So unless you’ve been in hiding for the last week or so, you’ll have noticed the crap-storm circulating Marvel and Netflix’s decision to keep the character of Danny Rand white for their upcoming Iron Fist series.
Well, just to add intrigue to the ongoing arguments clogging up the fringe corners of the internet, it’s now rumoured that Marvel is on the lookout for an actor to play Iron Fist’s long-time partner and greatest martial artist since Bruce Lee, Shang-Chi. For the uninitiated, Shang-Chi is a Chinese-born genius martial artist, vigilante and runaway son of crimelord and supervillain Fu Manchu, the villain of a dozen pulp novels and just as many dodgy Republic black and white movies. After discovering the truth about his father’s criminal and power-hungry activities, the exceptionally talented martial artist flees to America where he meets Spider-Man and several other Marvel heroes who inspire him to use his talents to help people and battle criminals.
The thinking is that Shang-Chi will serve as a major supporting character in the Iron Fist series, with the potential of the character being spun off into his own show if he proves popular enough. Essentially it’ll be the same deal that the Punisher will have in season 2 of Daredevil. Now, while it’s a clear step in the right direction to be bringing more minority characters into prominent roles, the inclusion of Shang-Chi kinda torpedoes Marvel’s claim that they kept Iron Fist white to avoid playing up stereotypes of Oriental Asian characters being expert martial arts fighting machines.
Still, regardless of where you sit on this argument, let’s face it: it’ll be great to watch the hero of the piece having his arse handed to him by someone without superpowers every time they spar.