If you are like me and are part of the Petty Supreme Team™, you are probably still stewing over the Iron Fist casting and then even the subsequent promo photos.
You see, every time the Marvel posts promos for Iron Fist–aka posts random social media material concerning a suburban White dude on hard times doing something he, well, shouldn’t be–the madness is exacerbated and internet trends are born.
This tale starts with me both being mildly tipsy and just plain being a jackass, as most of my best stories often find me. Right after complaining about bald Tulsa Swinton in Doctor Strange and explaining how Marvel should have cast a little Asian girl à la May Change from Full Metal Alchemist, I launched into what the future for the planned Iron Fist show would hold now that Danny had been made overwhelming White. Danny Rand being a White dude never ever surprised me and it was in fact something I had always known but…Marvel done made him Zip-up-hoodie-n’-New-Balance White™.
Let’s just say I was…whelmed by this.
Of course, me being me and possessing a mildly overactive imagination…I had to fix it:
My name is AJ and this is my story….retconning the fuck out of White, non-#AAIronFist in 10 minutes.
Here is my proposed way to kill of White Danny and replace him with, I dunno, someone not White:
Since Iron Fist deals with mystical shit all the time, would it actually be too far-fetched for him to die in his final battle and be reincarnated? Not really. But if this were to be the case, not just any foe would do. Nah. We would have to use the final big bad of Kun’ Lun himself…Shou Lao.
Anybody who knows even a tad about Danny’s background knows that he did train in the martial art of Kun’ Lun in the forbidden city of again…Kun’ Lun. However, he didn’t just graduate the karate academy with absolute martial arts knowledge and the uncanny power of the Iron Fist that makes him the titular character.
Nope. He had to punch a big ass dragon in the chest first.
“Society” has told us this how most “hood”/coming-to-age stories tend to go.
The main character is shat on by society for not belonging. Then by weird circumstances, he/she/they ends up on the wrong side Harlem, Hell’s Kitchen, Kun’ Lun or what have you (any obscure mystical place will do). Then, the character gets taught either the circle of life, magic, or some martial arts. If the character is on Harry Potter levels of importance, he/she/they get all of the above. The character then has to leave with the knowledge that his hood/prison mentor has given him–the mentor has either eaten it, faded into mist, or is just generally not f*cking with the hero like that anymore–and now has to flex on his hometown and regulate all the evils the popo are either too stupid or too lazy to deal with (sometimes both).
This archetype is almost always reserved for White people….which usually involves taking the best parts of said culture and then using it to their advantage. Iron Fist’s inception is unfortunately rooted in this.
Now bear with me for this novel idea. What if…what if…that person wasn’t white?
Gasp! I know, I know.
Really, what would that change for the story? What would happen if instead of being a White outsider, (and if we’re being frank, they are the one group of people who want to be separated yet simultaneously reap the benefits of being included) he was an Asian-American outsider?
You see, he would benefit from being connected yet dissimilar due to his inherent “American-ness”.
Would it not be interesting to see Danny as an underdog culturally and physically? We would get to watch him try to reclaim his [continental] Asian-ness, but not “embrace it” in that abrasive way most [White] Americans act when they try to approach cultures that are not directly associated with them. It would be such a triumph to see that the final obstacle isn’t just Shou Lao, (the physical embodiment of the struggle™ here), but actually the mental and emotional struggle of being a part of something larger than yourself but being unable to connect to that all.
At the end of the day, that was what Iron Fist was about.
The long and short of it, anyway.
But…that’s not what we got.
Instead, Marvel added insult injury by skipping over one of the hottest dudes to ever tweet, Lewis Tan, to cast the Whitest dude to ever wear New Balances as the Immortal Iron Fist despite the opportunity to ya know…not cast the same type of guy over again.
This is not where the story ends. No, there is still a chance save it before it goes full dumpster fire.
Just entertain me for a moment. What if…in the penultimate battle against Shou Lao, after Danny struggles by just “going through the motions”, he returns to battle the dragon? What if he then unlocks spiritual enlightenment and plunges his fist into the beast’s heart? And if this were to occur and we assumed the battle was won, Shou Lao–in his final moments–would then manage to deal a mortal blow to Danny.
After this, we’d be left to deal with the death of [White] Danny Rand as we know him. Then…after an undisclosed amount of time, he would somehow be reborn with an entirely new actor (*cough cough Lewis Tan cough cough*) to boot. And as he heads to the mouth of the cave, he would find that he possesses more power and “feels” different. He is now the owner of the “Iron Fist”..and should probably find a nearby mirror to admire his new [pretty] face.
This is my dream
as Hokage. This would serve as the beginning of the Iron Fist series.. The premise for everything after this point would be his re-assimilation with all he has learned and how he applies this going forward. You could even add flashbacks, dedicated episodes of his obligated backstory [including his former life], and training montage that wouldn’t feel like filler or episodes that drag on.
Of course, some of you may think I’m joking about this but I am completely deadass. And here’s why:
Usually, we are left to feel like Asian-Americans don’t exist as main characters in television. As I understand it, we are only just now getting Black folx in abundance in Luke Cage (even though they somehow only happen to exist in New York within the confines of Harlem).
Is it really too much of a reach to ask for inclusion in a place where is it obviously lacking..on both (hell, all) sides of the industry?
I’m just saying. An Asian-American Danny just would have made sense. And to be honest, Luke Cage and an Asian-American Danny would have made for a funny ass duo. I can imagine them now, arguing over spicy food and beer and regaling each other in the necessary “listen to this exchange between me and a non-POC story”. Think of the possibilities that could have been!
We could have even dub them “Homies For Hire” for shiggles.
Would this not make for a more interesting show?
Anyhow, while story time is now over. I do have one more thing to say.
For all the naysayers who are still claiming that an Asian-American Danny wouldn’t work or it can’t be done:
Fuck you! American Dragon!
Images From: Gifsoup, Giphy, Tumblr, WiffleGif