While many talks have gone on about the “whitewashing” on the role, Swinton herself previously stated that the part offered to her was not of an Asian man. Now a Marvel spokesperson is reiterating that the fictional character is more diverse than previously thought:
“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,” stated Marvel to a statement given to Mashable. “We are very proud to have the enormously talented Tilda Swinton portray this unique and complex character alongside our richly diverse cast.”
With this, the comic book conglomerate hopes to establish a new vision of the role and open up the idea of having more than one race depict the mentor to Doctor Strange. Swinton had also added during a roundtable interview that “all will be revealed when you see the film” and that “there are very great reasons for us to feel very settled and confident with the decisions that were made.”
Co-writer of the film, C. Robert Cargill recently spoke out about the comments and compared the casting to the no-win theory Kobayashi Maru. “The thing with the Ancient One is that it is Marvel’s Kobayashi Maru. There is no other character in Marvel history that is such a cultural landmine, that is absolutely unwinnable,” adding, “It all comes down to which way you’re willing to lose,” after explaining several ways that their decisions could be judged and misinterpreted.