Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton is in talks to star as the Ancient One in the upcoming Marvel superhero film Doctor Strange, despite the character’s originally written gender and ethnicity, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
While Marvel Studios has generally kept its film characters as close to their comic inspiration as possible, some have criticized the studio’s previous casting choices for their lack of diversity.
(Other Marvel films include franchises such as The Avengers, Captain America, The Punisher, Spider-Man and X-Men.)
Enter Swinton, who could possibly star as the 500-year-old Tibetan sorcerer the Ancient One, alongside Benedict Cumberbatch, and an integral character now has a new look, in-step with the industry’s move toward more diversity.
While Marvel’s consideration to cast a female as the Sorcerer Supreme is being praised by some fans of the franchise, others are still upset, and an argument is being made the actress would actually make the film less diverse.
In traditional Marvel storylines, the Ancient One was a peaceful male farmer of Asian descent, which Swinton is most certainly not.
A quick Twitter search reveals some Doctor Strange fans have their reservations about the proposal:
Great casting choice, @Marvel. Because when I see Tilda Swinton, I also think she'd be an excellent choice to play an old Asian man.
— Vivian Liu (@fayfayren) May 27, 2015
Love Tilda Swinton but is it really okay to take an asian minority role and give it to a white female? Will Wong be played by a black actor?
— Bryan Pei (@ThatBryanPei) May 27, 2015
i love tilda swinton but marvel why?????? you lot couldn't have gone with an Asian actress???? lemme give you a hint: MICHELLE YEOH.
— audrey (@tentooed) May 28, 2015
Far from Tibet, Swinton was born the daughter of a major general in the Scots Guard in London, England, and was a classmate and friend to Diana Spencer, better known as Princess Diana.
Swinton, who has demonstrated her acting range over a career that started in the mid-1980s, has starred in movies such as Constantine, The Grand Budapest Hotel and the Chronicles of Narnia franchise, as of late.
She won an Academy Award in 2008 for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Karen Crowder in Michael Clayton.
Doctor Strange is set to star Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange, and the film is expected to debut in November of 2016, possibly minus a high-profile Asian character.