Long story short: Marvel Studios has been receiving online flak due to the casting of Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One in Doctor Strange. Things seemed to get even more heated when Scarlett Johansson was cast in Ghost In the Shell (a non-Marvel movie), leading to accussations of the whitewashing of Asian characters all around.
Now Marvel Studios has issued a statement defending the casting of Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One in Doctor Strange. We see they changed up the origin to give the character a Celtic background (similar to the change of Ben Kingsley getting cast as Mandarin in Iron Man 3).
The writer of Doctor Strange also offered the reason for the change is due to not wanting to upset the Chinese (who don’t get along with Tibet). China is obviously becoming a huge cash cow for movies; if the Chinese Communist govt. was to ban Doctor Strange, obviously that would hurt Marvel and Disney’s pocketbook.
Marvel’s statement (via Mashable):
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.
Doctor Strange writer C. Robert Cargill comments:
“[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,” Cargill explained.
“If we decide to go the other way and cater to China in particular,” he continued, ” — 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” has a November 4, 2016 release also starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton, Benedict Wong and Mads Mikkelsen.
“Doctor Strange” follows the story of neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange who, after a horrific car accident, discovers the hidden world of magic and alternate dimensions.
“Doctor Strange” is the latest film in Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Phase 3’s goal—over the course of four years and nine films—is to introduce audiences to new heroes and continue the adventures of fan favorites.
Doctor Strange Trailer: