Marvel Responds to The Ancient One Casting Controversy, Reveals New ‘Doctor Strange’ Details

By April 26, 2016

As far as I’m concerned, whenever Tilda Swinton is cast in anything, it’s good news.

Her casting as The Ancient One in Marvel’s Doctor Strange though, a usually Tibetan man in the comics, was a bit more controversial than I think anyone involved in the film may have intended, as many fans have disparaged the film for continuing to “whitewash” originally diverse roles in film. Something that has become even more prevalent after the recent controversial stories surrounding the Scarlett Johansson-led adaptation of Ghost in the Shell.

In response to the criticisms though, and the recent comments made by one of the film’s screenwriters about the “impossible to win” casting decision, Marvel has officially released a new statement regarding the casting (via Mashable), and simultaneously, has also revealed some interesting new details about the film’s iteration of 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.”

After the studio’s recent attempts at diversifying their casts and talent onscreen, with the casting of several ethnically diverse actors and actresses in some of their most high-profile upcoming films (including Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok), it doesn’t surprise me that the studio would have some kind of reason for casting Swinton in the role, which was bound to cause controversy no matter what, either because she’s white, or because she’s a woman (The Ancient One is traditionally a man in the comics).

Nonetheless, I doubt that Marvel’s explanation is going to dissuade those angered by the casting to not be anymore. The reveal that this version of The Ancient One is celtic should come as an interesting twist on the character for most Doctor Strange fans out there though, and begs the question of what other updates and changes from the usual canon that fans can look forward to seeing in the new film, which looks more and more like Marvel’s ballsiest outing to date.

Doctor Strange is set to hit theatres on November 4th.

Make sure to keep checking back for more updates — right here on GeekNation.

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Alex Welch

Alex Welch

Alex dreams of meeting a girl with a yellow umbrella, and spends too much time* staring at a movie screen. His vocabulary consists mostly of movie quotes and 80s song lyrics. *Debatable