18Million Rising Wants an Asian American Iron Fist Too

You may recall I wrote this plea to Marvel to cast an Asian American actor as Iron Fist in the upcoming Netflix series. Well, our friends at 18million Rising picked up on the post and asked me to help them craft a petition to go to the heads of Marvel Entertainment and Netflix.

Big ups to everyone at 18MR for even considering the cause. Not sure how much good it’ll do, but it’s worth a shot, no?

Check after the jump for the write up from 18MR.

Marvel: Cast an Asian American Iron Fist

With its upcoming Iron Fist show in development for Netflix, now is the perfect time for Marvel Studios to change this popular character’s race from white to Asian American. As Marvel execs prepare to cast for this show, we urge them to find an Asian American actor to play the lead.


Why does this matter? Since Marvel and Netflix’s slate of superhero series are supposed to inhabit the same world as the billion-dollar grossing Avengers, 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.

Casting a young Asian American Iron Fist is not meant to displace the originating story of Danny Rand (the secret identity of the quick-punching, high-kicking superhero). In fact it’s quite the opposite. An Asian American lead can 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.

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. Why not start meeting this demand and inspiring Asian American viewers with an Asian American Iron Fist?

Join us today and ask Marvel Studios to cast an Asian American as Iron Fist.

You can sign the petition here.

26 thoughts on “18Million Rising Wants an Asian American Iron Fist Too

    1. Iron Fist is White. For Marvel’s Netflix shows to work, they’ll need to cast a White guy in that role, because cross-racial casting here alienates the very die-hard audience Marvel needs to watch this show. An Asian American Danny Rand is still a bad idea.

      1. Rubbish. I’m a die-hard Marvel fan of three decades’ standing and I want to see the universe expand, not contract. If you need evidence, just look at Nick Fury. He’s never been as popular as he is now.

      2. You have very little faith in Marvel fans, a lot of us aren’t even white and the ones that are, are modern thinking, the only time we get old school is if you mess with characters who are anchors in Marvel lore simply because that’s how we’ve grown up reading / acknowledging them as characters ………. however.
        I feel this request (Iron Fist) has merit, everything about this character is Asian except the blonde hair, also this is the only character which could be converted to Asian American that the fans could come around to, also unlike black characters there are no Asian ones to choose from.
        Its Iron First or bust so I support this change or at least would welcome it.

  1. Since Iron Fist doesn’t have that big of a die-hard following, it probably won’t matter too much….Corporate just wants the dollars at the end of the day so is this really a good thing, or is it simply expanding the market?

    1. For what it’s worth, the top four highest grossing live-action martial arts movies are led by an Asian and black pairing (The Rush Hour trilogy and Jaden Smith’s Karate Kid remake http://www.boxofficemojo.com/genres/chart/?id=martialarts.htm). So if you need to wave money in the pitch have the Heroes for Hire reflect those and scream that whichever Asian American actor is cast will be the next Jackie Chan.

      Plus all four characters have a guaranteed 13 episode run each anyway, whose ratings only Netflix will be privy to. So if 50% of this Defenders mini-series cast is white rather than 75%, people aren’t going to cancel their subscription and Netflix can say whether the show was a success by making Iron Fist season 2 or not.

      Besides, Last Airbender is listed fifth so audiences /want/ their martial artists racebent. 😉

  2. There has to be a breaking point where white-dominant Western culture should stop appropriating non-Western cultures for its own gratification. Whether or not Iron Fist is one example would depend on how they wish to treat the Asian culture they’re using. But soon this would lead back to a point that Static Shock proved – when will these companies just make new characters who can become popular?

  3. I don’t think anyone has a problem with Iron Fist being played by an Asian American actor. I think they have a problem with an Asian American playing Danny Rand. Rand’s story was not just about a rich kid gaining mystical powers and wanting revenge. It was about a white kid trying to find acceptance in a non-white community. He didn’t try to take their identity, he tried to fit in.
    I’d be happy to see an Asian American play Iron Fist but Marvel should do it the same way they’re doing it with the new Hulk. A fresh storyline.
    And Nick Fury still makes people angry. But who doesn’t like Sam Jackson?

Comments are closed.