After months of speculation, it appears we have a lead for Marvel’s much-anticipated upcoming Netflix series Iron Fist, and he is so terribly good-looking. Finn Jones — best known for playing Westeros’s top queer icon Ser Loras Tyrell in Game of Thrones — has been cast as the latest protagonist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, per Entertainment Weekly.
At first glance, the casting makes a lot of sense, given Jones’s looks and experience. The tale of Iron Fist has historically been about Danny Rand — a blond pretty-boy who’s born into massive wealth (à la Bruce Wayne) and gains magical martial-arts powers during a stay in a secret East Asian city called K’un-Lun. He returns to New York City and fights crime, as superheroes are wont to do. This version of the Fist will eventually cross paths with Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and the other Marvel Netflix heroes for the upcoming crossover series The Defenders.
For some, this casting is a big disappointment, though not out of any specific grudge against Jones. Iron Fist’s premise is more than a little dated, what with the Orientalist fantasy of an Anglo-American learning secret fighting techniques in a hidden city of the Far East. As a result, there’s been significant online campaigning to get an Asian-American actor to play the character (check out this cri de coeur from writer Keith Chow to get a sense of the argument and the movement it created). It’s not whitewashing, but it’s still going to raise hackles for people who care about the ways ethnic minorities are portrayed in the ever-growing world of superhero fiction.