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Netflix cancels Iron Fist after second season, but character lives on

The martial-arts hero is the first casualty of the Netflix-Marvel era

Iron Fist - kung fu pose in hallway Patrick Harbron/Netflix
Matt Patches is an executive editor at Polygon. He has over 15 years of experience reporting on movies and TV, and reviewing pop culture.

Despite wrapping with a clear tease for the future, the second season of Netflix’s Iron Fist will be the show’s last.

Word broke late on Friday that Netflix and Marvel’s series, the fourth New York-set superhero franchise after Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage, would not return for a third season. There was a little hope for fans: according to Netflix, Danny Rand (Finn Jones) would likely pop up across the Netflix-Marvel universe.

“Marvel’s Iron Fist will not return for a third season on Netflix,” Netflix confirmed in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “Everyone at Marvel Television and Netflix is proud of the series and grateful for all of the hard work from our incredible cast, crew and showrunners. We’re thankful to the fans who have watched these two seasons, and for the partnership we’ve shared on this series. While the series on Netflix has ended, the immortal Iron Fist will live on.”

While reception to the first season of Iron Fist was lukewarm and marred by casting controversies, season two earned praise for tweaking the plot and invigorating the set pieces with tighter action. (Not to mention Sacha Dhawan’s villain Davos, a major addition to the continuity.) As Netflix does not release ratings for its shows, it’s unclear why Iron Fist got the boot (er, glowy hand?), but one could presume the series wasn’t performing up to the standards set by other Defenders shows.

The announcement drops at a competitive moment between Netflix and Marvel; next year, the comic giant’s parent company Disney will launch its own streaming service, expected to feature new and old TV shows and movies, plus original series, including the Star Wars spinoff The Mandalorian and mini-series starring characters first introduced in MCU movies. According to THR, the existing Netflix-Marvel series — including The Punisher — are expected to continue until their logical endpoints.

Will Iron Fist appear in a second Defenders team-up? A proper Heroes for Hire series with Luke Cage? Punching Frank Castle for some reason? Anything’s possible, but we won’t get the solo adventures of Danny Rand again, so savor those two, currently streaming seasons.

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