Why Some 'Iron Fist' Fans Aren't Happy With Finn Jones' Casting In The Titular Role
After Entertainment Weekly reported that Game of Thrones actor Finn Jones has been tapped to star as the Iron First in the new Marvel series on Netflix, Iron Fist, fans of the comics have not stopped buzzing about the casting. However, a number of fans of the comics have expressed disappointment on Twitter that the role of Iron First did not go to an actor of Asian-American descent — despite campaigning on many fans' parts to encourage it.
In March 2014, a grassroots movement began growing online urging Marvel and Netflix to cast an Asian-American as lead superhero Iron Fist — however, on Thursday, Jones, a white actor, was announced as the winner of the role. For those not familiar with comics, here's a little background on the character: Based on his origins story, Iron Fist is a noted martial arts warrior who imbued himself with mystical powers of telepathy, extreme-punching abilities, healing skills and the gift of channeling his chi and energy to superhuman levels. In the comics, Daniel (Danny) Rand — Iron Fist's alter ego — is a blond, Caucasian New Yorker who was raised in K'un-L'un, which is a materialization of the Himalayas/an alternate dimension where he studied martial arts and obtained his supernatural skills.
Despite the fact that the character was written as white, though, the year and a half call for an Asian-American actor to fulfill the role notes that it would pay homage to story's origin. Originally, Iron Fist was created during the 1970s, when Hong Kong film imports were all the craze. Films like Bruce Lee's Fist of Fury and Enter the Dragon immensely captivated audiences, so more projects — from films to comics — were created with similar themes. However, though Iron Fist was created to pay homage to films like those, he was written as white.
So, though the character was originally white, fans noted that casting an Asian-American actor in the role would add more diversity to the Marvel universe, as well as note the origins of the character itself.
After many decades of white protagonists continually seeping their way through non-white stories, other superhero series like Daredevil and Jessica Jones have taken the right steps to add more roles of color to their projects. Though many wish this casting had gone differently, Jones is a great actor and will likely do well in the show (I mean, did you see him on Game of Thrones?). But, considering many important steps have been made in recent years toward shining the spotlight on the lack of diversity in Hollywood as well as the definition of cultural appropriation, it all begs the question of whether an opportunity was missed by casting a white actor in this role.
Netflix did not immediately respond to Bustle's request for comment regarding this fan response.