The casting of Finn Jones as the lead in the new Netflix and Marvel superhero series “Iron Fist” sparked a cultural appropriation controversy. Some fans of the comics believe an Asian actor should have been cast to play Danny Rand, a billionaire with supernatural powers who uses his kung-fu mastery and ability to summon the power of the Iron Fist. Now, Roy Thomas, who created the original character with Gil Kane over four decades ago, is weighing in on the controversy.
“I try not to think about it too much,” the former Marvel editor-in-chief told Inverse. “I have so little patience for some of the feelings that some people have. I mean, I understand where it’s coming from. You know, cultural appropriation, my god. It’s just an adventure story. Don’t these people have something better to do than to worry about the fact that Iron Fist isn’t Oriental, or whatever word? I know Oriental isn’t the right word now, either.”
Thomas added that the new Iron Fist didn’t have to be white as the original title character. “If they wanted to kill off white Iron Fist and come up with one who wasn’t Caucasian, that wouldn’t have bothered me, but neither am I ashamed for having made up one who was,” Thomas said. “He wasn’t intended to stand for any race. He was just a man who was indoctrinated into a certain thing… On the other hand, if they had decided to make Iron Fist an Asian, that would have been fine with me, too. I wouldn’t have cared. I didn’t consider myself the safeguard of some kind of Caucasian literary standard or anything like that. But I would have found it easier to write about a Caucasian, so that’s one reason I probably did it. If somebody had suggested, ‘You want to make it so he’s Asian?’ Well, we could have done that too.”