To say the casting of Marvel’s Iron Fist has been smooth would be a lie. The upcoming show will hit Netflix next month, but a score of fans were raw over its casting when reports surfaced of Finn Jones’ casting. The British actor was tapped to play Danny Rand, a man who Marvel fans know best as the Iron Fist. Taking to social media, fans confessed they were disappointed to see a white actor was cast as the hero when Netflix had a chance to retcon Iron Fist’s controversial ‘White Savior’ reputation. The decision has continued to alienate some fans who feel conflicted over Jones’ involvement, but others have come around to the show and its storytelling needs.
Now, Jones himself is addressing the show’s white-washing controversy firsthand and admits he sees where critics are coming from.
Speaking to Buzzfeed, Jones was asked about Iron Fist’s ‘White Savior’ roots. “You know, here is what I’m going to say about it. I get where that frustration comes from. I get the need for diversity and equality in television and film… well, actually in every aspect of life,” Jones said.
“Right now we live in a culture and a world where we are very unequal in politics, in economics, and in culture. We are being f*cked over massively by the top dudes. I stand up for people, I stand up for people across all borders.”
Continuing, Jones said, “Danny Rand is not a white savior. Danny Rand can hardly save himself, let alone an entire race of people. He is a very complicated, vulnerable individual. He doesn’t just show up, like, ‘Hey dudes, I’ve just learned martial arts! I’m going to save the world,’” Jones said in a surfer voice. “Actually, it’s the complete opposite. He’s gone through and suffered immense trauma and he is struggling to claim his own sanity and identity back.”
“We are human beings on this planet, and we all individually have different attributes. We’re not stereotypes, and hopefully, that’s what the show does. Hopefully the show doesn’t — I don’t think it does — deal in stereotypes, which I think people are worried about,” he finished.
In the past, Jones has addressed the less-than-sensitive cultural connotations written into the original Iron Fist comics. “The comic books were written in the '70s. 1970s was a very different world to 2016, and we're going to reflect that,” Jones stressed.
“We have an incredibly diverse cast; incredibly talented. What I would say to that is, wait until you've seen the show, and then pass judgment, before you make comment, because people will be very, very, very pleasantly surprised with what we're doing in the show.”
Fifteen years after being presumed dead in a plane crash, Danny Rand (Finn Jones) mysteriously returns to New York City determined to reclaim his birthright and family company. However, when a long-destined enemy rises in New York, this living weapon is forced to choose between his family’s legacy and his duties as the Iron Fist.
Marvel’s Iron Fist was developed by Scott Buck. The Netflix series stars Finn Jones as Danny Rand, a martial arts expert with the ability to call upon the power of the Iron Fist. The cast also includes Jessica Henwick, David Wenham, Jessica Stroup, Tom Pelphrey, and Rosario Dawson.
Marvel’s Iron Fist premieres March 17, 2017 exclusively on Netflix.