Ever since Marvel agreed to expand the continuity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to Netflix, fans were promised that Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist would headline this movement before coming together in The Defenders. So far, Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), and Luke Cage (Mike Colter) have debuted and starred in their own series, and soon enough Iron Fist will premiere. Marvel has cast Game of Thrones star Finn Jones in the role of Danny Rand – but the move was not received with overwhelming positivity.
Before and after Jones was cast, the campaign began online to make Danny Rand an Asian-American. The campaign picked up many supporters, as the hope was that Marvel and Netflix would further diversify their mini team of superheroes and give a prominent role to an Asian or Asian-American actor. Once that was not the case, people began to worry that the hero could be portrayed as a white savior.
Iron Fist showrunner Scott Buck recently spoke to Gadget 360 where he was asked about avoiding this archetype in the series. Buck admits to not being very familiar with the character before taking the job, but reaffirms that Danny’s mission is to save himself, and not be the master of martial arts:
When Marvel came to me with this idea, I’d never heard of Iron Fist or Danny Rand. I had never read the comics. What [Marvel TV head] Jeph Loeb pitched me specifically was this character Danny Rand, and that was the story that pulled me in. That intrigued me. So the other aspects I only learned about afterwards, and I can say most definitively Danny Rand is no white savior. He’s trying to save himself, if anything.
Hopefully, Buck’s comments will prove to be true come March. Not much from the series has been shown to this point, but the footage that has been released teases Rand’s journey back to the states after he has gained his powers. Rand’s journey to the mystical realm of K’un-L’un and back again is a complicated one, but part of that story has to deal with him being an outsider because of his heritage. Hopefully, the show will find a way to portray Danny as a capable hero – at the same time, treating the mythology around his powers with respect.
While it appears that most people have accepted the fact that Jones is playing Iron Fist, even Iron Fist cast members have spoken out about the lack of hero roles for ethnic actors. That said, the series will feature Jessica Henwick in a prominent role as Colleen Wing (who will also return for The Defenders). How many other major/supporting roles Iron Fist will have for non-white actors remains to be seen – but knowing that the show aims to not put Danny in the position of supplanting other martial artist experts, should help to ease worries about the show’s direction.
Daredevil seasons 1 and 2, Jessica Jones season 1, and Luke Cage season 1 are now available on Netflix. Iron Fist will premiere on March 17, 2017. The Defenders and The Punisher will arrive in 2017. Premiere dates for the newest seasons of Jessica Jones, Daredevil, and Luke Cage have not yet been announced.
Source: Gadget 360