Now, with #Marvel's first four #Netflix-based forays into the murky waters of prestige television (Daredevil Seasons 1 and 2, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage) having been met with such near-universal acclaim and popularity, there was always likely to be a come-down at some point. And, so, much as many fans turned on Marvel Studios' Thor: Ragnarok and Ant-Man for failing to live up to the lofty expectations of their predecessors, it seems that the soon-to-be-released #IronFist is about to be on the end of a similar critical and cultural kicking.
The show's troubles, however, began long before critics got their hands on it, with the show being dogged by criticism throughout its production for not casting an Asian actor to play the lead role. Y'see, while Danny "Iron Fist" Rand has traditionally been white in the comic books, many fans feel that his role — that of mystical martial arts "savior" — should have been altered to make it more contemporary (and less exploitation-y).
All of which, it seems, has meant that:
'Iron Fist's Jessica Henwick Is Now Having To Defend The Casting Of Finn Jones
That's right. #JessicaHenwick, the daughter of a Singaporean-Chinese mother, and a Zambian-English father, and current portrayer of Iron Fist's Japanese-American bad-ass, #ColleenWing, is now having to defend a slightly feckless white guy, #FinnJones, both on-screen and in real life. Which, since she has spent her entire career facing off against the fundamental inadequacy of Asian representation on-screen, seems a little unfair, but there you go. As Henwick put it, though, during a recent interview with The Daily Beast:
"Look. I am Asian.... I am Asian and I am an actor... If anyone understands, it’s me. I have faced it in my career. I’ve been working eight years and I’ve experienced it firsthand, the disparity when it comes to Asian representation — even more than that, Asian misrepresentation... But I also have seen what Finn’s done in this role and I honestly, honestly think that he smashes it out the park."
Which, in fairness, doesn't exactly come across as a glowing endorsement of Marvel's casting of a white dude to play a role that would have arguably made more sense played by an Asian actor, but it does come across as both extremely professional and unfailingly polite to said white dude (who was, in fairness, sitting next to her at the time). So that's nice.
It also, of course, raises the practical issue that — no matter what we might have preferred to have happened in the past — it's realistically too late to re-cast the role of Iron Fist now, seeing as Jones has already filmed both Iron Fist and The Defenders. Henwick's pragmatism, then, may well be worth adopting more widely, especially if its combined with pushing for greater diversity in roles that haven't already been cast.
What do you think, though? How do you think we should approach the casting of generic white dude Finn Jones as Iron Fist? Let us know below!
(Sources: The Daily Beast)