Iron Fist Casting: Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t

Iron Fist finally has a leading man in the form of Game of Thrones alumni, Finn Jones. He will be playing the titular character in Marvel’s Netflix show as the superhero who learns a mystical form of kung fu from the ancient city K’un L’un.When he returns to New York, he finds himself a stranger to the city, and decides to fight crime with his abilities. His adventures lead him to a member of the Avengers to fighting Hydra to becoming best friends with Luke Cage. He’s a fan favorite, and Marvel has kept his casting in the dark for a while now, so it’s great to see him finally get a live action interpretation.

However, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the casting, particularly with the announcement of Finn Jones. Lots of fans have demanded Iron Fist be played by an Asian or Asian American actor, as it would help fight against the cliché “white guy enamors himself with oriental arts” stereotype. It’s true that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is heavy on white male actors, and it’s a shame that they’re only now getting to some of the more diverse characters from the Marvel universe. (Spider-Man reboot number 3 and the third Thor movie before Black Panther and Captain Marvel is and always will be total bull-crap.) However, it’s not like Iron Fist was originally Asian, and the casting department decided to white wash him. Iron Fist was always white. But, fans argue that this could have been the chance to break that mold.

The idea of having this show feature another white man play a character that we have seen a million times is growing tiresome. On the other hand, there are those who think that it’s offensive to cast an Asian actor play a martial artist, and reinforce another offensive and misleading stereotype. So, it’s hard to know what the right decision is, and it seems like no matter what, people were going to be upset (as is the age of the internet). I would have suggested something many other fans thought of, and have Iron Fist be an Asian American who learns about his heritage through his journey to K’un L’un, but still be a New Yorker. It would be a unique voice that we haven’t seen in most popular media.

That all being said Finn Jones is a decent actor, and shouldn’t be disregarded for being casted as Iron Fist. We’ll have to see how well he does, and the show could lead the way for more Asian characters like Shang Chi, or Colleen Wing. The Netflix Marvel Universe does have interesting Asian characters like Madame Gao and Nobu, and Cambodian French actress Elodie Yung is coming in to play Elektra in the upcoming season of Daredevil. It’ll be an exciting future for the Netflix Marvel Universe full of great characters with their well deserved chance to shine.

Ah man, who’s ready for a Heroes For Hire show?

Marvel could have taken a unique chance to explore a new voice, but they chose to stick with a simpler route. I think it would have been cool to see an Asian American Iron Fist, but I also think that the production company have a specific vision in mind, and we should wait to see what it is, before we make a full judgement. But, what do you guys think? Did Marvel drop the ball? Or are they going to release another awesome Netflix show like Daredevil and Jessica Jones?

Let us know in the comments below.

Nick Enquist
Nick Enquist
Nick Enquist writes opinion pieces and reviews of comic books, movies, and TV shows for Monkeys Fighting Robots.