Daniel Wu’s AMC show “Into the Badlands” is seen by many as stiff competition for Marvel’s “Iron Fist,” but Wu recently came to defend the producers of the show, who’ve taken some serious heat for the decision to cast a white actor in the lead role of martial arts hero Danny Rand.
Many fans of the original comic book “Iron Fist” 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.
In a recent interview with Screen Anarchy, Wu said he feels bad for the makers of “Iron Fist,” and that accusing them of whitewashing is going a little too far.
“I think that’s people going a little too precious on that, because originally the character was written white,” Wu said. “It wasn’t like it was a whitewashing thing. It’s not like you are talking about a ‘Ghost in the Shell’ issue, right? And I still don’t actually buy the ‘Ghost in the Shell’ whitewashing issue either, and I certainly don’t buy into the cultural appropriation bullshit because that’s saying that only Asians are allowed to do martial arts. Then that means only black people can play basketball and rap? That means Jeremy Lin shouldn’t be playing basketball? And Eminem shouldn’t be rapping? That’s bullshit, you know. So I know Asian Americans are angry, but they should calm down and choose the correct fight in that case – I agree that Marvel missed the chance of doing something interesting and casting against the race – they could have done that – and that would have given them some credit, but they didn’t, so what are you going to do about it?”
“Ghost in the Shell” faced a similar backlash for casting Scarlett Johansson opposite Japanese actors in a story that was set in Japan.
“Into the Badlands” airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on AMC.