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‘Iron Fist’ Almost Cast Lewis Tan in Lead Role

Marvel and Netflix's superhero series sparked a cultural appropriation controversy after casting a white actor in the lead role.

Lewis Tan Iron Fist

Lewis Tan


The widely criticized decision to cast a white actor in the lead role of Marvel and Netflix’s “Iron Fist” became even more frustrating on Tuesday when Asian-American actor Lewis Tan revealed he had originally auditioned for the part before landing a minor role in the series.

READ MORE: ‘Iron Fist’ Star Finn Jones Punches Back at Negative Reviews

Tan recently told Vulture that he was in consideration to play Danny Rand before taking the role of the villain Zhou Cheng, who appears in one episode of the 13-episode series. Many fans of the original comic book character had lobbied Marvel to cast an Asian or Asian-American actor in the role, which would have marked the first Asian-American superhero to appear onscreen. “Game of Thrones” actor Finn Jones plays Rand in the series.

“Punisher: War Zone” filmmaker and former World Karate and Kickboxing Champion Lexi Alexander weighed in on the situation on Twitter on Monday.

Roy Thomas, who created the original character with ‎Gil Kane nearly half a century ago, recently pushed back on the controversy in an interview with Inverse.

“I have so little patience for some of the feelings that some people have,” Roy said. “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.”

READ MORE: ‘Marvel’s Iron Fist’ Review: Season 1 Lacks Punch, Proves Incredibly Skippable

“Iron Fist” earned just 19 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The series debuted on Netflix on March 17.

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