Martial arts-based entertainment often finds itself been front and center in the popular consciousness, so when Marvel’s “Iron Fist” was announced, it captured the attention of comic fans and casual TV viewers alike. To the uninitiated, it was a chance to explore a world of magical kung fu and how it tied into the rest of the Marvel Netflix shows, while for Iron Fist fans, it was an opportunity to see their favorite fictional martial artist finally be depicted on screen.
From the start, however, controversy swirled around the series. Many people were not happy with the casting of Iron Fist, thinking Finn Jones ought not to be the Immortal Iron Fist, feeling someone of Asian descent should play the character instead. However, “Into The Badlands” star Daniel Wu was not one of them.
AMC’s “Into The Badlands” quickly developed a strong cult following when it debuted in 2015, thanks both to its exemplary fight sequences and Shakespearean-level drama, along with Wu’s captivating performance as lead character, Sunny. A highly skilled warrior, Wu’s character struggles with leaving his horror show of a life, while simultaneously mentoring young M.K., a teenage boy with latent superhuman power.
In a recent interview with Screen Anarchy to promote the next season of his own series, the actor weighed in on the Iron Fist controversy. “I think that’s people going a little too precocious on that because originally the character was written white – it wasn’t like it was a whitewashing thing,” Wu said. “It’s not like you are talking about a ‘Ghost in the Shell issue,’ right? And I still don’t actually buy the ‘Ghost in the Shell’ whitewashing issue either, and I certainly don’t buy into the cultural appropriation bullshit because that’s saying that ‘only Asians are allowed to do martial arts’ then that means only black people can play basketball and rap? That means Jeremy Lin shouldn’t be playing basketball? And Eminem shouldn’t be rapping? That’s bullshit, you know.
“So I know Asian Americans are angry, but they should calm down and choose the correct fight in that case,” Wu continued. “I agree that Marvel missed the chance of doing something interesting and casting against the race – they could have done that – and that would have given them some credit, but they didn’t, so what are you going to do about it? I think the important thing is that everyone learned a lesson from that – including people that weren’t involved, so I think we just need to move forward, that’s all.”
“Iron Fist” debuted on Netflix on March and is a production of Marvel Television developed by Scott Buck and starring Finn Jones as Daniel Rand, Jessica Henwick as Colleen Wing, Jessica Stroup as Joy Meachum, David Wenham as Harold Meachum and Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple.
“Into The Badlands” returned to AMC on March 19. It stars Daniel Wu, Aramis Knight, and Emily Beecham. It will run for 10 episodes, with a new episode every Sunday at 10/9c.