While early buzz for Doctor Strange is fairly good, thanks to an effectively trippy trailer, claims of whitewashing have dogged production since its early stages. When Tilda Swinton was cast as The Ancient One, many took umbrage with casting a white actor as a traditionally Tibetan character. Marvel held firm with their assertion that this interpretation of the character was Celtic (despite the clear East Asian influences in the released footage), but many wondered if the change was to make the film more marketable in China.
Swinton was asked about the controversy yet again, and she echoed Marvel’s claims that the choice will make sense in the context of the film.
“Anybody calling for more accurate representation of the diverse world we live in has got me standing right beside them … 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.”
While Swinton’s response isn’t surprising, it is a bit of a shame to see the demand for more diversity tossed aside yet again. Between this and Matt Damon’s The Great Wall and Scarlett Johansson’s Ghost In The Shell, it doesn’t seem like the issue is going away any time soon.