Feige told Men’s Health magazine that the decision to hire Swinton, a white actress, as a Tibetan magic arts leader was a big mistake for the Marvel Cinematic franchise, and also a “wake-up call” to include more diversity.
- “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.”
Marvel faced criticisms of “white-washing” the character at the time. Marvel defended the decision at the time, saying it was a sign that the company was embracing creative freedom, according to Deadline.
- “Marvel has a very strong record of diversity in its casting of films and regularly departs from stereotypes and source material to bring its MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) to life,” a statement at the time said, according to Deadline. “The Ancient One is a title that is not exclusively held by any one character, but rather a moniker passed down through time, and in this particular film the embodiment is Celtic.”
- “We are very proud to have the enormously talented Tilda Swinton portray this unique and complex character alongside our richly diverse cast,” the statement said at the time.
Variety reports that “Doctor Strange” director Scott Derrickson and actor Benedict Wong defended the casting as well despite some Asian groups criticizing the move.
Marvel will release the film “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” in September. The lead role will by played by Simu Liu.