Lewis Tan Wanted To Be ‘Iron Fist’, Not The Villain

Lewis Tan

To many actors, landing the role of a big bad in a huge franchise such as Marvel’s would be good enough, but not Lewis Tan. The actor and martial artist is happy with his role in Marvel’s Iron Fist, but he really wanted the title role.

Tan’s not the only person who’s expressed his desire for an Asian actor to take on the role of Iron Fist, especially since the character’s origin is based so deeply in Asian culture. Rightfully, Tan’s been advocating for Asian actors to get the main roles in projects for a long time now, explaining that typically they get the role of a computer geek or a ninja. He’s not wrong. Here’s what Tan said in a recent interview with His Style Diary.

“The thing is, I want to be the lead, the hero, the love interest character,” Tan said. “I know kung fu, I’ve been doing martial arts for 15 years, and I love it. But I think there are these expectations. These are the roles they are comfortable with Asians doing. They aren’t comfortable in seeing you in lead roles– the ones I want.”

The role of Danny Rand, otherwise known as Iron Fist, obviously went to Game of Thrones actor Finn Jones – who just unveiled the first trailer for the show at New York Comic Con. Jones then brought the co-stars of The Defenders on stage with him, where it was announced that none other than Sigourney Weaver will be the villain in the mini-series!

Iron Fist lands on Netflix on March 17, 2017.

Adam Fitch

Adam Fitch

An English bloke with love for all things comics.

  • Bill

    That’d never happen with Marvel. They would prefer no asians in their movies at all

    • gradybridges

      And where are they in DC movies? the silent sword chick in SS was lame.

      This =guy may not want to say he wanted to play the lead after it’s been shot be a pro

      • Matches Malone

        First off DC/WB really has nothing but to do with this conversation, but since you brought it up:

        Katana was pretty badass in Suicide Squad and was realistically one of the teams most powerful and effective characters. IMHO it was actually a bold move to have and Asian female as the “muscle” to protect Flagg and Waller.

        Katana also had as many, or more, lines as any of the supporting SS membership; I guess just don’t have a problem with a Japanese character speaking Japanese.

        As far as Iron Fist goes I don’t know why there was an assumption that they would change his ethnicity. I am not remotely a “caucasian male”, but I truly don’t understand why so many have been so upset with this project. If anything the casting of the “Ancient One” in Doctor Strange and the fact they haven’t developed characters like Shang Chi or created new Asian characters to showcase is a legitimate gripe IMHO.

      • Bernard Angelo Belleza

        at least there’s a part for an asian girl in a DC movie. Screen time was minimal, yes, but it’s a leading part, not a supporting part. It’s an ensemble movie, hence the SQUAD in SUICIDE SQUAD, so every character was treated as a lead,regardless of the screentime they had with the movie.. What about Marvel?was there any asian characters they’ve featured that is not a side character (e.g. Helen Cho)?They’re even effin afraid to make THE MANDARIN asian for f*cks sake.

      • Monty

        Mercy Graves as well.

    • DefJ123

      This isn’t article on movies, this is on a TV series?

      Besides AoS has the [email protected]$$ Agent May, and she’s Asian 😀

      • Justin Jules

        Chloe Bennett is half Asian her real name is Chloe Wang.

        • DefJ123

          A point I always seem to forget, thanks for reminder! 😀

    • Hogun the Grim in the Thor movies.

      Melinda May and Skye on Agents of SHIELD.

      The Hand and Madame Gao in Daredevil.

      The extra scenes shot for China in Iron Man 3.


  • unpaidpundit

    Hollywood should adapt Lian Hearn’s marvelous fantasy novels, “Tales of the Otori,” which would feature many roles for Asians. “Tales of the Otori” takes place in a fantasy world much like feudal Japan.

  • Kikaida

    I would have preferred an Asian American play Danny Rand. As an Asian I’d like to see more Asians play lead roles. I’m definitely still watching Iron Fist. Maybe we’ll get a Shang Chi in the future.