Marvel won’t be going with an Asian-American actor for the role of Danny Rand in the Iron Fist series. It’s been confirmed that British actor Finn Jones of Game of Thrones fame has landed the part.
This isn’t entirely surprising, the character in the comics is white. There was a large campaign to have Asian actors looked at for the role. Marvel did have a bunch of Asian actors meet for the role and they ultimately went with Jones instead.
What we can take away from this is that fans really want to see an Asian superhero leading one of these Marvel/Netflix series. There’s one major street level hero that we should all be pushing Marvel to develop next, and that is Shang-Chi Master of Kung Fu.
Shang-Chi, was originally the first western created martial arts comic book hero and was published in 1973. He was highly influenced by the Shaw Brothers, Bruce Lee, and other exploitation movies of the the 1970’s.
Son and nemesis of the infamous Fu Manchu, Shang-Chi is a master martial artist who uses his exceptional skills to fight against injustice.
Marvel tried to develop a Shang-Chi movie for years. Directors such as Oscar winner Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Life of Pi, Hulk) and Blade‘s Stephen Norrington both attempted to adapt the comic, but those projects never came together.
Neftlix is an excellent platform for a Asian-led series like this considering the respectful care they took with projects like Marco Polo and their Hidden Dragon sequel. He would also be the perfect character to hire an Asian-American actor to portray.
It’s hard to pin-point exactly who should play the Shang-Chi role, but suggesting Rick Yune for it is an easy call.
Rick already has a working relationship with Netflix due to his supporting role in Marco Polo. Not to mention, his action movie career with credits that include Fast and The Furious, Die Another Day, Olympus Has Fallen, and Ninja Assassin. His other television work includes appearances on shows like CSI, Alias, and Hawaii Five-O.
I’m in agreement that Marvel should be strongly consider more diverse projects, and giving Shang-Chi a shot would be a nice parallel to what Marvel TV has started to do with Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. I wouldn’t be terribly shocked if they end-up introducing the character in Iron Fist or Defenders, as he’d make an excellent addition to the street level hero lineup.
Should Marvel make a Shang-Chi series next?
Who should they cast to play him?