Since “Doctor Strange” revealed its first trailer, fans were outraged over the casting of Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One. The film was quickly accused of whitewashing after the Marvel comics character, who is traditionally depicted as Asian, was now a white woman. It also didn’t help that that same month the first picture of Scarlett Johansson as the Japanese manga character in “Ghost in the Shell” was also released.
While Swinton is a fantastic actress, it begged the question: were there no Asian actors or actress who could have done the part justice?
The actress spoke out once more about the casting decision, calling the film diverse and explaining that observers are misunderstanding the film, which is an “opportunity for voices to be heard.”
“Anybody calling for more accurate representation of the diverse world we live in has got me standing right beside them,” Swinton told Entertainment Weekly. “I think when people see this film, they’re going to see that it comes from a very diverse place, in all sorts of ways. Maybe this misunderstanding around this film has been an opportunity for that voice to be heard, and I’m not against that at all. But I do think that when people see the film, they’ll see that it’s not necessarily a target for that voice.”
Swinton previously stated that when she read the script it did not feature an Asian man for her to play. “That was never a question when I was being asked to do it,” she explained. “It all will be revealed when you see the film, I think. There are very great reasons for us to feel very settled and confident with the decisions that were made.”
Marvel added fuel to the fire when they explained that The Ancient One was not exclusively held by any one character, “but rather a moniker passed down through time, and in this particular film the embodiment is Celtic.”
The Benedict Cumberbatch-starring superhero film won’t be released until November 4, but the controversy will continue to stir until the final product hits theaters. Until then, Marvel will stand by its film and audiences will have to wait and see how the story unfolds.