Some Wild And Possibly Made-Up Rumours About Iron Fist, Thunderbolts And The Marvel Civil War

The stories I've been running recently regarding Marvel and Netflix have been sourced from connected individuals whose reliability I can ascertain. Those in a position to know what they say they know. Sources who even Devin Faraci was forced to concede "aren't bad" which is probably the nicest thing he's said about us.

The following two pieces are not from those kind of sources, they are simply from two people who wrote in anonymously. I have no idea of the veracity of their observations but they are, if nothing else, entertaining.

The first from – let's call him Duck McQuickens – claims to have worked at the Marvel offices. He tells me,

It's true that Iron Fist isn't TECHNICALLY cancelled, but Netflix has plans to retool it as Shang-Chi if they can't find a show runner to take up the part by the end of 2015, with it being another martial arts show like Marco Polo or Mortal Kombat Legacy since he lends to gritiness much easier than Iron Fist. Currently Iron Fists problem is that nobody's got a solid series pitch beyond 'magic guy who fights crime'.

The show Marvel ordered to be cancelled was John Ridley's project,not Iron Fist. Iron Fist has problems but they aren't related to the feud. John Ridley apparently pitched a villain-based show like Thunderbolts (not sure if it actually was a Thunderbolts adaptation but the pitch was along those lines) and apparently Marvel wasn't having it. Apparently one of the leads was a pretty big name villain who Marvel wants to introduce in the films instead. I guess either Ridley wouldn't budge or said character was critical to the pitch, but either way it's dead now. Ridley moved on to American Crime and his other projects at ABC and his Rodney King biopic.

I asked for more details as to his provenance and he told me,

I used to work at the Marvel TV office. After Feige went to Disney, Marvel Studios got a restructuring, but Marvel TV did too, only it was less pretty. The hammer came down on all the projects (Ridley, the Inhumans,etc) and anything not already in production had stricter budget limitations, (probably why their next ABC show is a half hour sitcom) and then the next week they moved the offices across town

Some of this might have changed since (particularly with Iron Fist) but at the time I got cut the three big concerns of Marvel TV were:

First, Perlmutter wanted the Inhumans to replace the X-Men (he 'persuaded' the comic side to boost Inhumans and downplay Fox properties like Inhumans and the FF) and Feige did NOT. Feige wanted to work on the assumption they'd eventually get the X-Men back/some type of crossover which Perlmutter doesn't care for. Thats why it was at the very end of Phase 3 and why there wasn't a problem on their end when Spidey pushed it back after Infinity War since it has nothing to do with the other franchises at all. The big hammer came down saying that SHIELD still can't use the Royal Family Inhumans (just in case minds were changed) so SHIELD has its hands tied for no real reason other than pettiness from the TV side.

Second, John Ridley's pitch being seen as too dark/expensive for ABC and using characters Studios wyanted dibs on, like one of the villains who would have been a series regular (maybe star? still don't know that). They didn't say which film it was for but since it's probably not a Captain Marvel villain I imagine it was a Spider-Man bad guy like Kraven or Chameleon or someone (since we got the greenlight to use Sony stuff in the deal). Since it's a villain show Ridley probably didn't want to give it up, so the project got canned, Ridley got a check for his production deal with ABC and everyone went their separate ways.

Third: Iron Fist might be canned/replaced since Netflix wants a 2016 release date but nobody can come up with an interesting/cost-effective pitch for the show and time is thiiiin to write, cast, film, and post-production in time since the Netflix shows take around a whole year from writing to distribution. That's not a Feige/Perlmutter thing and more a 'nobody really knows how to f-cking do it' type thing, but Netflix signed a contract for 4 shows + Defenders so they have to have a show. Worse comes to worse it'd be rebranded as Shang-Chi and given a Raid-type treatment since that'd keep costs way down and could be finished before the end of 2016 since there would be no dragons or magic.

I don't know anything after that. The Damage Control thing got underway after I left but Drew Pearce would drop by and pitch it every few years but it never got traction. Maybe a comedy vet like Karlin helped? (just speculation on my part)

While a second person, lets call him Goofy McDougal, claiming to be part of the Management & Production team at Marvel Studios writes to say,

You were right about the problems with Netflix/Marvel TV's Iron Fist. The fact that MCU has worked hard to have a good relationship with China. Marvel TV's idea for Iron Fist would of hurt MCU China relations. The synopsis for Iron Fist was basically like Eddie Murphy's Golden Child. Kung Fu is also one of China's national sports. To tell the Chinese people that a young American is the best at Kung-fu, would be a slap in their faces. It's very clear that Mr. Feige will not approve Iron Fist in its current state. Iron Fist will most likely be put on hold and be replaced by a Punisher series. I like my identity to remain unknown as I like my job but, I wanted to help clear the air. Thank you.

As Dire Straits sang "two men say they're Jesus, one of them's gotta be wrong." Or as the song implies, both probably are.

I have no idea if this is anything more than invention, but it is certainly inventive invention. Pressing my own sources further, I get told that, despite(maybe even because of) pressures we reported on from Marvel Studios, Iron Fist at Netflix is fine at the moment. Indeed, regarding China, it was even being talked up there by Marvel execs at a recent meeting. And I'm not to expect a Shang-Chi…

I need a Russell Crowe meme…

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About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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