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Whitewashing: Finn Jones Dishes on Controversy Over Danny Rand’s Race in ‘Iron Fist’

Iron Fist, Netflix

Race is a hot topic these days, with most people pulling the race card too early. It is no secret that in the past, Hollywood was guilty of whitewashing. I am sure that it still happens in some capacity today, but changes are happening. We just had a milestone at the Academy Awards the other night, when ‘Moonlight’ took top honors. The Academy has come under great scrutiny for being mostly white, old men,which changed this year. The results of the awards showed the effects of these changes. Change does not happen overnight, but it is happening. Now, Iron Fist is the latest project to come under scrutiny for its white main character.

One example of this is the Matt Damon-led film The Great Wall released the first trailer. There were a big group of critics that felt the film was whitewashing and playing the ‘white savior’ card. The film’s director Zhang Yimou immediately tried to quell this movement, citing that the film is far from a ‘white savior’ scenario. People scoffed at his remarks, and the trolls came out in droves all across the internet to feed the flames of a fire that never should have happened. Now, that the film is in theaters, there is not a single peep about whitewashing, due to the film’s fantasy setting. It is filled with dragons and other monsters. These whitewashing cries were uncalled for, and unnecessary.

Iron Fist, Netflix
Image: Netflix

Now the topic shows its ugly face again with Netflix’s upcoming Marvel series Iron Fist. The shows main character is Danny Rand, a white male who becomes a martial art master. When casting began, some cried foul when Finn Jones landed the role. They felt that in today’s society, Danny Rand should be Asian. It would have made for an interesting change, but one that would alter the entire dynamic of the core story.

The show’s star Finn Jones now chimes in about series’ decision to keep Danny Rand a white guy:

You know, here is what I’m going to say about it. I get where that frustration comes from. I get the need for diversity and equality in television and film… well, actually in every aspect of life. Right now we live in a culture and a world where we are very unequal in politics, in economics, and in culture. We are being fucked over massively by the top dudes. I stand up for people, I stand up for people across all borders.

Danny Rand is not a white savior. Danny Rand can hardly save himself, let alone an entire race of people. He is a very complicated, vulnerable individual. He doesn’t just show up, like, ‘Hey dudes, I’ve just learned martial arts! I’m going to save the world.’ Actually, it’s the complete opposite. He’s gone through and suffered immense trauma and he is struggling to claim his own sanity and identity back.

Iron Fist, Netflix
Image: Netflix

The show looks great, and it seems as though Jones has studied the character well, and knows the key things to make Iron Fist a really good show. He understands that due to the story and the conflict, Danny Rand being a white guy only helps the conflict present in the show. It is sure to be a focal point of the storyline.

These are my views on the topic, feel free to discuss this more in the comments section. I would love to hear other views on this.

Brad Repka
I am an avid lover of all things Movies, TV, Games, and delicious other randomness. Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave comment!