Jeph Loeb oversaw the numerous Marvel live-action television series that aired over the last few years, until it was announced in October that the existing TV shows would cease production, and that moving forward, all live-action Marvel shows would be overseen by Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios, which produces the successful movies. Loeb almost immediately announced his exit from the position he’d occupied for nine years.
Under his tenure, he helped deliver to ABC ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’, ‘Agent Carter’, and ‘Inhumans’, as well as Freeform’s ‘Cloak & Dagger’, and Hulu’s ‘Runaways’. But most successfully, he delivered the adults-only Netflix brigade of ‘Daredevil’, ‘Jessica Jones’, ‘Luke Cage’, ‘Iron Fist’, ‘Defenders’, and ‘The Punisher’. While these shows were pretty ethnically diverse– more so than the movies at least– it may come as a surprise that one co-star says that Loeb fostered an environment meant to stifle diversity.
Peter Shinkoda recurred during Seasons 1 and 2 as the Hand member Nobu Yoshioka. He now says that Loeb openly squelched plans the writers had to further develop his character and that of Madame Gao (played by Wai Ching Ho). Speaking to the #SaveDaredevil Youtube page, Shinkoda revealed:
“I’m not into really protecting, you know, certain things anymore but Jeph Loeb told the writers room not to write for Nobu and Gao and this was reiterated many times by many of the writers and showrunners. He said, ‘Nobody cares about Chinese people and Asian people. There were three previous Marvel movies, a trilogy called Blade that was made where Wesley Snipes killed 200 Asians each movie. Nobody gives a shit so don’t write about Nobu and Gao.’ And they were forced to put their storyline down and drop it.”
Shinkoda stated that the writers were very apologetic and that had they been given the chance, they would have shown Nobu carrying out his Black Sky scheme.
There are a lot of Asians and Latinx characters on the Netflix/Marvel shows, but most of them were nothing more than cannon (or sword) fodder. And the few bigger characters, like Nobu and Gao were stereotypical crime lords. Gao goes one further by being a stereotypical “dragon lady.”
Hopefully, the Marvel Cinematic Universe can correct this, with the release of ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’. Then again, the fact that the first headlining Asian Marvel character is a kung-fu master is already a little iffy.
We’ll have to wait and see how Loeb reacts… if he reacts, and to see if anyone else comes forward with further accusations. Stay tuned for updates.