Marvel fans have been holding the company to the fire to encourage diversity in race, gender, and sexuality. When you look at the upcoming MCU properties, you can see some responses to those demands, with Luke Cage bringing us a cast and story that honors a traditionally African-American community, The Black Panther bringing us an African warrior, Jessica Jones winning awards for her portrayal of a female super-hero, and so many more. However, when it comes to the Asian community, it feels like Marvel is still coming up short.
Before it was announced that Finn Jones would be playing Danny Rand, there was a campaign from fans to cast an actor for the part who was Asian. This disappointment was doubled when fans learned that Tilda Swinton would be portraying the Ancient One in Doctor Strange, a character that was actually Asian in most of the comics. Now that Jones is finished filming, and had a chance to talk to the press at New York Comic Con, he told Comicbook.com that fans need to wait to pass judgment on the decision of his casting.
“What I would say to that is, people should wait, and watch the show before they pass judgment,” he said. “We’re working with Netflix and Marvel, two of the most leading entertainment companies in the world right now. They know exactly what they’re doing.”
While it feels safe to know that the story is safe in the hands of Netflix and Marvel, it is an old story, one that originated in the ’70’s, when there was a less public outcry over the marginalization of some cultures.
“The comic books were written in the ’70s. 1970s was a very different world to 2016, and we’re going to reflect that. We have an incredibly diverse cast; incredibly talented. What I would say to that is, wait until you’ve seen the show, and then pass judgment, before you make comment, because people will be very, very, very pleasantly surprised with what we’re doing in the show.”
Luke Cage definitely took one of those characters from the ’70s and created a very modern story which has already been embraced by critics, and (importantly) members of the community that the show had hoped to represent. While Marvel still struggles in some areas (An audience member at the Marvel Unlimited Plus panel of New York Comic Con pointed out that the speakers were all white men) they appear to be aware, and hopefully, awareness will lead to change.
From the little bit that fans have gotten to see of Jones, he appears to be bringing the traditional version of Danny Rand to life in a wonderful way. I sincerely hope that the appropriation of the eastern culture that is sure to come with this story is done in a way that can lead to more roles for Asian actors, but not only those that involve martial arts and meditation. What do you think of this issue? Let me know in the comments!