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People Are Outraged That An Asian-American Isn't Playing Iron Fist

Update: Marvel has confirmed that Game of Thrones star Finn Jones will play the character.

Posted on February 25, 2016, at 10:01 p.m. ET

Soon after it was reported today that Game of Thrones actor Finn Jones will play the lead character in Netflix's upcoming series Iron Fist, some fans of the Marvel character took to Twitter in anger.

Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images

In the original Marvel comics, Iron Fist, whose real name is Danny Rand, is a white man who travels to a pseudo-Asian country. There, he learns kung fu, and after fighting off a dragon, he acquires the power of a mystical force known as the Iron Fist. It was a character created during the martial arts mania of the 1970s, and one that perpetuates Orientalism.

For months, many fans have called on Marvel and Netflix to modernize the comic's dated storyline and to cast an Asian-American actor as Iron Fist, prompting the hashtag #AAIronFist. A community of Asian-American activists called 18 Million Rising even launched a petition for the cause.

While some are pleased that the rumored casting is true to the original comics, many have expressed their disappointment.

Some pointed out Iron Fist's problematic roots.

iron fist's roots are in orientalism and that makes any casting complicated, but come on I feel like maybe you could have cast as asian dude

They acknowledged that Iron Fist is white in the comics.

By the way, WE KNOW IRON FIST'S WHITE IN THE COMICS. Know who else is? Nick Fury, Elektra, Heimdall, Aquaman, Jimmy Olsen... #AAIronFist

But mostly, people were upset an opportunity for an Asian-American actor to play a superhero went to a white actor.

Tomorrow, Iron Fist will be old news and you'll forget it. But you will have heroes on TV who look like you. And my 8-year-old nephew won't.

Iron Fist will be played by the whitest white dude. This was casting inevitable. Why did even I let myself believe otherwise?

You missed a huge opportunity, @Marvel. You cast a great actor, but you didn't cast the right actor. It hurts. #IronFist #AAIronFist

One Twitter user even pointed out that this has been a gripe of Asian-American Marvel fans since the '70s, when Iron Fist emerged in the comics.

@Wheeler From Marvel Premiere #17 (1974). Still relevant.

And Marvel Comics writer Marjorie Liu condemned the reported choice.

Iron Fist is an orientalist-white-man-yellow-fever narrative. Asian actor would have helped subvert that offensive trope, and reclaim space.

When reached by BuzzFeed News, neither a representative for Netflix nor Marvel Entertainment had a comment.


Finn Jones has been confirmed as the star of Netflix's Iron Fist.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.