For many reasons, it’s largely agreed upon that Marvel and Netflix’s Iron Fist is a disappointment, to say the least. The most talked-about reason? The show’s very white Danny Rand. As true to the comics as his whiteness may be, a lot of viewers and critics aren’t on board for another exercise in boring white savior-dom. And according to actor Lewis Tan, the show’s version of Rand almost was Asian.
That’s right: the half-Chinese, half-white Tan was very nearly cast as Iron Fist. According to an interview with Vulture, after Tan read for the part and discussed his availability and potential scheduling, the part was handed to Game of Thrones’ Finn Jones.
Tan went on to share his thoughts on what his casting could have meant:
I personally think it would have been a really interesting dynamic to see this Asian-American guy who’s not in touch with his Asian roots go and get in touch with them and discover this power. I think that’s super interesting and we’ve never seen that. We’ve seen this narrative already; we’ve seen it many times. So I thought it would be cool and that it would add some more color to The Defenders. And obviously I can do my own fight sequences, so those would be more dynamic. I think it would be really interesting to have that feeling of an outsider. There’s no more of an outsider than an Asian-American: We feel like outsiders in Asia and we feel like outsiders at home. That’s been really difficult—especially for me.
Tan still got a part on the show as villain Zhou Cheng, who appears for only one episode. Luckily for him, though the show only premiered four days ago and he’s buried in the latter half of the season, he’s already become a favorite for some fans:
Okay so I’m 100% sure @TheLewisTan is the highlight of @MarvelIronFist ?????
— Tamara ????? (@chibitamara) March 20, 2017
I’m going to be watching #IronFist for @thelewistan. That man is a star. Yes to dope Asian-Americans representing! <3
— Rukhmani K. Desai (@RukhDesai) March 20, 2017
Finn Jones hasn’t taken all of this criticism too well, as he recently deleted (then un-deleted) his Twitter account amid the backlash to his casting. He also shifted some of the blame onto Donald Trump for the grief his portrayal of Rand has been receiving. Yikes …
If, after all of this, you’re still interested in watching the show, you can check out its official trailer below. You can also read our review of the series here, in case you alternatively want another justification to continue avoiding it.