As expected, there has been a lot of uproar online ever since it was announced that Finn Jones would be playing “Iron Fist” lead, Danny Rand. While the character has generally been white in the comics, many were hoping that Marvel might cast a person of color in the role. That turned out not to be the case, despite some strong rumors to the contrary at one point. Perhaps those rumors of Asian actors being auditioned for a part weren’t for Iron Fist himself though?
According to both MCU Exchange and The Hashtag Show, as well as our own sources, “Master of Kung-Fu” Shang-Chi will be appearing on the series as well. Reportedly only actors of Asian descent are being seen for the role, which is a no-brainer, considering the character is Asian in the comics. Their reports also go on to say that Shang-Chi was added after the controversy of a white actor being cast as Iron Fist, but we can dispel that.
While I’m sure Shang-Chi’s addition made sense both narratively AND to help curb the inevitable controversy when a white actor was cast (which I’m told was always the intention), he has been a part of the series’ plans for quite awhile. Prep work has been going strong for months now, with scripts being written and the logistics of it all (particularly martial arts training) being worked out. You can’t just toss a main character into the mix at the last minute out of sheer reaction to online uproar. Well, you can, but it’d be ill-advised. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if the role is being beefed up now, in the face of controversy.
Now comes the fun part: exactly how many heroes will be showcased in the eventual miniseries culmination of these Netflix shows: “The Defenders”? Sure, we know for a fact that the team will at least be comprised of Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Coulter), and Iron Fist (Finn Jones). Will it also contain the other heroes that have been or will be introduced by then? Will Shang-Chi and Misty Knight (Simone Missick) get in on the action? Might The Punisher (Jon Bernthal) fight alongside them as well? Could Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor) embrace her destiny as Hellcat in time for the event series? Suddenly a small corner of the Marvel universe set within New York City has become rather big.
“Iron Fist” is slated to begin production later this year, presumably ahead of a debut on Netflix in late 2016 or early 2017.