Welcome to the first installment of #WellActually, where I disagree with hot takes in the fandom. Today we’re going to discuss what has become affectionately referred to in fandom as Danny Bland. Or is it Aluminum Fist? The Immortal Coachella? I forget, but he’s gonna be in Luke Cage season 2 and people have thoughts about it.
I sensed a great disturbance in the force. As if millions of fans cried out and were subsequently ignored. https://t.co/gGzzip0K0o
— Kitty Chandler (@mightybattlecat) April 6, 2018
The casting of Danny Rand in Marvel Netflix’s Iron Fist series has been one of the most contentious topics among fandom since before Finn Jones was even chosen in February of 2016; and while one would think the controversy might have died down over time, it seems to become a hot topic again with any announcements involving Jones and the shared universe’s productions. With stills from Luke Cage Season 2 being released revealing Danny will play some part in the series, many have had reactions, as they are wont to do. It seems that, for some, Finn Jones will never be acceptable in this role and they will always be vocal about this view when the subject arises.
This isn’t necessarily an issue in and of itself. In fact, I kind of get it. Like many, I didn’t at first when Jones’ casting was announced, as we discussed on our own show at the time. However, I took the time to hear the arguments in favor of recasting the character with an Asian American actor. Personally, I feel this was an opportunity to fundamentally change the character for the better, straying away from the Mighty Whitey and Yellow Fever tropes embedded into his origin. I also had exactly zero expectations they would carry through with this change; though the showrunners claim some consideration was given to actor Lewis Tan.
Fans who remain upset at the choice are not, in my estimation, wrong in any way; nor are they for refusing to give Jones a fair shake in the role. This is an aspect of the production that is problematic for them and it’s not something to just “get over.” A desire to see the character recast for many precludes any ability to enjoy a white actor in the role.
It’s worth noting though that I am not in favor of the level of hate that was thrown at Jones at the time for accepting the role. Something fans need to understand about the entertainment industry and Jones’ level in it at the time is that were he to refuse the role it likely would have stalled his career in a manner that would have been tough to recover from.
Many will argue that this is false, citing Ed Skrein’s turning down a role in the Hellboy reboot; but I would argue he was in a much better position to do so after the Iron Fist controversy.
Regardless, Iron Fist came and went, leaving mixed reactions among the fandom. Many engaged in what was perceived as “hate watching”, slogging through the season as an attempt to give it a shot, but then railing on it afterward. Currently, the Rotten Tomatoes score for Iron Fist Season One is 18%, but conversely the audience score is at 75%.
Hate watching or not, though, nearly all of us did watch it; and Rand’s character would go on to appear in The Defenders, the culmination of the four titular characters individual series leading up to it. Here, some fans seemed to come around to Jones and his portrayal, but the most stalwart of detractors remained vocally opposed to the actor being a part of any of these productions. This continues today as fans continue to react literally any time Jones’ face appears in conjunction with Marvel’s Netflix outings.
NETFLIX I WILL NEVER EVER EVER LIKE IRON FIST UNLESS YOU KILL HIM OFF AND REPLACE HIM W/ AN ASIAN ACTOR AND WRITE HIM WELL STOP TRYING TO MAKE PEOPLE LIKE IRON FIST and how dare you put him in luke cage season 2 fuck you guys
— RANSA OF BLUE 💖 (@ofdaredevils) April 6, 2018
Again, there’s no issue in refusing to accept Jones in the role, nor in speaking against it. One of the wonderful things about fandom in 2018 is our ability to take a platform through social media and have our voices hear. Certainly we could all have better etiquette in regards to that, but it’s a privilege we were not afforded in the past and DoYouEvenComicBook!? wouldn’t exist without that place to have built a community.
Something I do take issue with, however, would be the fans who choose to speak for the entire fandom; which I, at the very least, don’t recall asking for.
…that no one wanted. https://t.co/OuLf1nezXF
— #TinyArchiblerd (@thewayoftheid) April 6, 2018
#WellActually, I do.
This was a similar issue throughout the run of Marvel’s Secret Empire event, an equally divisive period for comic book Twitter. Fans who took personal offense at Nick Spencer’s story became quite vocal at their distaste often claiming that no one wanted the story or the change to Captain America’s character. Though it probably didn’t help that the reveal of Steve Rogers being a Hydra sleeper agent came just two days after #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend had been trending.
This perturbs me on a personal level for a variety of reasons, of which extend further from the simple fact that I, a lifelong comic book fan of 30+ years, enjoyed both Secret Empire and Iron Fist. Admittedly, though, the latter is unquestionably the weakest of the Netflix Marvel series.
What’s most troubling about this mentality of “no one wants this” and how not insignificant amounts of people will jump on it and shout down anyone who disagrees and dare enjoy whatever their counterparts are dragging. For all the talk that goes on about gatekeeping in nerd culture, and certainly should as it is a serious issue that needs to be addressed, we can’t argue against the old guard’s dismissive behaviors of new fans while simultaneously choosing to speak for all of fandom and dismissing anyone who dares disagree.
The discussions surrounding the Iron Fist casting as well as other characters moving forward should continue to happen, and will. That being said, “no one wants this”? #WellActually I do, and plenty of others do. It’s Power Man and Iron Fist, the Heroes for Hire. If you don’t want this, fine. I won’t even ask if You Even Comic Book, but don’t speak for the fandom; and don’t speak for me. I rather like Dopey Danny actually.
comic book nerds browsing the iron fist tag on twitter just to disagree w an opinion that isn't up to par w theirs?? tragic
— [blows a kiss to the stars] for archer (@actualstriker) April 6, 2018
Nah, some of us are just looking for content to write about.
Dexter Buschetelli thinks he is really clever, but you know better; don’t you? Do you? I dunno, I’m not your mom. Dexter can be found here on DYECB writing reviews and opinion pieces as well as on the website for his podcast, Let’s Get Drunk and Talk Comics.