For the past few years, Marvel fans developed a ritual: watch the clock strike midnight, sign into Netflix and start a binge-a-thon for the latest Netflix/Marvel series. In 2013, it was Daredevil, followed by Jessica Jones (2015), Daredevil’s season 2 (2015) and Luke Cage (2016). But not everyone will be tuning when Marvel’s Iron Fist is made available to the public tonight.
When Marvel announced that it would be crafting an Iron Fist series, many advocated for them to hire an Asian-American actor to fulfill the role of Danny Rand, who is originally white in the comics. This argument came about from die-hard fans and newbies alike for four reasons. 1). When Iron Fist premiered in 1974, martial arts fetishism was at its peak which often led to white creators appropriating the art form and placing themselves at the center. Recasting Danny Rand as an Asian-American actor would be a step in the right direction to rectify that. 2). Marvel has yet to introduce an Asian superhero in its cinematic universe. 3). It wouldn’t change the character since an Asian-American hero would still have an “outsider” feel to the world Rand is introduced to. Nothing else about Danny Rand would require him to be white. 4). Asian actors are rarely found on film/TV and this would have been another chance for Hollywood executives to work to change that. The New York Times reported that “more than half of film, television and streaming properties feature zero named or speaking Asian characters” despite Asians making up 5.4 percent of the United States population. In 2014, “only 1.4 percent of lead characters in a sample of studio films” were Asian, the article further stated.
This case was made on Twitter (#AAIronFist) and on several news outlets including The Nerds of Color and ComicsAlliance. But nonetheless, Marvel hired Finn Jones, a white actor, to play the suave, funny and rich martial arts master. Thus, boycott. It probably doesn’t help that the series has been lauded with bad reviews by several news outlets as well.
But luckily for disappointed comic book fans, there are plenty of Asian heroes found within South Korean dramas that often feature complex kickass heroes who can handle bad guys with their fists, guns, or whatever else happens to be nearby. Similar to Marvel’s series, these shows are filled with guts, heart and a story to keep you hooked throughout the entire show. So, if you’re looking for a show with an entire Asian cast to watch this weekend, look no further. Here are 7 Asian-Led Shows to Binge if You’re Boycotting ‘Marvel’s Iron Fist’. (And most of them can be watched for free!)
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