't wait for people to discover what it really is that we are working on for Disney+ with Destin." Normally, when Feige is presented with a question that could potentially spoil his MCU plans, he typically answers it in a number of different ways, depending on how much information he wants to divulge. His response to the question above leaves us to believe that it will be really shocking to fans, and nothing would shock fans more than seeing Iron Fist return. But instead of seeing Finn Jones reprise his role as Danny Rand from the Netflix series, this Living Weapon may be Asian just like his counterpart in the Marvel Comics Universe.

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(Photo: Michael YG/Marvel Comics)
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(Photo: Jim Cheung/Marvel Comics)

Marvel announced it was replacing Danny Rand with a new Asian Iron Fist at the end of October. A five-issue Iron Fist series will have an all-Asian creative team, with writer Alyssa Wong and artist Michael YG introducing readers to the mystery character, who has a new costume from superstar artist Jim Cheung. It seems very timely for Marvel to set up a new legacy hero representing K'un-Lun, and shouldn't be overlooked. There has been synergy between Marvel Comics and Marvel Studios in the past, with recent examples including the Eternals getting a new ongoing series to coincide with their feature film, and Disney+ heroes Kate Bishop, Echo, Moon Knight, and She-Hulk all receiving their own comics as well.

Speaking of Marvel Netflix heroes, two high-profile characters were recently re-introduced in the MCU. Rumors of Charlie Cox and Vincent D'Onofrio returning to play Matt Murdock/Daredevil and Wilson Fisk/Kingpin, respectively, turned out to be true, with Cox appearing as Peter Parker's legal advisor in Spider-Man: No Way Home, and D'Onofrio's Kingpin revealed as the big bad in Hawkeye. Understandably, this has led to fans demanding the returns of other fan-favorites like Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Punisher, and Iron Fist. With Cox and D'Onofrio both already back in the fold, it's only a matter of time before the others join them.

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When Marvel and Netflix began their search for an Iron Fist actor, there was a segment of fans clamoring for the casting of an Asian actor to deviate from the "white savior" trope embedded in his history and creation. The decision was ultimately made not to go that route, but with Feige overseeing both Marvel Comics and Marvel Studios, that could be changing. The only question is will the MCU's Iron Fist appear in Shang-Chi 2 before making the transition to Disney+. We're obviously in the very early stages, but it doesn't hurt to start connecting dots to anticipate what projects are on tap.