Back in February, Marvel and Netflix announced a deal where Marvel will be pushing new live-action television series on Netflix. The said shows will be based on four Marvel characters: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. With filming in the state of New York set to begin in Summer 2014, 18 Million Rising, an advocacy group for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, launched a petition to urge Marvel to cast an Asian American actor for the role of Iron Fist. If those of you who don’t know, in the Marvel Universe Iron Fist, also known as Danny Rand, is principally portrayed as a white blond male. Here is the origin story for Iron Fist:
Iron Fist is Danny Rand, an entrepreneur’s son who was orphaned during his father’s expedition to the lost mystical city of K’un Lun. Trained by the monks of K’un Lun and given the power of the Iron Fist, Danny Rand returned home to avenge his father and become a superhero. [via comicalliance]
The petition addresses some important reasons as to why casting an Asian American actor to portray Iron Fist would be a great opportunity to connect with Asian and Asian American audiences. Here are some highlights of the points being made:
Iron Fist gives Marvel Studios a chance to add even more diversity to its interconnected cinematic universe. Despite what opponents say about changing characters’ racial identities, this is a case in which changing Iron Fist’s race has the potential to add depth and layers to an already beloved comic book icon. Moreover, a non-white Iron Fist can also help remove some of the character’s more problematic elements such as Orientalism and cultural appropriation
With innumerable white characters in comic-to-screen adaptations, this is an opportunity to help Asian and Asian American viewers connect with an iconic Marvel superhero. In addition, national racial demographic shifts are inevitably going to impact television viewership; more viewers of color will mean an increased demand in representation. [via 18millionrising]
There are some speculations as to who would be cast for the Iron Fist role. Keith Chow, contributor for Nerds of Color, suggested actor and dancer Harry Shum Jr. While on Twitter, someone suggested Cole Horibe who is portraying Bruce Lee in an Off-Broadway play.
These are some interesting choices, but still are speculations. So if you’re down with supporting the petition, here is the link.