Marvel’s Iron Fist: NetFlix Casting Dogged by Controversy

Daredevil‘s gotten rave reviews. Same with Jessica Jones. The upcoming Luke Cage series looks to flex as yet another win for Netflix even though it’s still months away. So why’s Iron Fist having a hard time getting out of the dojo?

Rumors of cancellation have been swirling for months by fans who hadn’t heard a whiff of incense from Netflix and Marvel about the series. There was even talk that a Punisher series would replace it. Finally, Jeph Loeb, head of Marvel Television, addressed the issue:

“There was a lot of speculation about what was going on with “Iron Fist,” because [fans] hadn’t heard anything about it, but there’s never been any change at all.

We knew exactly what we were doing at Marvel and at Netflix. Let’s get “Jess” out there, everybody knows that “Luke Cage” is up and going. What I can say right now is, we’re very excited about “Iron Fist,” and the short answer is, yes there’ll be news.”

Loeb’s statement has definitely been prophetic. Since then, several news bits have finally streamed out. Scott Buck, who served as a producer on excellent shows like Six Feet Under and Rome, and was the showrunner for the last three seasons of Dexter (aka, the shitty seasons), looks as though he’ll be the showrunner for the Iron Fist. Even better, casting call for two characters for the show have leaked. The roles are:

DYLAN KENDALL – 25 – 28 yrs old Handsome and sophisticated, independent and a loner. SERIES REGULAR

HARRY MARSHALL – 45 – 50 yrs old Caucasian, highly intelligent, merciless, confident and arrogant, physically active. SERIES REGULAR

It’s speculated that Dylan Kendall is actually Daniel Rand, the alter ego of Iron Fist. As long-time readers of the Power Man & Iron Fist comic books know, Rand is an American who dwelled in the mystical city of K’un-L’un. There he received his martial arts training and the ability to concentrate his chi, or body energy, into the mystical “iron fist.” With it, he could strike down brick walls and even super-humans. Other abilities with the iron fist include healing injuries and even curing cancer.

Power_Man_and_Iron_Fist_Vol_1_61

The role of Harry Marshall is more difficult to place. Speculation is that the character is Harold Meachum, whom in the comic books helped kill Rand’s parents. The character could also be the Iron Fist’s villain, Steel Serpent. There’s even thought that Marshall could be the prior Iron Fist before Rand took on the role! If this last theory proves to be true, Marshall could be a mentor to Rand.

While the series’ eventual showing on Netflix is now a given, who’ll be playing the mystical martial artist is still up in the air. This has provoked the current controversy of Iron Fist’s ethnicity. In the comics, Rand is a blond hair, blue-eyed American. There has been a push for the television character to be portrayed by an Asian-American. (THR – Why Iron Fist Should be Asian-American) The reasons range from yet another white man appropriating a non-white’s culture (think John Wayne as Genghis Khan in the movie, The Conqueror) to attracting Asian viewers to the show. We know that at one point Marvel was at least considering the idea. While the current thought is Iron Fist will stay true to comic book’s Caucasian origin, it definitely stirred debate among fans of the various Netflix series.

Are you a fan of Iron Fist? Any thoughts on his ethnicity in the upcoming Netflix series? Note there’s no announcement yet when show goes live. As you wait, check out our other posts here on Grizzly Bomb about Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage.


Images: Marvel Comics, Augusto Venturi

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