Marvel has stirred the anger of the Asian-American community by missing an opportunity to right a cultural misappropriation long rooted in comic book history.
This week it was announced that Caucasian actor Finn Jones, who plays Loras Tyrell in the HBO series “Game of Thrones”, will play the title role of Iron Fist in Netflix’s newest Marvel series, according to EW.
Iron Fist, which first debuted in 1974, tells the story of a Daniel Rand, a caucasian character immersed in a world first inspired by oriental martial arts and legend. As a boy, the character is taken to a mystic city in the Himalayas, becomes a martial arts master, and defeats a dragon to gain superpowers and become the Iron Fist.
For a story so centric on Asian themes, it was widely believed that an Asian-American would play the role.
However, it seems the cultural misappropriation was also apparent back in the 1970s.
— Roobs (@PizzaRoobs) February 25, 2016
Many, including Marjorie Liu, author of multiple Marvel books, criticized Marvel over the (second) missed opportunity to add diversity to the Marvel universe on Twitter:
Iron Fist is an orientalist-white-man-yellow-fever narrative. Asian actor would have helped subvert that offensive trope, and reclaim space.
— Marjorie Liu (@marjoriemliu) February 25, 2016
— Jamie Ford (@JamieFord) February 25, 2016
“Iron Fist” will be the fourth collaboration by Netflix and Marvel in a series that includes “Daredevil”, “Jessica Jones”, and the upcoming “Luke Cage”. Marvel and Netflix plan to eventually combine all the heroes in a future series called “The Defenders”.