When it was announced that Marvel—who had already received a very public backlash by casting the white European Tilda Swinton as the canonically Tibetan Ancient One in Doctor Strange—had cast Game of Thrones‘ Finn Jones to play Danny Rand, the lead in Marvel’s Iron Fist, a show about a martial artist blessed with a magical One Punch, the news was met with everything from “meh, I guess” to “It Actually Really, Really Sucks That TV’s Iron Fist Is White.”
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Hollywood has an Asian-American problem. That is, they refuse to consider hiring Asian American actors where it would make sense (or even when the source material calls for it!)
Many saw Marvel’s Iron Fist as an opportunity for Marvel to break the stale mold of white male leads and add some diversity to their line-up.
Instead, we got this.
Last weekend, after Jones got into a Twitter spat with Asyiqin Haron, creative director of Geeks of Color, and author of the article, “Why Danny Rand Should Be Asian-American,” over the concept of race and diversity in Hollywood (Jones attempted to Damonsplain diversity to Haron, an Asian woman), the Internet’s ire for Iron Fist‘s casting choice seemingly grew, and it appeared less likely that Iron Fist would be breaking Netflix like its Marvellian predecessor, Luke Cage.
Now, early reviews have been pouring in and with a 0% score on Rotten Tomatoes, it looks like not even a white savior can rescue this show.
So, if you’re like me and you really don’t care to see a re-enactment of the first season of Arrow and are searching for a reason to care about Marvel’s latest in the face of all the negative publicity, I’ve got five reasons why I plan on watching Marvel’s Iron Fist — and why you should, too.
1. Colleen Wing
Played by Jessica Henwick, Colleen Wing is a master samurai living in New York City approached by Danny Rand for… some reason. Idk. I’m just guessing here.
In the comics, Colleen goes on to form a detective duo with Luke Cage‘s Misty Knight called Daughters of the Dragon.
Early reviews admit that while Hong Blonde Phooey sort of muddles through his purpose, Henwick’s performance is one of the show’s highlights. If Jesus loves us, there’ll be a director’s cut where we watch Colleen get stuff done and Danny Bland never shows up onscreen.
2. Claire Temple
That’s right. Claire motherfrakkin’ Temple, the night nurse so cosmically unbothered by death, she appears in all four seasons of every Marvel/Netflix venture to date, showing up to help our heroes and give unrelenting side-eye while doing so.
Now she’s back, grabbing the final piece in The Defenders puzzle before bringing them all together to save New York City from Sigourney Weaver (more on that later.)
Listen, I’d wait in a two-hour line and pay for premium seating to watch Rosario Dawson read the phone book, so if I have to sit through thirteen episodes of this Shanghai-way robbery train wreck to find the six episodes where she shows up, then so be it.
3. Lewis Tan
Tan originally auditioned to play Danny Rand but was rejected, instead being chosen as Iron Fist’s nemesis, Zhou Cheng.
Here, I offer evidence why that was a poor choice:
The defense rests.
4. The Defenders
Look, I’ve been with Marvel from the beginning. I went to the Phase One six-movie marathon, trapping myself in a theatre full of nerds that hadn’t showered since the week prior just to be the first to watch The Avengers. Whether it’s a cinematic masterpiece a la Winter Soldier or a Thor 2-level filler, my butt is in that seat.
Why? Because what I like more than shared universes and superhero team-ups is NOT missing references to previous films!
The Defenders has Krysten Ritter, Rosario Dawson, Mike Colter, Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, the guy who plays Foggy, Simone Missick, and of course, Sigourney as the show’s villain, Alexandra.
It’s going to be a phenomenal eight-episode crossover and—again, not hyperbole—I will positively absolutely just die if there were some scene in Iron Fist that laid the background for a plot point and I missed it because I allowed the Narrow-ass Ninja to rain on my nerd parade.
5. I’ll be reviewing it
I’m right there with you, Claire.
Full disclosure, I asked to review this show long before I knew who the lead would be. Iron Fist was the show about which I knew very little, but, again, it was Marvel property, so I planted my flag on it, and Sir Windley does NOT break his promises*.
So if you enjoy how much snark I put into my reviews for The Flash, just imagine how much fun I’ll be having here.
I’ll also likely be live-tweeting, although I’m not great at multitasking while watching TV, so I make no promises.
*unless it’s, like, super inconvenient.
Marvel’s Iron Fist premieres Friday, March 17th on Netflix.
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