The way Netflix’s Marvel shows gradually introduce certain B and C-level supporting characters from the comic books into their universes has always been one of the most interesting things about them. Iron Fist’s second season continues in this tradition, but the specific characters introduced here could portend major things on the horizon for Marvel’s street-level heroes.
Mary Walker debuts in Iron Fist’s second season as a young aspiring artist new to New York City in search of work and a new life for herself. As the season progresses, though, it’s revealed that Mary not only harbors something of an obsession with Danny Rand but is also a former special ops soldier who’s been diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder.
After being tortured in Sokovia following her unit being taken down, Mary’s “Walker” persona works as an assassin—seemingly against the will of the Mary persona—which is ultimately why she comes into Danny’s life. Though Mary/Walker was hired to kill Danny, by the season’s end she enters an uneasy alliance with him in order to ensure both of their survivals. More importantly, though, Mary also makes the decision to stay close to Joy Meachum, who hired her to kill Danny, in order to use her (and her wealth, presumably) in some future villainous plan.
In Marvel’s comics, Mary Walker is a decidedly flashier character compared to her live-action counterpart. In addition to multiple personalities, comics Mary has a variety of psionic powers including telekinesis, telepathy, and pyrokinesis, things that make her particularly deadly for a street-level villain. While the two versions of the character bear little resemblance to one another, the tone and direction Iron Fist lands on by the end of the season strongly suggests that the show is going to lean into the fantastical going forward.
In flashbacks to Mary/Walker’s time in Sokovia, it’s implied that a third, even more dangerous, personality neither of them is aware of might have been responsible for killing her team, an incredible feat for a single person. With Mary deciding to stick around and both of them becoming more open to the idea of a third persona lurking within them, it’s very possible that the next time we see her, she’ll become something much more akin to her comics self—powers and all.
Sam Chung doesn’t exactly have the biggest role to play in this season, but his introduction as the community center director, and now a friend of Danny and Colleen’s, is interesting all the same. In the comics, Sam Chung a brilliant gymnast whose life is turned upside down when his family becomes entangled with the Church of the Sheltering Hands, an offshoot of the nefarious Hand.
Since his first appearance in All-New, All-Different Marvel Point One #1, Sam’s worked alongside Daredevil as the vigilante Blindspot, using a high-tech suit that allows him to become invisible. Like Mary, Sam Chung is markedly different than his comics counterpart, but as Iron Fist continues to dig deeper into the comics lore for new material, Blindspot feels like a character destined to make an appearance on the show.
Canonically, K’un-Lun is one of the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven that participate in a contest of champions every 88 years when the cities become one. In the same way that the Iron Fist is the chosen representative of K’un-Lun, blessed with the power from the dragon Shou Lao, the Crane Champion is the chosen champion of K’un-Zi, imbued with powers by the mystical Crane Mother.
Comics are extra, amirite?
In any case, the Crane Mother also commonly manifests Crane Daughters, female warriors with a certain degree of magical abilities who support the Crane Champion in his endeavors. Iron Fist reimagines the Crane Daughters as bespoke tattoo artists known as the Crane Sisters who Davos commissions to perform a complicated ritual that transfers the power of the Iron Fist into him. The plot point is a clever nod to Ed Brubaker’s Immortal Iron Fist, a story in which the Crane Mother partners with Davos to seek revenge on Orson Randall, the Iron Fist before Danny Rand.
Orson Randall hasn’t actually appeared in Iron Fist just yet, but in the very last episode of the season, Danny Rand and Ward Meachum reveal that they’ve set out on a mission to find him. In the comics, Randall is Danny Rand’s predecessor who acted as the Iron Fist during World War I.
Iron Fist’s Danny setting his sights on Randall suggests that going forward, the show’s going to begin to delve into the deeper mythology of the Iron Fist which, depending on the direction Netflix wants to go, could be very, very interesting to see. The magic and mysticism bubbling just beneath Iron Fist’s surface has always been just out of focus, making the show feel like it was too afraid to go there. But now that Iron Fist is likely looking toward a third season, that’s exactly what it needs to do—and the introduction of these characters suggests that it might.