Rise of The Iron Fist
After months of speculation, Iron Fist has been cast, and like all Marvel Studios casting decisions, it’s not someone we expected (unless you were expecting someone who wasn’t a white dude). Yes, an actor has finally been assigned to bring Danny Rand to life, and that actor is Finn Jones. Better known to Game of Thrones fans as Ser Loras Tyrell, Jones is definitely a choice that I wasn’t expecting, and while I’m not sure about this casting (I’ve only seen him in GoT), the fact that this confirms that Iron Fist is still happening is a welcome sign.
But of course, the casting of Iron Fist comes at a price, and that’s the fact that many of the Marvel fans who were hoping for an Asian-American actor to take the role are left wanting. The idea of changing Rand into an Asian American who’s lost touch with his roots is a pretty great idea, and at the risk of offending the few Iron Fist die-hards out there, Iron Fist isn’t that popular of a character, so changing him really isn’t that big of a deal. Think of Michael Clark Duncan’s Kingpin, or even the most recent example of Will Smith playing Deadshot in Suicide Squad. Swapping a character’s race isn’t a huge deal, despite what comic fans think. If they’ve got a good take on the character, then it shouldn’t matter what they look like.
When it comes to Finn, however, there have been reports that Finn blew them away with his audition, and it should be noted that at no point in the Iron Fist story is Danny Rand labeled as the “ultimate Iron Fist”. He’s merely the latest in a long line of Iron Fists, vessels that have ranged from ancient samurai warriors to badass female pirates, and it’s my hope that the upcoming Netflix series touches on this fact. Sure, it’s not the same as casting an Asian actor as Rand, but at least it would help reinforce the fact that the Iron Fist can be anyone, regardless of race or gender (even though the show runners probably won’t showcase any of them). Hell, maybe they even set up an apprentice for Rand who will take over for him at some point.
Speaking of the different incarnations of Iron Fist, that brings me to my other hope for the show: the use of Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker’s Immortal Iron Fist. Now I’ll be the first to admit that I was VERY late to the party reading this, but when I did finally check it out I have to say, there’s no better way to introduce Iron Fist to the world than by using this series as a framework. In a nutshell, Immortal Iron Fist centers on the legacy of the Iron Fist, and how the man who was Iron Fist before Danny (named Orson Randall) turned his back on the city of K’un Lun. It’s an interesting look into what it’s like to be the Iron Fist, and how much pressure it puts on the bearer. Plus the run showcases special issues that put the spotlight on past Iron Fists, which would provide the showcase for the legacy of the living weapon that I mentioned earlier.
Marvel, despite casting Finn Jones over someone with an Asian background, has the opportunity to bring about at least SOME more diversity into the MCU with Iron Fist. They’re a pretty smart company, and hopefully are listening to the disappointed fans and are working on bringing in some much needed new faces to their properties. Hell, maybe they’ll work in Shang-Chi to the show and spin him off. Whatever they decide, we have Iron Fist coming, and hopefully Marvel will do the rest of the city of K’un Lun proud.