Report: Marvel’s ‘Iron Fist’ Met With Asian-American Actors, But Keeping Character White
At long last, Iron Fist punched out rumors that Marvel had scrapped the character’s Defenders role by hiring an official showrunner, though the actual casting of lead character Danny Rand still looms. Movements pushing to cast with an Asian-American actor, rather than the blonde white male of comics have gained significant traction, to the point Marvel reportedly met with multiple Asian actors, but may in fact keep the character white.
Take this one with a minor grain of salt for the moment, as it isn’t clear exactly how far into casting Marvel has gotten with the role, despite keeping development under wraps until Jessica Jones’ launch. According to a recent THR report however, Marvel actually did take into consideration a movement initially fueled by Nerds of Color writer Keith Chow, which called for the placement of an Asian-American actor in the iconic role, and has since gained tremendous momentum.
To wit, THR sources claim that Marvel and Netflix did subsequently consider the prospect, meeting with several Asian-American actors for the role, though “[the series] is now leaning toward keeping Iron Fist white. Marvel declined to comment on that detail.”
Decades of comics have portrayed the character of Danny Rand as Caucasian, and while many have weighed the pros and cons of installing either race in a martial arts-centric role heavily influenced by Asian culture, it’s at least disappointing to hear Marvel potentially closing the book on a more diverse approach. As many have also noted, Marvel adaptations occasionally alter the race or gender of supporting roles, but never to its leading heroes.
For those unfamiliar with the character, so reads Marvel’s official synopsis of the Iron Fist series:
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.
The addition of Dexter alum Scott Buck finally put Iron Fist development in motion, likely placing production in 2016, and perhaps a premiere for 2017. There’s still potentially time to Marvel to embrace a different approach (and some great points to consider at our sister site Comics Alliance), but will Iron Fist disappoint a significant chunk of its audience with another Caucasian male hero?