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Marvel’s Iron Fist Has Been Cast, And Not Everyone Is Happy

by on February 26, 2016

To refresh your memory, Marvel and Netflix entered a deal to produce four different superhero shows targeted at adults: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist (and then a fifth series, The Defenders, where all four team up). Today the last major hole in the cast list was filled when Marvel revealed who is playing Iron Fist. It’s Finn Jones, better known from “Game of Thrones.”

So why would some people take issue with it (excusing the unflattering picture up there)? Here’s the official description of Iron Fist: “Returning to New York City after being missing for years, Daniel Rand fights against the criminal element corrupting New York City with his incredible kung-fu mastery and ability to summon the awesome power of the fiery Iron Fist.” Iron Fist has sometimes been rendered as an Asian man. Here he is not. Now some are accusing Hollywood of whitewashing again.

Most outspoken against the casting has been Marvel comic book writer Marjorie Liu, who was furiously tweeting about the possibility of a white Iron Fist before it actually happened. She wrote last December, “Let me be blunt: I won’t watch Iron Fist if they cast a white dude. I can’t do it anymore. I’ve reached my limit. Peace out.”

Others have defended the choice by pointing out the fact that automatically making a ninja master an Asian person is a stereotype unto itself, and that the earlier depictions of Iron Fist as Asian weren’t exactly sensitive — meaning either way, some portion of the PC crowd was going to hate it.

Perhaps it can be settled this way: in the very first appearance of Danny Rand, the man was not Asian at all. In fact, he was a blond-haired Caucasian, pretty close to Finn Jones. Unlike with the Mandarin in Iron Man 3, there is precedence for the casting in this case.
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  • December 8, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    I fluctuate in and out of wanting to see this show, as opposed to just blindly disregarding it, but I'd still like to point out that if all of Marvel's white characters stayed white in the movies, then Samuel L. Jackson and Dave Bautista might've never played Nick Fury and Drax (read this to learn Drax's comic backstory).  If Finn Jones ends up blowing the role of Iron Fist, then not casting an Asian might feel like a missed opportunity to make him more interesting and/or badass than in the comics.

    However, since I haven't read any comics with Iron Fist as the star, I don't know if changing his ethnicity really does seem as easy as changing that of Fury or Drax did.

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