So Much for #AAIronFist: Marvel Casts Finn Jones

Despite a months (née years)-long campaign to have Marvel and Netflix consider Asian American actors for the role of Danny Rand in their upcoming Iron Fist show, it was announced that Game of Thrones star(?) Finn Jones had been cast in the role.

Honestly, is anyone actually surprised?

I’m not gonna rehash everything I’ve said (both here and on twitter) over the last two years. My main reason for writing the original article wasn’t to cause some mass movement on twitter, but just to present the possibility that Asian Americans could also be nuanced, heroic characters and that white maleness doesn’t have to be at the center of every superhero narrative. Or any narrative, for that matter. Alas, that point was lost on many. As evidenced by some of the gloating fanboys showing up in the NOC mentions and at the #AAIronFist tag.

In the end, Marvel decided to go with Finn Jones, the British actor best known as Ser Loras Tyrell on Game of Thrones. And for what it’s worth, at least the actors we pitched were, you know, American. Anyway, here are some of the reactions to the casting on twitter:

On Jones’ Whiteness

On Orientalism and Cultural Appropriation

Hollywood’s History of Centering Whiteness in POC Stories

Whitesplaining Racism to Asian Americans

Accusations of Fake Geekness

Hey at least we got a badass Daredevil trailer featuring Elodie Yung as Elektra!

Oh wait…

So, #AAIronFist was fun while it lasted. Now that another white British dude is playing a Marvel Superhero, fanboys can rest assured that their 21st century superhero television shows look exactly like their 40-year old comic books!

Meanwhile, we’ll move on to the next cause. Namely, getting Megalyn E.K. her own live action Vixen show! And if Greg Berlanti and company happen to be reading this, I got an idea for how to bring in an Asian American Richard Dragon to be Mari’s co-star/love interest…

22 thoughts on “So Much for #AAIronFist: Marvel Casts Finn Jones

  1. I am not at all surprised, but very disappointed and I shan’t see the movie. The guy who played Ser Loras on GoT? W T F Gimme’ a damn break. (smh)

  2. It really doesn’t help that they also chose a white person with less recognition than so many of the actors of color that could have been chosen instead.

    1. Not saying you’re wrong though it of course depends on who they would have cast in that alternate universe just saying that none of Marvel’s leads for this first phase of Netflix series have been A, B or probably even C-listers. Marvel rarely “casts big” for their leads in general but tends too go for big names in supporting roles to balance that.

  3. It’s especially galling that this will be yet one more dozens (if not hundreds) of high-profile roles that could have gone to actors of color, but instead went to a generic white guy from the UK. Marvel studios has given roles title roles to two white british people, but only one to an actor of color.

    When you add up Fletcher Cox, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Tom Holland and Hayley Atwell, there are almost as many high-profile (not necessarily title) roles that have gone to white British people than named roles of any significance have gone to actors of color.

    I felt like boycotting Ant-man and I actually will boycott Iron Fist because I am just so tired of this, especially since Marvel Studios especially should really know better.

    1. I felt like it because there were over a dozen characters of color whose movie rights were still owned by Marvel Studios who would actually have worked out better as the leads for a big-budget superhero film better than Ant-Man.

      It wasn’t really about Paul Rudd himself, though the fact that a middling white guy headlined a Marvel film sooner than any far more capable actor or actress of color was still grating. Although, instead of Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, they could have cast any of the many, many great black actors as Bill Foster (my fan-pick would have been Kevin Grevioux, who would be a great action hero, and probably would have loved to do it, given his work in and love of comics).

      I was doubly irritated after I saw the film and realized that it was just an inferior version of the first Iron Man. When they could have told any other kind of story, Marvel Studios opted to retell an old story, with yet another white, except he has half the charisma of RDJ.

      1. When I heard Paul Rudd was cast as ANT MAN, I must admit I was not thrilled and had no plans to see it. The movie could’ve been cast better and more credibly, but I saw it anyway, probably due to the trailer. GOOD JOB!

        I guess they called themselves making a good match up for Evangeline Lilley. (LOL) I actually thought Ant Man was funny. Mike Pena really stole the show, but I still would’ve preferred someone else over Paul Rudd as Scott Lang.

        I wish I could really tell you what I think about these casting choices of the likes of: Seth Rogen as The Green Hornet and Ryan Reynolds as The Green Lantern and Dead Pool and Paul Rudd as Ant man. (LOL)

  4. Haha wow I made a similar post on my own site just a day ago and today my friend linked me to this. Love you guys, and I’ll definitely be having a look at your articles in future :). And if you’re going to lobby for a live-action Vixen show, I’ll be behind you guys all the way too :).

  5. Thanks for pushing this! It sucks that we lost the battle but we shall not lose the war! The one real opportunity for Asians at being a superhero in the MCU! Darn it! I’m hoping that this is still a rumor and Finn Jones isn’t Iron Fist. We haven’t had an announcement by Marvel or Netflix yet! But anyways, I would look forward to them doing a Vixen series with an Asian American in the supporting role. Great idea!

  6. I’m not surprised this happened. Now I’m just hoping they do something to counteract the “white guy strolls in and gets better at the native stuff than the natives themselves” bit. Any suggestions how to do that? Like maybe have the show point out (like the comics have done) that he is merely the latest in a long line of Iron Fists, and that many of his predecessors would have wiped the floor with him? And/or a prominent role for Lei Kung the Thunderer? That guy is nobody’s wacky sidekick.

  7. The whole white supremacy premise stinks big time as to Iron Fist as you said: “Now I’m just hoping they do something to counteract the “white guy strolls in and gets better at the native stuff than the natives themselves” bit.”

    That is so racist and I am boycotting the movie whether they figure out how to counteract that crap or not because believe you me–they can’t.

  8. Yes, Danny Rand in canon is white, but more importantly (as I remember him from the 70’s/80’s run and more recently from the “Immortal Iron Fist” series), he’s the classic Orientalist/cliche outsider Westerner, so there’s no reason he couldn’t have been cast as a black actor, so objecting to a white actor is both naive of canon and a failure to point out that the role could’ve gone to a black actor. But I’m more annoyed that while Iron Fist and Luke Cage were most successful in a team-up book, they’re each getting their own series. Netflix seems to be going to a martial arts action heavy vibe with their Marvel series, so why not pair up Rand and Cage in a single team-up series and then produce a Shang-chi, Master of Kung-fu series? I think THAT’s the sketchy part of this: not that black and white characters are played by black and white actors, but that a series featuring an Asian lead seems never to have been considered.

  9. I am very disappointed…All these heroes in film are white! We need more representation from POC. Do you know how hard it is for a POC to cosplay? “Oh you’re asian superman?” “Oh you’re black batman” It’s annoying. Sure, some may argue that Iron Fist is an outsider due to his being white. But how about him being an outsider because you know, he doesn’t live in K’un Lun??? As for his relationship with Luke Cage, they don’t have to make their relationship about the fact that “Danny was a white guy living a privileged life and Cage grew up hard” it can be about “Danny living a privileged life filled with money and no worries, while Cage had to eat scraps”

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