There's a new ‘Iron Fist’ coming to the Marvel Comics universe - and he can finally deal with the hero's problematic history. Created in 1974, Danny Rand is the immortal ‘Iron Fist’ - a master of martial arts who learned how to tap into the power of Chi, and who has become one of Marvel's most formidable hand-to-hand combatants. The character even starred in his own series on Netflix, albeit one that didn't exactly win popular or critical acclaim. Stunt coordinator Brett Chan recently described on-set problems, commenting on an environment in which "everyone's fighting and the actor doesn't want to train."
But Iron Fist's problems run deeper than Marvel Netflix. "I think the source material is orientalist," sociologist Nancy Wang Yuen observed in an interview with Inverse. "Anything that’s set in Asia or with Asian cultures is treated as an object rather than a subject. Martial arts and yoga — it’s a consumption item rather than an actual culture to be respected." The comics follow the "Mighty Whitey" trope of old, in which a blond-haired, blue-eyed hero heads to an Asian city and masters their skills, becoming better than everybody else. Fans who understood the historic problems facing ‘Iron Fist’ initially campaigned for Marvel's Netflix series to reinvent Danny Rand as an Asian-American, avoiding the racial tropes, but Marvel Television chose to ignore that campaign.
Now, though, it looks as though Marvel Comics is attempting to put things right. Marvel has confirmed the mantle of ‘Iron Fist’ is about to be passed on to a new character, in a five-issue miniseries by award-winning writer Alyssa Wong and artist Michael YG.