So, does anyone else have a problem with this Doctor Strange casting?
What I’ve read of Dr. Strange showed a conflict as well as a coming together of East and West, as well as East versus West. It was all about taking the strengths of both and making a hero.
But now they want the British white chick to play The Ancient One, the mentor (actress Tilda Swinton, Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe) — who was originally an old Asian male.
And now, to play the younger, Asian, Baron Mordo, the competing student and nemesis, they get … Chiwetel Ejiofor?
Are we even keeping the culture conflict aspect of Doctor Strange?
Can we at least have Dormamu be the ultimate bad guy? You know, the demon? He doesn’t have an ethnicity, does he?
Jimmy Olsen transformed into a cool black guy in Supergirl. Dr. Strange is just more of the same. Why couldn’t they have celebrated one of the black characters from the Dr. Strange mythos, like Brother Voodoo?
With stuff like this, I decide to wait until we see the product. I place too much emphasis on getting the right actor, versus the one who looks the most like a character, to treat it otherwise. The initial idea I had here is that if Strange is recruited from outside Asia, why not someone else? We could well see a culture conflict that’s more than just binary opposition.
Marvel Studios tends to look at their movies and say “Okay, how do we make this version of the story different and yet the same? How do we tell the same story, except tell a new one?” I think that’s the reason why The Incredible Hulk is such a weak MCU installment — it’s really just a basic Hulk story, with nothing new to it. Meanwhile, the current Hulk has been very new and different and not just retelling the same-old, same-old — and yet fully, completely Hulk.
I’m not saying they’re obviously going to pull that off, but I am saying that they at least try to do this with their movies, and I won’t say it’s impossible until I see the final result.
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And it’s not like we haven’t seen them pull a flip-around like this before. (Ben Urich and Heimdall come to mind, and it wasn’t a big deal in either case.)
Except here’s my problem. In the cases you’ve cited, Andy, the character wasn’t changed at all, just race-swapped. But how do you avoid it in this case? You could MAYBE make a case (that I’d be hard-pressed to buy) that the core value of Mordo is envy — “I was supposed to be the chosen one!” — but the Ancient One was Asian, trying to instill more fluid lines of thought into a rigid Western mind. This carries weight when it’s a old Chinese fellow talking with an American.
Now, it’s two Brits talking to each other.
Hard to gender swap the Ancient one, unless you’re going to rewrite Asian culture Mulan-style, and bury Swinton under a pound of Charlie Chan makeup to age her. And if that’s the case, why not just get, you know, an older Asian actress?.
And, no, I’m not 100% convinced that pure envy is Mordo’s character. There was a racial component (the freaking gwai lo/ gai-jin got the job?), and do they want a black racist as a villain?