For those who aren’t as deep into the nerd space as others, Netflix is preparing to release a new Marvel series later this month based on the character of Iron Fist. According to the source material, Iron Fist is about a young man named Danny Rand who travels to a fictional Asian country, learns their sacred martial arts and somehow becomes the best at them, then comes back to the United States to fight evil and corruption.
So, what’s the problem here? Well, Danny Rand is white and that doesn’t sit well with a lot of fans.
When it was announced that the show was being created, a campaign was started to encourage Marvel to cast an Asian or Asian-American actor in the lead role. It was viewed as an opportunity to add more much needed diversity to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and highlight some new talent. Instead, Marvel cast a white actor from Game of Thrones named Finn Jones.
The choice to cast Jones has played a role in the buzz leading up to the release of Iron Fist being somewhat quiet compared to the three series that preceded it – Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage.
Jones has directly come under scrutiny for taking the role and his performance will likely be put under a microscope as a result of it. But it looks like he may not have known that given his recent actions.
Jones recently deleted – and has since re-opened – his Twitter after he was the target of questions from scores of users after sharing a video showing a speech from actor Riz Ahmed at the House of Commons of the United Kingdom on the importance of representation. [Oh, the irony!]
representation is important. and here's why. https://t.co/w4rVuPtyrH
— Finn Jones (@FinnJones) March 5, 2017
Finn then made the mistake many celebrities have made and will continue to make by jumping into a debate he wasn’t ready for.
He initially asked that fans not make any presumptions about Iron Fist before its release and said that the show did a lot of work to properly represent “actors from all different backgrounds.” Eventually, enough was enough and his Twitter account was nowhere to be found.
He then released the following statement exclusively to Deadline:
There is a huge benefit to engage and help shape conversations on social media, especially when it comes to giving a voice to social matters. My original intention was to amplify a speech made by Riz Ahmed at the House of Commons. It was a very articulate and important speech on representation that I wholly agreed with. After posting I was inundated by people accusing me of not being allowed to share his voice based on an assumption that our show is going to play into the problems of racial inequality on screen. I engaged politely, diplomatically and attempted to bridge the divide. I’m currently in the middle of filming and I need to stay focused on bringing to life this character without judgment, so I decided to remove myself from twitter for the time being.
I am very proud of the work everyone has done on this series and I’m excited for people to see how we’ve adapted the story. We have gone to great lengths to represent a diverse cast with an intelligent, socially progressive storyline. I hope people can watch the show before making judgments. In times, as divisive as these, we need to stay unified, compassionate and understanding in our differences.
The first 13-episode season of Iron Fist will be released on Netflix on March 17 and is the latest installment before Jones joins the respective leads from Marvel’s other Netflix series in The Defenders.