Marvel made a big show of their upcoming movies at San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend releasing new footage and introducing new actors to the MCU. But the director of one of its most controversial films to date, Doctor Strange, probably had the most important comment of the convention.
I don't want to discount what might have been said in many of the smaller panels throughout Comic-Con this past weekend, there were tons of diverse and important discussions going on, but while we wait for reports on those to roll out I'd like to focus on something someone in the spotlight said.
Vulture spoke to Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson after the big Hall H panel and addressed some of the concerns about his film's representation issues. His answer was extremely thoughtful.
I think that what I”ve come to really empathize with is the idea that there”s a group of people, Asian-Americans in this country, who didn”t grow up watching movies [and] seeing themselves on the screen, and if they did, it was usually a stereotype. I feel tremendous empathy for that because of what movies meant to me, growing up. I grew up as a white kid in north Denver, watching movies every weekend. It was the highlight of my life. For a lot of us here at Comic-Con, movies are our life, and I can”t imagine what it”s like to grow up and not see yourself, not see your face up there in the lead characters. It”s a serious subject. It”s gotta change, the way that Asian-Americans are represented in cinema has to change.
It's a poignant comment to make at Comic-Con but an important one overall to put out there for both Hollywood and fans who either don't get the issue or still aren't listening and understanding how important representation is in media.
Tilda Swinton's initial casting as Marvel character the Ancient One was a controversial decision from the start and the first teaser trailer with the actor in Asian garb and setting didn't help matters. After Swinton went on record to say she wasn't playing an Asian character and writer C. Robert Cargill made some off-the-cuff remarks about why a Tibetan character would be tricky to sell, Marvel made a statement to confirm the Ancient One in this film would be of Celtic origins.
Though he didn't have to, Derrickson made an additional statement at the time saying “Raw anger/hurt from Asian-Americans over Hollywood whitewashing, stereotyping & erasure of Asians in cinema. I am listening and learning.”
Not everyone gets why these issues are important immediately (though some do), it's nice to see someone in a position of power admitting their faults and intent on doing better in the future.
The new poster and trailer for Marvel's Doctor Strange are below.
The impossibilities are endless. #DoctorStrange pic.twitter.com/H0ufOO4QJi
– Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) July 24, 2016