The casting of Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One in the upcoming Doctor Strange has been a point of controversy for some fans. Many believe that the casting of a white woman in this role robs an opportunity from Asian actors to potentially portray in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Head of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige was asked about this controversy in an interview with Deadline. Feige responded to the criticisms.
“We make all of our decisions on all of our films, and certainly on Doctor Strange, for creative reasons and not political reasons. That’s just always been the case. I’ve always believed that it is the films themselves that will cross all borders and really get people to identify with these heroes, and that always comes down to creative and not political reasons. The casting of The Ancient One was a major topic of conversation in the development and the creative process of the story. We didn’t want to play into any of the stereotypes found in the comic books, some of which go back as far as 50 years or more. We felt the idea of gender swapping the role of The Ancient One was exciting. It opened up possibilities, it was a fresh way into this old and very typical story line. Why not make the wisest bestower of knowledge in the universe to our heroes in the particular film a woman instead of a man? We made changes to some of the other key character in the comic for similar reasons.”
Doctor Strange scribe C. Robert Cargill recently described the casting process of the Ancient One to be a lose/lose situation in an interview with the website Double Toasted.
Directed by Scott Derrickson and starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mads Mikkelsen, and Tilda Swinton, Doctor Strange opens in theaters November 4.