Marvel And Netflix Have Cast A White Actor To Play Their New Kung-Fu Hero Iron Fist
Loras from Game of Thrones isn't the Asian American people were hoping for.
In yet another instalment of the whitewashing conversation that’s somehow only recently come to Hollywood’s attention, the announcement of Finn Jones (Loras from Game of Thrones) being cast as the lead in Netflix’s upcoming Iron Fist series has raised some eyebrows.
I SEE THEY HAVE CAST THE NEW IRON FIST THEN pic.twitter.com/aDs14tOcyp
— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) February 25, 2016
Iron Fist is based on a Marvel comic from the 1970s about a white man called Daniel Rand who travels to Asia to master kung-fu. After fighting a dragon, he acquires powers that give him enhanced healing, telepathy and super strength and he then returns to New York to fight baddies. At the time, the comic cashed in on America’s obsession with Bruce Lee and pop culture martial arts, and dealt with just as much ‘Oriental mysticism‘ that you would expect from the ’70s.
Even though the character of Iron Fist was originally a white man, many are disappointed that the series missed an easy opportunity to cast an Asian actor in a superhero role. Nerds of Color reported that a group called 18 Million Rising actually started a petition back in 2014 to get an Asian American cast in the role.
“Despite what opponents say about changing characters’ racial identities, this is a case in which changing Iron Fist’s race has the potential to add depth and layers to an already beloved comic book icon,” the petition read. “Moreover, a non-white Iron Fist can also help remove some of the character’s more problematic elements such as Orientalism and cultural appropriation.”
Obviously this petition was unsuccessful, but some Marvel fans have taken to social media to express frustration at the squandered chance to add some depth to a story that retrospectively, may result in a very problematic TV show.
Was the whiteness of the character that important to the story?
iron fist's roots are in orientalism and that makes any casting complicated, but come on I feel like maybe you could have cast as asian dude
— noodle cutie (@Leask) February 26, 2016
— Devon Wong (@VignetteProject) February 25, 2016
By the way, WE KNOW IRON FIST'S WHITE IN THE COMICS. Know who else is? Nick Fury, Elektra, Heimdall, Aquaman, Jimmy Olsen… #AAIronFist
— The Nerds of Color (@TheNerdsofColor) February 25, 2016
Iron Fist is an orientalist-white-man-yellow-fever narrative. Asian actor would have helped subvert that offensive trope, and reclaim space.
— Marjorie Liu (@marjoriemliu) February 25, 2016
Iron Fist will debut on Netflix in 2016.