We’ve known that a white actress (Tilda Swinton) would be playing the Ancient One in Doctor Strange for quite a while now, but once the trailer was released a fresh tide of controversy regarding the ethnicity of the character – who is generally depicted as a Tibetan male – was unleashed, with the likes of screenwriter C. Robert Cargill and even George Takei weighing in.
Many have an issue with the perceived whitewashing of this central character, although Marvel themselves maintain that the Ancient One is merely a mantle that can be inhabited by a person of any race of gender.
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
Yeah… a lot of angry fans aren’t buying that, and the continued use of the #whitewashedOUT hashtag has drawn a very positive response from the film’s director, Scott Derrickson.
Raw anger/hurt from Asian-Americans over Hollywood whitewashing, stereotyping & erasure of Asians in cInema.
I am listening and learning.
— Scott Derrickson (@scottderrickson) May 4, 2016
Tell us, where do you stand on this debate? Should an Asian actor have been cast as the Ancient One, or would that have fed into a negative stereotype in and of itself?
Doctor Strange is set to hit theaters on November 4th, 2016.