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Iron Fist and the Defenders: What we learned from the Marvel Netflix panel at NYCC

Danny Rand is a living weapon, and the only thing that can stop the Hand

Luke Cage Iron Fist Heroes for Hire

The cast and crew of Marvel’s Iron Fist may have only finished the final shoot of their show at 9 a.m. this morning, but it didn’t stop them from making an appearance a mere ten hours later at the Marvel/Netflix panel of New York Comic Con.

With head of Marvel Television Jeph Loeb on hand to ring-lead a veritable circus of actors from Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones, the panel was a chance for a packed Main Stage theater full of fans to get a look at never-before seen clips from the upcoming show, as well as never-before-heard announcements and a trailer.

The footage shown was clearly just as exciting to the folks who were featured in it. With every clip, Finn Jones (Danny Rand/Iron Fist), Jessica Henwick (Colleen Wing), Jessica Stroup (Joy Meachum), Tom Pelphrey (Ward Meachum), David Wenham (Harold Meachum) and Rosario Dawson (Claire Temple) scrambled off the stage so they could get a look at the screens on either side of it — cheering with the crowd at the cut footage of their own work they were seeing for the first time.

Jeph Loeb kicked off the panel by introducing Erik LaRay Harvey (Willis Stryker/Diamondback) to a Comic Con audience, noting that until now the actor had been unable to participate in promotion for Luke Cage, due to the showrunners wanting to keep his character’s prominence in the series under wraps. But after Harvey exited, it was time for the main feature of the panel: the cast of Marvel’s Iron Fist together in their first panel at a major con.

Of all the actors Loeb brought out on stage, the biggest cheer of all was for Rosario Dawson, who portrays Claire Temple, the only character to appear in all of Marvel’s Netflix shows and the metaphorical glue holding their separate "worlds" together. Loeb said Dawson would get to kick some butt in this series, which would seem to follow from a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment from the final episode of Luke Cage, in which Temple encounters a flyer for Colleen Wing’s self-defense classes.

But we won’t discount the reaction Dawson’s cast mates received. Unless this reporter was mistaken, the young man in the reserved seating section who looked an awful lot like Jack Gleeson — and who leapt to his feet yelling when Finn Jones took the stage — probably was Jack Gleeson, Jones’ fellow Game of Thrones alum.

In between posing some softball questions to the cast, Loeb queued up and introduced several exclusive clips from Iron Fist. The first showed a barefoot Danny Rand attempting to enter his family’s enormous New York office building, and established that picking up his life after being missing and assumed dead for more than a decade might not be particularly easy.

Danny also comes back to a less-than-warm welcome from his dad’s business partner’s kids, Joy and Ward Meachum, who are now adults and in charge of his family’s holdings. In another scene, Danny ominously warns them that he has "Hogarth" on his side now, a decent indication that we’ll be seeing Carrie-Ann Moss’ Jeryn Hogarth in the show as Danny’s legal representation. Hogarth first appeared in Jessica Jones and also cameoed in the second season of Daredevil.

Other clips included a fight scene in a hallway between Danny and a horde of attackers — something that’s quickly becoming a Marvel/Netflix signature — and a clip of Jessica Henwick’s Colleen Wing brutally defeating two large men in a cage match. Wing is a Marvel character of long-standing, best known for partnering with Misty Knight (introduced recently in Luke Cage) to form a private detective agency known as the Daughters of the Dragon.

The final individual clip of the panel appeared to show Danny being interrogated by David Wenham’s Harold Meachum, Iron Fist’s ostensible antagonist. Thought to have died in the same plane crash that left Danny orphaned and stranded at the age of 10, Meachum seems very interested in where Danny has been all this time. Under what appears to be the influence of drugs, Danny explains that he has been trained as warrior in Kun L’un, one of the seven capital cities of heaven, and is the latest in a long line of people to hold the title of the Immortal Iron Fist, the only person who can stop the Hand, a cult who appeared as the primary antagonists of the second season of Daredevil.

Wenham, probably best known for playing the selfless Faramir of Gondor in the Lord of the Rings films, is quite compelling as a villain in the scene, channeling a soft menace that reminded this reporter Hugo Weaving’s Agent Smith.

Once all the clips were through, the attending crowd (and eager actors) got a look at the show’s very first full trailer.

After the Iron Fist cast was dismissed, John Bernthal (Frank Castle/the Punisher) arrived to officially confirm what had already been guessed from set photos: Production on Marvel’s The Punisher began last week, and Deborah Ann Woll will be reprising her role as Karen Paige in the series.

In what would have otherwise been the biggest moment of the evening, the panel concluded with Finn Jones taking the stage alongside Mike Coulter (Luke Cage), Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones) and Charlie Cox (Matt Murdock/Daredevil) to take a moment for the crowd to soak in the presence of the entire Defenders team. But Jeph Loeb had one final announcement for the night: The as-yet-unnamed villain that the Defenders will be set against in their team series will be played by renowned actress Sigourney Weaver.

Loeb did not, unfortunately, say who Weaver will be playing, so for now, you’ll just have to speculate in the comments.

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