Doctor Strange Whitewashing

Ever since the first trailer for Doctor Strange debuted, controversy about whitewashing in Hollywood has been swirling online again. This came about because it was confirmed that actress Tilda Swinton was playing the role of The Ancient One, a character who was originally an Asian man in the comic books. Many Asian actors, actresses, filmmakers and fans have spoken out against this casting, saying that it plays into the tendency Hollywood has to have white actors and actresses in the roles of characters of different ethnic backgrounds. Tilda Swinton previously responded to the matter, and now Marvel Studios president CEO and Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson have chimed in on the matter.

Find out what they had to say about the Doctor Strange whitewashing controversy below.

Scott Derrickson shared this brief reaction on Twitter:

Clearly Derrickson wants everyone upset by this casting decision to know that he’s listening to the complaints about whitewaashing, and they’re not taking the situation lightly. And once you hear what Kevin Feige has to say on the matter, you’ll see that the casting of Tilda Swinton was made with the best of intentions. Here’s what the Marvel president had to say to Deadline on the matter:

The casting of The Ancient One was a major topic of conversation in the development and the creative process of the story. We didn’t want to play into any of the stereotypes found in the comic books, some of which go back as far as 50 years or more. We felt the idea of gender swapping the role of The Ancient One was exciting. It opened up possibilities, it was a fresh way into this old and very typical storyline. Why not make the wisest bestower of knowledge in the universe to our heroes in the particular film a woman instead of a man?

The casting of The Ancient One was always going to be a point of contention, mostly because the original version of the character had some pretty silly stereotypes, simply because of the time in which he was created. However, I’m not sure why they couldn’t have crafted a version of the character with an Asian actor that didn’t have those egregious stereotypes. Feige’s reasoning to break down another barrier by making the character female is a noble one, but in this case, stirred just as much controversy in some ways.

Feige also added, “I don’t know if you saw Scott Derrickson’s tweet the other day. He said we’re listening and we’re learning, every day. That really is true. As long as we’re starting on this topic, it means so much to us that people know that. We also know that people expect actions and not words in a Q&A, and I’m hopeful that some of our upcoming announcements are going to show that we’ve been listening.” So stay tuned to see what kind of progressive announcements Marvel has for their future projects down the road.

For more on the Hollywood whitewashing controversy, read our own Angie Han’s take on why it’s so frustrating right here.

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