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'Doctor Strange' News, Spoilers: Marvel Addresses 'Doctor Strange' Casting Controversy

Following the backlash surrounding Tilda Swinton's casting as the Ancient One in its upcoming superhero film "Doctor Strange," Marvel has issued a statement saying that the Ancient One is a moniker and not limited to any particular character defined by his/her age and/or ethnicity. Marvel also said that the studio has a record of casting strongly diverse casts and that its upcoming film will not be an exception.

Swinton, who is of Anglo-Scottish-Australian heritage, was at the receiving end of the Asian whitewashing outcry after some fans questioned why a white female was cast in the role of what was, in the comics, a male Tibetan character.

"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 to life," the studio said in a statement (via Mashable). "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."

As the statement implies, Marvel doesn't see Swinton's casting as an issue because the title of "Ancient One" can supposedly be held by any person regardless of gender or ethnicity. The Ancient One is more an honor handed down from person to person than any particular fictional character.

While Marvel's statement focused more on the creative aspect of interpreting the iconic comic book character, "Doctor Strange" scriptwriter C. Robert Cargill recently spoke about the social issues surrounding the Ancient One's casting.

In an appearance on the "Double Toasted" podcast, Cargill called the casting of the Ancient One a "cultural landmine" that is "absolutely unwinnable."

According to the "Doctor Strange" scriptwriter, had Marvel acknowledged that the character is Tibetan and that Tibet is a place, the Chinese government could then take it as a political stand and ban the film. But had the studio cast a Chinese actor in the role of what many consider a Tibetan character, it would have caused problems as well. Similarly, casting an "Asian" actor in the role would have merely been another "losing proposition."

"We knew that the Social Justice Warriors would be angry either way," Cargill said.

"Doctor Strange" hits theaters November 4.

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