Is ‘Iron Fist’ Whitewashing? Finn Jones Takes A Firm Stance

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Our first look at Danny Rand's chest branded from battle with the Shou-Lao dragon.
Our first look at Danny Rand's chest branded from battle with the Shou-Lao dragon. Marvel

The first real Iron Fist trailer was met with more memes than anything else. Quite a shame for such an awesome comic book character and the last of Marvel’s Defenders. But the backlash comes correct. While Danny Rand is white in the comics, it’s hard to deny the color of his skin feels a bit out of place in a story rich with Kung-Fu and martial artists, the Chinese mystical city of Ku’n-Lun and a far-reaching culture people of the West tend to know little about.

But, then again -- that exact premise is the story of Danny Rand. A white boy whose parents are dead, who was abandoned in a mysterious land, who felt and feels out of place, and is learning how to cope and find himself. Perhaps if his character didn’t sit in a library full of other culturally-appropriated Marvel characters, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. But we are, because the trailers felt just as weird as the Great Wall with Matt Damon -- and undeniably awkward feeling of -- why? Did they just… really? How can ya’ll not be tired of the white savior thing already?

The memes started the moment Finn Jones pronounced ‘Kun-Lun’ and haven’t stopped since. But with Iron Fist’s March 17 release date quickly approaching, Finn Jones has finally come forward and spoken on the matter.

“You know, here is what I’m going to say about it. I get where that frustration comes from. I get the need for diversity and equality in television and film… well, actually in every aspect of life,” Jones told Buzzfeed. “Right now we live in a culture and a world where we are very unequal in politics, in economics, and in culture. We are being fucked over massively by the top dudes. I stand up for people, I stand up for people across all borders.

“Danny Rand is not a white savior. Danny Rand can hardly save himself, let alone an entire race of people,” Jones continued. “He is a very complicated, vulnerable individual. He doesn’t just show up, like, ‘Hey dudes, I’ve just learned martial arts! I’m going to save the world.’Actually, it’s the complete opposite. He’s gone through and suffered immense trauma and he is struggling to claim his own sanity and identity back.

“We are human beings on this planet, and we all individually have different attributes. We’re not stereotypes, and hopefully, that’s what the show does. Hopefully the show doesn’t — I don’t think it does — deal in stereotypes, which I think people are worried about,” he concluded.

It will ultimately be up to the fans to decide Iron Fist’s legacy come March 17. Iron Fist was created in the 70’s -- a much different world than today. Does that place responsibility on the Marvel casting directors of today, to fix their mistake? Or, do you leave the characters in place, and address those issues through narrative and storytelling -- for instance, by giving characters like Colleen Wing, played by Jessica Henwick, a role with more impact?

What’s your take? Let us know in the comments below.

Iron Fist
The Struggle Is Not Real
If you’re looking for shock value, Iron Fist does not have it. Netflix and Marvel have turned an interesting superhero into a basic bro.
  • Colleen Wing is a delight
  • The last four episodes are significantly more entertaining
  • Problematic character development
  • Lackadaisical fight scenes
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