Marvel has pushed its diversity for the sake of diversity in the comics to embarrassing lengths, but now it appears that it is eager to do so on the big screen. Reports began circulating Wednesday that Tilda Swinton — a very capable actress — is in talks to play The Ancient One in Marvel’s upcoming Doctor Strange. If that sounds “strange” too you, then know that you’re not alone. Roles meant for Asian men in the MCU (e.g., The Mandarin) apparently go to white people.
The Hollywood Reporter delivered the news:
Tilda Swinton is on her way to the Marvel Universe. The actress is in negotiations to join Benedict Cumberbatch in Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange, being directed by Scott Derrickson.
Strange is Marvel’s supernatural hero, a formerly cocky surgeon who loses the use of his hands, and while on a last ditch attempt to heal himself, discovers magic. Strange’s mentor is a Tibetan mystic known as the Ancient One, who is training pupils to be the next sorcerer supreme.
It appears as though Marvel is terrified of casting Asians in roles made for Asians due to concerns over how they were drawn decades ago. Marvel’s answer this time around seems to be: fight political correctness with … more political correctness. Bring in a woman!
Sadly, it appears as though the moderators at The Hollywood Reporter and Superhero Hype aren’t very interested in having a frank conversation about what, exactly, is going on. (Note: their behavior is the raison d’être for blogs like this.)
Telling, isn’t it? Years ago I remember walking around on the Marvel message boards on eggshells because Orwellian moderators were always ready to stomp out “problematic” voices.
That is what the politically correct crowd does — they engage in weird behavior and then try to silence or shame anyone who dares to question their judgment. Guys like Michael B. Jordan pen self-congratulatory opinion pieces on why Fantastic Four fans are all a bunch of racist trolls for wanting to keep Johnny Storm’s silver screen portrayal white. Guys like Dan Slott start talking about Jim Crow laws when it comes to Peter Parker fans who want him kept white.
Question for Michael B. Jordan and Dan Slott: Why do so-called racists now want a role meant for an Asian man to go to an Asian man? I suppose their latent hatred for women (including their mothers, grandmothers, and sisters) trumps their hatred for Asians.
The good news is that Marvel Studios has a strong track record when it comes to making entertaining movies and Tilda Swinton takes her craft seriously. Fans are willing to forgive casting missteps if the fare delivers. Regardless, it still seems incredibly odd that Marvel and Disney apparently can’t find a single Asian man — in the entire world — who can live up to the demands of the role.