When the trailer of Doctor Strange was revealed, there was a growing concern, even outrage, among fans who've found that Marvel's representation of Asian characters have been lackluster at best. Particularly after Iron Fist's casting of a white actor, Tilda Swinton's casting as the Ancient One has been met with confusion. Well, Tilda's here to make it more confusing.
Here's the crux of it: The Ancient One was initially a Tibetan man. So when Swinton — who is not at all a Tibetan man — was cast, people found it offensive that she was playing an Asian character. But now, Swinton's come out to say that "it's not actually an Asian character … I wasn't asked to play an Asian character, you can be very well assured of that." It should also be noted that Doctor Strange himself was early in his comic history an Asian man, who was later made white and is now being portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch.
Kevin Feige, Marvel Studio's boss, responded that the previous version of the Ancient One was a stereotype, so they changed the character to be a white woman. Which brings the question of whether or not Marvel just can't seem to get it together with Asian representation and retreats to using white actors instead.
It's not like Marvel's increase in diversity has hurt them any. Casting Idris Elba as Heimdall for the Thor series only meant white supremacists were upset, and really, f*ck 'em, who cares? It simply appears that for every two steps forward, Marvel has to take a step back, and then a step in a random direction for no discernible reason at all.
Doctor Strange will be bowing November 4th, so we'll have a ways to wait and see if this change from the comics is justified.