Marvel boss Kevin Feige has admitted he regrets casting Tilda Swinton in a white-washed role in Doctor Strange.
The films, which star Benedict Cumberbatch as the doctor-turned-sorcerer, saw Narnia actress Tilda cast as the Ancient One, a role depicted in the comic books as an Asian man.
While the decision was criticised, writers previously defended the choice, claiming they had aimed to avoid ‘contributing to a bad stereotype’ – but Feige isn’t so sure anymore.
‘We thought we were being so smart, and so cutting-edge,’ he explained. ‘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,’ he added to Men’s Health.
The Marvel boss went on to say that upcoming film Shang-hi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which features Marvel’s first superhero of Asian descent, has had ‘potential for so long.’
The flick will star Simu Liu as the hero, alongside co-stars Awkwafina, Tony Leung, and Florian Munteanu.
Doctor Strange was released in 2016, with the character becoming a staple in the MCU, and a vital member of the Avengers for Infinity War and Endgame.
Alongside Benedict and Tilda, it starred Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams and Chiwetel Ejiofor with the second instalment, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, set for release in 2022.
Recent series WandaVision, which starred Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff) and Paul Bettany (Vision) prepared fans for the release of the Doctor Strange sequel and, while many were expecting a cameo from Benedict, Feige decided against it.
‘Some people might say, “Oh, it would’ve been so cool to see Dr. Strange,”‘ he told Rolling Stone.
‘But it would have taken away from Wanda, which is what we didn’t want to do. We didn’t want the end of the show to be commoditised to go to the next movie — here’s the white guy, “Let me show you how power works.”‘
The decision meant that parts of Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness had to be rewritten too.
One storyline that never made the cut saw Strange sending messages to Wanda through the commercials seen in the series. Head writer Jac Schaeffer said he was also set to eventually appear in one of them.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is set for release on March 25, 2022.
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