19 May 2021 3:31 PM +00:00 UTC

Kevin Feige Breaks Silence on Controversy Surrounding 'Whitewashing' of Ancient One

Credit: Marvel Studios

It can't be denied that the Marvel Cinematic Universe's reimagining of the Ancient One in the first Doctor Strange film was a breath of fresh air but unsurprisingly, there were fans, especially the diehard comic book followers who raised their eyebrows over Marvel Studios' decision to cast a white actress to play a role that is traditionally portrayed as an old Asian man in the comics. In the 2016 film, the role of Doctor Stephen Strange's wise mentor was played by Tilda Swinton and Marvel Studios' decision to tweak the origin of the character left some fans bewildered and offended even.

Now, a couple of years following the release of the Benedict Cumberbatch film and the Ancient One's surprising and pivotal cameo in Avengers: Endgame, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige is finally breaking his silence on the alleged whitewashing of the character. In an interview with Men's Health, Feige claims that the reason behind the change of direction for the character has nothing to do with race. They just didn't want to do the norm which, to be fair, has always been the MO of the billion-dollar franchise from the get-go.

He explains: "We thought we were being so smart and so cutting-edge...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."

Despite the initial backlash her casting generated, fans ultimately warmed up to Tilda Swinton's take on the Ancient One and it's quite unfortunate that the character was immediately killed off following the first Doctor Strange film. As for the studio "whitewashing" the character, I feel like that wasn't their intention and if anything, Swinton's casting offered something fresh to the franchise which I'm personally a huge fan of. I just wish she was given an extended role in the franchise because her character was pretty enjoyable.

Meanwhile, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits cinemas in March 2022.

Also Read:Fans Call Elizabeth Olsen Problematic, Blames Actress for 'Whitewashing' Wanda Maximoff

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Credit: Marvel Studios