"Iron Fist" has been mired in controversy since its very beginning, but not everyone knew that. According to executive producer Scott Buck, he didn't become aware of it until after he and Marvel had cast "Game of Thrones" star Finn Jones in the lead role.
"It wasn’t until after we cast Finn that I became aware that there had been, you know, some controversy over that," Buck told The Daily Beast. "We just weren’t thinking in that way, at least I certainly wasn’t. I was just concentrating on the story and who would be a great actor to play this character." Nevertheless, the report claims that Marvel and Netflix considered a potential Asian-American lead for the role.
“I understood where it was coming from, but we just weren’t thinking in that way," he added. "At least, I certainly wasn’t. I was just concentrating on the story and who would be a great actor to play this character.”
“For me at least, that was part of the reason I wanted to make Colleen such a strong character, because here we do have an Asian lead who is a martial arts expert and is every bit the match for Danny Rand. Even without that added pressure, I would have done the same thing because it was a character I found really compelling and fascinating,” he concluded.
Casting Finn Jones as the titular Iron Fist, otherwise known as Danny Rand, has proven controversial. While he is white in the comics, many called for Netflix and Marvel to cast an Asian-American actor in the title role to avoid a problematic white savior narrative. Jones has also defended the choice, urging people to watch the show before judging it.
However, early reviews of "Iron Fist" are overwhelmingly negative. Critics have focused on the show’s boring story and characters as well as its problematic portrayal of Asian and Asian-American cultures, though there has been praise for Asian-British actress Jessica Henwick’s work as Colleen Wing.
This controversy with "Iron Fist" isn’t the first time Marvel has come under fire for its casting choices. "Doctor Strange" also encountered a similar problem when it was announced that Tilda Swinton would play the Ancient One. Originally, the Ancient One was an elderly Tibetan man; however, the movie changed the character to have a Celtic origin. Unlike "Iron Fist," though, "Doctor Strange" received much critical acclaim.
Created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane in 1974, Danny Rand first appeared in "Marvel Premiere" #15 with fellow Defender Luke Cage as a master of martial arts known as the Iron Fist. When creating the character, Thomas and Kane drew inspiration from kung fu movies, which were growing in popularity at the time. The TV series follows Danny Rand’s return to New York after having been missing for 15 years.
Debuting on Netflix on March 17, “Iron Fist” 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.