Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige says casting Tilda Swinton as a whitewashed Ancient One was a mistake

By Stephen Ippolito | May 19th, 2021

In 2015, Marvel Studios made a controversial decision when they decided to cast Oscar winner Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One for Doctor Strange. In the comics, the character is a Tibetan male monk, but in the MCU Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, director Scott Derrickson, and writer C. Robert Cargill decided to go a different direction and make him of Celtic origin and also a woman.

The decision was met with outrage by fans accusing the studio of whitewashing. There were also accusations made that Marvel and Disney did this to not upset the Chinese government and prevent them from losing money at the box-office.

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Now in a new interview with Men’s Health, Feige opened up about the decision and expressed regret on how it was handled.

“We thought we were being so smart, and so cutting-edge,” Feige said. “We’re not going to do the cliché of the wizened, old, wise Asian man. But it was a wake-up call to say, ‘Well, wait a minute, is there any other way to figure it out? Is there any other way to both not fall into the cliché and cast an Asian actor?’ And the answer to that, of course, is yes.”

It’s good to hear that Feige recognizes that they made a mistake with this five years ago. While I actually think Swinton did a good job with the role, it caused too many headaches making that big of a change with the character.

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Because Feige admitted this, it probably means that Swinton will not return to the role anytime soon. Of course, the Ancient One did die in Doctor Strange so that could be another reason why she won’t return.

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