Marvel Responds to Doctor Strange’s Ancient One Controversy

Posted: April 26, 2016 in Comic Book News
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If you’ve been keeping up with Doctor Strange news and general information, you’ll already know that Marvel Studios created some controversy after announcing the casting of actress Tilda Swinton for the role of Strange’s mystical tutor, the Ancient One, a character typically portrayed as an Asian male. Today, Marvel has released a statement to Mashable explaining their casting choice, while also revealing brand new information about the character:

Marvel has a very strong record of diversity in its casting of films and regularly departs from stereotypes and source material to bring its MCU to life. The Ancient One is a title that is not exclusively held by any one character, but rather a moniker passed down through time, and in this particular film the embodiment is Celtic. We are very proud to have the enormously talented Tilda Swinton portray this unique and complex character alongside our richly diverse cast.

While many are already on board with the idea of “Ancient One” being a title passed down throughout the ages, it still ignores answering why the studio decided to make the character Celtic. That is, until you add in comments made earlier by the film’s writer, C. Robert Cargill. Cargill, who compared the casting of the character to Star Trek‘s famous “Kobayashi Maru” test, stated the following in a podcast by Double Toasted:

[The Ancient One] originates from Tibet, so if you acknowledge that Tibet is a place and that he’s Tibetan, you risk alienating one billion people who think that that’s bullsh*t and risk the Chinese government going, ‘Hey, you know one of the biggest film-watching countries in the world? We’re not going to show your movie because you decided to get political.

“If we decide to go the other way and cater to China in particular…if you think it’s a good idea to cast a Chinese actress as a Tibetan character, you are out of your damn fool mind and have no idea what the f*ck you’re talking about.

Doctor Strange will arrive in theaters November 4, 2016.

What do you think about the casting of the Ancient One in Doctor Strange? Let me know in the comments below, or with a tweet through that widget on the left. While you’re at it, like the Comic Books vs The World Facebook page, subscribe to the official YouTube and Twitch channels, and follow the official Comic Books vs The World Instagram to keep up with all the latest on Comic Books vs The World.


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