When Marvel Television announced they were partnering with Netflix to create an Iron Fist series, fans were exited to learn of Danny Rand’s on-screen debut. The martial arts superhero may be lesser known than the heavyweight Avengers, but the character does boast his own fanbase. However, plenty of fans worried how the show would rectify the hero’s comics and retcon years of cringe-worthy cultural appropriation.
And, now, Finn Jones is telling those fans they should wait before they hastily pass judgement.
ComicBook.com’s Kofi Outlaw attended a roundtable Q&A with Jones at New York Comic Con where the actor talked about those fans and their concerns. Jones said many people assume Iron Fist will freely appropriate elements of eastern culture, but he also said those people hadn’t actually seen the show.
“What I would say to that is, people should wait, and watch the show before they pass judgment,” he said. “We're working with Netflix and Marvel, two of the most leading entertainment companies in the world right now. They know exactly what they're doing.”
“The comic books were written in the '70s. 1970s was a very different world to 2016, and we're going to reflect that. 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.”
Of course, there are fans who would disagree with Jones’ words. Over the years, Marvel Studios has come under increasing pressure to diversify its line-ups on-scree and in the comics. While progress has been more apparent in comics, fans still bemoan Marvel’s lack of diverse film and television stars. Many of those viewers are ones who spoke out against Jones being cast as Danny Rand since they had hoped Marvel Television might take a risk and retcon Iron Fist’s ethnicity.
After all, Danny Rand was a product of the 1970s when cultural sensitivities weren’t discussed openly. There are comic book fans who lump Iron Fist together with series such as The Karate Kid since both franchises see a white guy enter eastern culture, learn from it, and then become more attuned to it than natives.
While casting Jones as Danny Rand certainly suits the original character, fans had hoped Marvel Television would the hero entirely. However, the actor wants fans to know that the cast and crew behind Iron Fist are definitely aware of those concerns. For instance, the series cast Jessica Henwick to play Colleen Wing - one of Iron Fist’s closest allies. The actress is of Singaporean-Chinese descent, making her more than compatible to play one of Marvel’s notable Asian heroes.
In Marvel’s Iron Fist, Danny Rand returns to New York City after being missing for years, trying to reconnect with his past and his family legacy. He fights against the criminal element corrupting his world around him with his incredible kung-fu mastery and ability to summon the awesome power of the fiery Iron Fist.
Daredevil Seasons 1 and 2, Jessica Jones Season 1, and Luke Cage Season 1 are all available on Netflix. Iron Fist will premiere on March 17, 2017 with The Defenders expected later in the year. The Punisher does not have a release date yet.