‘Iron Fist’ Showrunner & Cast Respond To The White Savior Backlash

Iron Fist Marvel Comics

With Iron Fist set to debut on Netflix this Friday, the controversy surrounding the series has arguably been heightened by series lead Finn Jones’ response to the show’s negative reviews. Initially cast as Danny Rand in early 2016, a considerable number of fans called the casting decision a missed opportunity to cast an Asian actor in the lead role and address or add new dimension to the controversial “white savior” components of the character’s origin story. In an interview with the Daily Beast, stars Finn Jones and Jessica Henwick and showrunner Scott Buck responded the controversy.

Jones expressed his support for diversity in television and explained that Iron Fist will address these issues.

“I am the first to stand up for more diversity in television shows, especially when it comes to Asian actors. I get that and I stand up for it. But I think people will find that what we’re doing with the show addresses those issues intentionally. We actually talk about those issues and we try to address them, rather than just being the white savior and coming in and going, ‘Oh, Danny’s gonna take care of everything!’”

Jones revealed that one of the key locations from the Marvel world and Iron Fist comics was altered.

“What you may not know about K’un-Lun yet is that in our version of the story, K’un-Lun isn’t predominantly an Asian culture. K’un-Lun is a diverse place with people from all over the world—South America, Europe, Asians, and Caucasian people all reside in this place.”

Showrunner Scott Buck explained the reason behind the decision.

“It’s a celestial city that exists in another dimension and because of that there’s nothing that we felt made it specifically Chinese or Tibetan. We certainly modeled it after Tibetan monasteries, but it felt like we just naturally wanted to open it up to make it a little more diverse just because it gives us a lot more options in writing about it, I believe.”

Buck commented on the decision to cast Finn Jones as the title character.

“To me it was just about finding the best actor for that. It wasn’t until after we cast Finn that I became aware that there had been, you know, some controversy over that.”

Jessica Henwick, who plays martial artist Colleen Wing, expressed her support for Jones while recounting her own experiences as an Asian actress.

“I am Asian and I am an actor. If anyone understands, it’s me. I have faced it in my career. I’ve been working eight years and I’ve experienced it firsthand, the disparity when it comes to Asian representation—even more than that, Asian misrepresentation. But I also have seen what Finn’s done in this role and I honestly, honestly think that he smashes it out the park.”

Jones expressed his hope for the series once fans can finally watch it.

“I really think the show is gonna, hopefully, transcend all of the noise that is out there at the moment. Because that was the intention. The intention was never to create something that didn’t represent people, that didn’t represent cultures.”

Personally, the decision to alter K’un-Lun in attempt to make it ‘more diverse’ feels like an attempt to dodge the issue. While fans can try to keep an open mind before the series is released, for many, the response to the controversy by the show’s stars and creators is making it difficult.

Iron Fist will be released on Netflix on March 17, 2017.

Source: The Daily Beast

Sebastian Peris

Sebastian Peris

Canadian film buff, political junkie, comic book geek, and board game enthusiast.