Should Iron Fist be portrayed by an Asian American?

A group of fans has made a petition asking Marvel Studios to change the race of the iconic character in his Netflix series. Are they right or wrong? Hit the jump for more information.

Editorial Opinion

                                                                 



Marvel fans, the debate is on. A group entitled “18 Million Raising” has made a petition asking Marvel Studios to cast an Asian American actor in the leading role of the upcoming Netflix series’ Iron Fist. The main point of this request is to add more diversity into the ever growing MCU. These fans point out that the idea is not meant to displace the originating story of Danny Rand, but actually the opposite. An Asian American lead could still be all of what Iron Fist was in the comics: the son of a wealthy businessman; a student of a martial arts master; a seeker of revenge, and also bring something that the MCU sorely needs: diversity. Although, very controversial, it is true that most heroes presented thus far in the cinematic universe are white. Moreover, the only exceptions are not leading roles and represent mostly the African American people (War Machine, Nick Fury, Falcon). Even female characters did not get as much spotlight as they deserve, being restricted exclusively to Black Widow and to a certain extent Agent Carter. Unless Marvel risks an unlikely move by presenting Shang-Chi, Iron Fist might be the greatest opportunity to decrease disparities.

                                 

 
A supporter from this movement, Keith Chow, shares his thoughts: “Yes, I am proposing that a major comic book institution change the race of one of its popular characters as it transitions to a new form of media. In this case, I want Marvel Studios to cast an Asian American actor to play the lead in the upcoming Iron Fist show is is developing for Netflix. It seems logical enough to me, though as always, there are fans who are urging Marvel to resist changing his race.”, he said, “First, let’s get a couple of misconceptions out of the way. My call for an Asian American Iron Fist is not meant to displace Danny Rand from the story. It is, in fact, the opposite. In my mind, casting a young Asian American in the lead role does nothing to change his classic origin: He can still be the son of a wealthy businessman. He can still  accompany his family on an expedition to seek out K’un L’un. He can still train under Lei Kung, the Thunderer. He can still seek revenge against the man who killed his father. Danny being Asian American precludes none of these things.”
 
As expected this petition raised the reaction of some hardcore fans of the character. Some argue that by making him Asian American, the character would lose something important of his characterization, the fact his an outsider and faces a completely new cultural reality. Others think that by changing his race due to the fact that the character has a link with Asia, Marvel would be making an even more racist move. The purists ask only that Marvel stay true to the comics.
 
And what do you think? Should Marvel listen to this petition and add more diversity to their universe or is Iron Fist a character that is defined by his race and should remain as a white guy? Steven Yeun ( The Walking Dead ) could be a good choice for an Asian American take on the character while Jensen Akcles ( Supernatural ) would be ideal if they want to stay true to the comic. Share your thoughts below.
 
 
 
 

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