For Marvel fans, the controversy surrounding Netflix's take on Iron Fist is one that has been heard around the world. The ordeal all began when news broke that Finn Jones had been cast to play Danny Rand, the man behind Iron Fist's yellow mask. The casting choice was met with mixed reviews as many fans had wanted Marvel to retcon Rand in the series and make him Asian-American. For critics, the choice to retain a white Iron Fist gave subtle credence to cultural appropriation and even whitewashing aesthetics for some camps.
Since Iron Fist debuted, fans have continued to argue about the show's casting decisions, but there is one person who does not get all the hubbub. In a recent interview with The Inverse, the co-creator of Iron Fist was asked about the show's sensitive controversy, and Roy Thomas said he did not see a need to look so deeply into the issue.
"Yeah, someone made me vaguely aware of that," Thomas said. "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. 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."
Continuing, Thomas admitted many characters created decades ago were products of their time and often reflected culturally insensitive traits. The co-creator said it would be simple enough to make change to existing heroes, but fans may just find it easier to create whole new characters that fit modern values.
"I just think some people have too much time on their hands, I guess," Thomas said. "They have an infinite capacity for righteous indignation. By and large, that tends to be misplaced quite often because if you're becoming all upset over things that are just stories, and if you don't like it, instead of trying to change somebody else's story, go out and make up your own character and do a good job of it. That's just fine, but why waste time trying to run down other people's characters simply because they weren't created with your standards in mind?"
"Now if something is really racist or degrading to a sex or race, an ethnic group or something like that, that's something else, but Iron Fist isn't that and never has been. It's all about a fictitious race, a fictitious place like a Shangri-La, and one person who happens to be its emissary. There's no reason why he can't be Caucasian."
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.