“Why Tilda Swinton’s ‘Doctor Strange’ Casting Is a Small Step Forward for Marvel”

“With the news that Tilda Swinton is in talks to play the Ancient One in Scott Derrickson’s Doctor Strange, is Marvel Studios joining other superhero studios Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox and Sony in breaking away from slavish devotion to comic book canon in terms of onscreen diversity? Well, almost.

In all previous movie releases, Marvel has stayed faithful to the race and gender of its lead characters as defined in more … well, white and male terms, to be blunt. (It should be noted that Thor cast Idris Elba as the traditionally white supporting character Heimdall, and Daredevil — the studio’s first series for Netflix — did change Ben Ulrich from a harried, white middle-aged reporter to a black, harried middle-aged reporter.) This faithfulness has led to criticism of Marvel  for the lack of diversity in its characters — especially when Benedict Cumberbatch was named as the lead in Doctor Strange, a character who easily could have been portrayed by an actor of any race or gender.

Selected to play the Ancient One, Swinton continues her tradition of appearing as mythical beings in movies based on supernatural comic books, notably as Gabriel in 2005’s Constantine, based on the DC Entertainment character. As for Marvel, appears to finally be making a welcome step in a direction that other comic book movies have been moving in for some time…”



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