Marvel Issues Statement on DOCTOR STRANGE and The Ancient One Casting Controversy

When Tilda Swinton was cast as The Ancient One in Marvel’s Doctor Strange, I thought it was a really cool, unique, and bold decision. I loved what I saw of the character in the trailer for the film, but of course, some people were upset by the whitewashing. 

If you are familiar with the comic books then you know Marvel has been notorious for mixing things up, which has been great and keeps fans on their toes. In case you’re wondering why Marvel decided to cast a white woman as the character, they have released an official statement, which was posted by Mashable. Marvel explains:

“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.”

The Ancient One is a title that doesn’t belong to one particular person, but an honor passed amongst many? That sounds like a solid explanation to me, and I love the fact that they went with a Celtic take on the character. Why the hell not?!

Some of the issues sparked from recent comments made by screenwriter C. Robert Cargill when he said:

"[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."

Everyone seems to have their own opinion on the matter, but Marvel's explanation of it being a creative choice is just something I figured was the case from the very beginning. What are your thoughts on Marvel’s statement?

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