BACKSTAGE - STUDIO-CONDUCTED INTERVIEW
Spider-Man & His Ultimate Friends: Iron Fist
Iron Fist joins the supporting cast of Ultimate Spider-Man!
When going up against some of the toughest villains in the Marvel Universe, who wouldn’t want a master of the martial arts watching your back?
Lucky for Spidey, he’ll have just that as Iron Fist joins him in the ongoing adventures of Ultimate Spider-Man, kicking off the Marvel Universe block on Disney XD on April 1. So while you’ll have to wait a little longer to see Iron Fist in animated life, we spoke with some of the creators behind the series to get the scoop on what fans can expect from a teenage Danny.
“The Ultimate Spider-Man version Iron Fist is definitely a Danny, and not a Daniel, Rand,” notes Duncan Rouleau, who forms one-fourth of series Supervising Producers Man of Action Studios with Joe Kelly, Joe Casey and Steven Seagle. “Unlike some other super heroes on his team, he isn't given to big mouthy boasts or wild displays of teenage angst. Danny embraces a go-with-the-flow attitude. Stepping out from the confines of K'un L'un into the madhouse of New York, Danny tends to look at everything with a wide-eyed sense of the new that offers a unique perspective vs. his more jaded fellow trainees. But don't be fooled, beneath that kick-back demeanor is the most deadly kick in the world…and, of course, an iron fist.”
Looking back at Iron First’s history, Supervising Producer Cort Lane found a great deal of consistency in the way creators have portrayed Iron Fist in the past, giving the team behind Ultimate Spider-Man a solid foundation from which to work.
“With Iron Fist, he’s been so consistently portrayed over the decades, so we had a really strong understanding of who he is,” remarks Lane. “I will say that I think we’re all very inspired by the [Ed] Brubaker and [Matt] Fraction run on Immortal Iron Fist, and the mythology [of the Iron Fist] is something we will touch on in later episodes.”
“We loved Roy Thomas’ first person narrative style,” adds Rouleau, referring to one of Iron Fist’s first writers. “It gave you the feeling that you were the Iron Fist with the way the thought balloons flowed. This element informed our character. From the get go we knew Danny would be a deeply introspective guy, and, when necessary, we could get a lot of comedy from his point of view.”
For a peace-seeking hero like Danny, joining an organization like S.H.I.E.L.D. might seem paradoxical given the amount of conflict the group finds themselves in. But his time with S.H.I.E.L.D. ultimately helps him in his mission.
“Iron Fist knows the value of community and brotherhood because of where he comes from and the training he's received,” remarks Steven Seagle of Man of Action Studios.
“Without giving too much away, he is in the world of man as opposed to K’un-L’un right now to continue to grow his abilities and understanding of the universe,” elaborates Lane. “We won’t get the details for quite some time, but Iron Fist is on a quest to grow his skills, which is why he’s a part of the S.H.I.E.L.D. training program, just like all the other kids. They all have a similar need to grow their abilities and skill sets, and they all know they have a lot to learn. Iron Fist perhaps understands that better than any of them.”
Danny will also help Spider-Man with his unique knowledge and past experiences in K’un-L’un.
“In an upcoming story involving magic and magical Marvel characters, Spidey is very skeptical in having never been exposed to magic,” explains Lane. “But Iron Fist opens him up to an understanding of the world of magic, the world of the mind, the world of dreams, and provides a real education for Spidey.”
Within that group of heroes, Iron Fist will have a more calming influence.
“Iron Fist is a great centering point for the team,” explains Seagle. “He almost always keeps his cool and thinks through battles with a level head. He's also a fun-seeker, so he's down for adventure. He's kind of the calm center of the team, but it's a calm that's at the center of a hurricane!”
“Danny is unaffected,” concludes Rouleau. “He sees everything with a child-like wisdom. His observations, much like his fighting style, are direct. He calls his fellow trainees on their junk, but without criticism or judgment behind the words. As a comedy tool, Danny's "zen insights"--being deep or oblique, you choose--often leave the others wondering what he just said.”
Check out much more at Marvel Animation Age.
Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors, Ultimate Spider-Man VS. The Sinister Six and related characters
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