Are Marvel ‘whitecasting’ new Netflix series, Ironfist?


Marvel fan, Shemonti Shams, looks at the reality of casting the martial arts superhero in new Netflix series adaptation of Marvel’s IRONFIST. 

Edited by Rebecca Pates

Exciting news for Marvel fans as it has been reported that Marvel and Netflix have found their ‘Iron Fist’ in the form of Game of Thrones’ actor, Finn Jones, who plays Loras Tyrell in the hit series.

Although yet to be confirmed by both Netflix and Marvel, EW and the Hollywood Reporter have stated that Jones has been cast to play the martial arts superhero, Danny Rand aka IRONFIST. The release of this news marks the completion of the superhero ‘group’ “The Defenders” along with Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Daredevil. Marvel and Netflix no doubt want to continue their successful marriage by releasing a brand new superhero to the mix and make an even bigger profit.

Although many fans are excited about this news, some have been a little less than impressed and have accused Marvel of ‘white-washing’. Many fans think that IRONFIST would have been a perfect opportunity to cast an Asian actor for the role, due to element of martial arts. The casting of yet another Caucasian actor to play a superhero has disappointed many fans.

The reasons why some fans are so outraged is because one of the main plots of the original story is that Danny Rand felt like an outsider in a mystical Asian city, and he was sticking out like a sore thumb because he was white. Well, in that situation, you don’t have to be white to be the odd one out, even if it was Asian American who had no idea of his heritage or a Latina person, or a African American person – the whole theme of being the ‘weird’ would have still applied. Marvel would have been able to stay faithful to the plot of the story and still have cast an Asian actor.

Some “purists” have rebutted against these accusations stating that Marvel is just adapting the comic books, as they were written where Danny Rand was a Caucasian man. In this sense, just because Rand is a martial artist, this doesn’t automatically insinuate that he has to be Asian. However, many critics have said how disrespectful and outdated it is to see a white guy that is so perfect at martial arts, it’s to the point where he is better than many Asians.

This could be a major reason as to why Marvel is being so quiet about everything, maybe they want the rage to cool down a bit before they officially announce any news about IRONFIST.

With Marvel being a giant superpower, this enables them to cast anyone and still maintain popularity, but they didn’t want to risk it. Some have even said that maybe they’re keeping it quiet because there is chance of a recast, but that’s doubtful.

Maybe in the future, we will be seeing more minority races cast in big superhero stories, but it seems it will be a long time until we see this.