Since the untimely end of the Marvel and Netflix relationship (as well as the death of Marvel Television), some fans are not ready to let go. A #SaveDaredevil campaign has been going for a long time, with fans clamoring for more of the Man Without Fear as played by Charlie Cox. During a livestream interview with a trio of actors on the series, the man who played one of the best villains revealed a disturbing story about why his character was so underdeveloped. Peter Shinkoda said that Jeph Loeb told the Daredevil writers’ room that people don’t care about Asian stories.
To put this all in context, we have to go back to around 2014. The Marvel and Netflix deal already announced, and Daredevil was in production. We knew that Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist were also on the way. At the time, this marked the first MCU project with both woman and black leads. Also, despite Danny Rand being white and blonde, Iron Fist seemed to promise Asian representation as well. Yet, Shinkoda’s story suggests that even when organizations are trying to be inclusive, they can still fail to live up to noble ideal.
The team behind #SaveDaredevil created an entire virtual convention of their own, featuring a number of interesting panels. Yet, they probably didn’t expect to make actual news. Still, if Peter Shinkoda’s story is true, that’s a story worth telling. We’ve reached out to Marvel for comment and will update should we get a response.
What Peter Shinkoda Claims Jeph Loeb Said About Asian Stories
This panel, dubbed a “Livestream Hangout,” featured three supporting actors from Daredevil who would take questions from the online audience. Geoffrey Cantor, Tommy Walker, and Peter Shinkoda all joined moderator Phyllis for the event. After a brief discussion about their personal history with comics, a fan asked a question that prompted the revelation from the Nobu actor.
The fan asked if Shinkoda created a personal backstory for Nobu to help inform his performance. He said that he did, loosely detailing an “adult themed” story of vengeance that motivated his character to try to destroy New York. That’s when he revealed that the Daredevil writers developed a full backstory for Nobu.
Shinkoda said, his voice shaking, at times, with rage, sadness, or both:
“I’m kind of reluctant to say this…but I have to, because, I just have to. I am not into really protecting, you know certain things anymore. Jeph Loeb told the writers room not to write for Nobu and Gao. And this was reiterated many times by many other writers…that nobody cares about Chinese people and Asian people. There was three…a previous Marvel movies, a trilogy called Blade where Wesley Snipes kills 200 Asians each movie, nobody gives a shit. So, don’t write about Nobu and Gao….And they were forced to put the storyline down and drop it…. They were very apologetic that they couldn’t follow through with it, but their hands were tied.”
To make this clear, Peter Shinkoda is saying that Jeph Loeb said, in so many words, that people don’t care about Asian stories. People care about compelling stories, period, and Asian stories are not an exception to that. In fact, it’s almost obvious how underserved that demographic is by the success of films like Crazy Rich Asians and Always Be My Maybe.
Simply to play Devil’s Advocate, it’s possible that Loeb mean that audiences wouldn’t care about Nobu or Gao’s backstory. Mystery can be a dramatic aide, especially for villains. Yet, audiences obviously care about this. The very first fan question that popped up in the chat, was a question about Nobu’s backstory. How Madame Gao is so powerful is one of the biggest outstanding mysteries of the Defenders era. These are great characters that fans invested in, and it’s stunning anyone could think people don’t care about these stories.
#WaiChingHo aka #MadameGao and I, aka #Nobu of #Daredevil weren't at the season 2 premiere…because we weren't invited. Wai was insulted…and that pissed me off A LOT. We found out about the event as it live-streamed. "They" were sorry we were "overlooked". #HellsKitchen pic.twitter.com/S6i8FSHiBt
— Peter Shinkoda (@PeterShinkoda) July 26, 2020
Shinkoda also added that neither he nor Wai Ching Ho, who played Madame Gao, were invited to the premieres after the first season.
How the Rest of the Panel Reacted to Peter Shinkoda, Jeph Loeb, and Asian Stories?
Image via Twitter
Shinkoda apologized to Cantor and Walker, though both his colleagues supported him in the aftermath. Cantor asked if Shinkoda thought that were Daredevil being made today, would it be different. Shinkoda seemed to agree, his answer suggesting that in his view the problem was Loeb since the writers already wanted to tell a good story for his character. Walker, a self-admitted hardcore comics nerd, responded angrily that Nobu’s story could have helped influence (and improve) the story for Iron Fist. (Danny Rand’s main enemy is the Hand. It was clear that telling this story rattled Shinkoda, and he seemed grateful to have friends on the stream with him who were supportive.
Also, Phyllis thanked Shinkoda for sharing his story, in part because as a Chinese American, she cares a great deal about Asian stories. She mentioned the importance of representation, not just for herself but her children. Then, with skill that many of the moderators of the Comic-Con at Home panels couldn’t have pulled off, she transitioned from this very heavy conversation to something very silly with ease and aplomb.
Sadly, even if the #SaveDaredevil campaign is successful, Nobu met his end. However, it’s a comic book story so there’s still hope if the campaign is successful. In fact, they could revisit Nobu via flashbacks or some of the creepy necromancy the Hand is known for. If you want to support the #SaveDaredevil campaign, sign the petition at the link.
What do you think? Share your thoughts about Peter Shinkoda, Jeph Loeb, Asian stories, and saving Daredevil in the comments below.
Featured image via Netflix
This post was updated to add the moderator’s first name.
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.