In the past month, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been bouncing about a nasty controversy. The franchise expanded a bit more thanks to the recent release of Iron Fist over on Netflix, but the debut was marred by arguments. Fans rose up to question the show’s casting choices and apparent reliance on culture appropriation. Stars such as Finn Jones and Jessica Henwick have stood by the series to champion its careful take on Iron Fist’s controversial roots.
So far, fans have been receptive to the pair and their conversations; However, not every defense is being taken so well. Not long ago, the co-creator of Iron Fist commented on the controversy surrounding the hero’s show. Roy Thomas made it clear that content can be adapted for a new generation but that he saw little reason for Danny Rand to be reimagined as a non-white character. In the interview with The Inverse, Thomas then went on to refer to Asians as ‘Orientals,’ prompting many fans to rise up against the unflattering term. And, now, Henwick herself is clapping back at the comment.
Taking to Twitter earlier today, Henwick wrote, “Oriental is a term used to describe rugs, not people.” In the tweet, the actress did not point out any names specifically, but fans quickly made a connection between the message and Thomas’ quote.
In his original interview, Thomas acknowledged that ‘Oriental’ was not the right word to use. The 76-year-old writer was raised in a time where the word was used prolifically, but the term has now become an insulting one to many.
“I try not to think about it too much. I have so little patience for some of the feelings that some people have. I mean, I understand where it’s coming from. You know, cultural appropriation, my god,” he said.
“It’s just an adventure story. Don’t these people have something better to do than to worry about the fact that Iron Fist isn’t Oriental, or whatever word? I know Oriental isn’t the right word now, either.”
For now, Marvel fans are simply waiting to see how the fallout over Iron Fist’s casting will affect future projects. The company does have a slew of heroes who were born out of cultural insensitivities, but Marvel has handled their potentially controversial live-action debuts with care.
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.
Oriental is a term used to describe rugs, not people.— Jessica Henwick ? (@JHenwick) March 21, 2017
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.