1. Seattle deputy mayors
For the first time in Seattle’s history, the city has two Asian American deputy mayors. Newly elected Mayor Jenny Durkan appointed Mike Fong and Shefali Ranganathan as senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor, respectively.
Fong was former Mayor Ed Murray’s chief of staff — he left that role earlier this year to become chief operating officer for King County Executive Dow Constantine. Then Murray resigned in September.
Ranganathan is executive director of Transportation Choices Coalition, a statewide advocacy group where she has worked for a decade.
2. North Korean missile development
President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un stepped up hostilities in 2017. The North Asian totalitarian state tested missiles at least 15 times this year, a jump over 2016, despite Trump’s threats and extra-tough economic sanctions announced by the United Nations. The sudden killing of Kim’s estranged half-brother in Malaysia in February raised questions about Pyongyang’s political influence offshore. China still plays both sides but tilts toward North Korea as an old Communist ally and friendly border country.
South Korea also struggled this year to balance its prized economic relationship with Beijing against its military defense against Pyongyang. Few expect war, however, and missile tests tapered in late 2017. But the diplomatic standoff remains as volatile now as a year ago.
3. End of whitewashing?
In August, British actor Ed Skrein was hailed as a hero for walking away from the upcoming Hellboy reboot. He was set to play Major Ben Daimio, an Asian character in the original graphic novel source material, but backed out after a public backlash. Producers eventually recast the role with Daniel Dae Kim.
This year’s other high-profile whitewashes included Ghost in the Shell starring Scarlett Johansson and The Great Wall starring Matt Damon.
Coming in August 2018 is the movie Crazy Rich Asians — a rare mainstream Hollywood film to feature a majority Asian cast.
It features Fresh Off the Boat breakout Constance Wu. She plays Rachel, an ordinary American gal whisked into a live of unimaginable glamour and privilege when she discovers her boyfriend hails from one of the wealthiest families in Asia.