If Shang-Chi Isn’t Marvel’s New Iron Fist, He Should Be


Since Marvel is apparently trying to repurpose the Iron Fist title and premise, it might as well use Shang-Chi.

Shang-Chi may wield the deadly hands of kung-fu, but he’s not the only major martial artist in the Marvel Universe. An arguably much bigger character is Iron Fist, a title usually used by Danny Rand. Unfortunately, as Shang-Chi’s star has risen, Iron Fist’s has sunken, with the characters somewhat swapping concepts.

Marvel seems to be trying to dump Danny Rand, which is an issue in itself. As Marvel is apparently trying to repurpose the Iron Fist title and premise, it might as well use Shang-Chi. After all, any other character in the role may flop, only making Danny’s fans even angrier. Here’s how Shang-Chi has essentially morphed into Iron Fist, why that’s somewhat of a problem, and how Marvel could still use it.

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Shang-Chi and Iron Fist Are Marvel’s Best Fighters – What Makes Them Different?

Iron Fist Dragon feature

Though they were birthed out of the same movement (the Kung-Fu movie craze of the ‘70s), Shang-Chi and Iron Fist have typically been very different beasts. Shang-Chi was essentially Bruce Lee, engaging in international espionage stories a la James Bond. In fact, one of his supporting cast members was even the “son” of Bond.

Iron Fist, on the other hand, dealt with slightly more mystical experiences, especially as his comic book continued. Despite this clear precedent that separated him from Danny Rand, the movie and new comics for Shang-Chi have completely done away with his original scope, opting for more fantasy tones that tie him more closely to superheroes.

Likewise, Iron Fist has had a rough few years. His canceled show was seen by many as the worst of the bunch on Netflix among Marvel programming, and his most recent comic was only a short miniseries. The story even ended with him proclaiming that he was never a good Iron Fist!

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Shang-Chi Has Earned the Immortal Iron Fist Title

Shang-Chi kicks Iron man

With Iron Fist fading away, the more fantastical version of Shang-Chi seems to be taking his place so to speak. A huge reason behind this may be that Marvel finds it problematic to have Danny Rand be the face of martial arts in their universe, and would prefer for someone like Shang-Chi to fill that role. This has its own issues, especially if Marvel’s intent is to be progressive. Nevertheless, if they really are intending to put Danny Rand out to pasture, it would be better to use Shang-Chi than a new character.

Shang-Chi now has mainstream respect on his name, which would definitely see a Shang-Chi: The Immortal Iron Fist book sell. That hasn’t been the case for a lot of Iron Fist’s recent books, and a completely unknown character taking on the mantle will likely be a flop. Even having Pei, Danny Rand’s apprentice and the rightful heir to the Iron Fist title, might not translate into much attention.

Plus, as mentioned, they’ve basically slowly moved Shang-Chi into the role Iron Fist served narratively. It seems that there can only be one major martial artist at a time at Marvel, so why not the deadliest hands that Kung-Fu has ever seen?

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