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HOLY TILDA SWINTON! Tilda Swinton in Talks for Marvel’s Doctor Strange

When Pale British Citizens Attack!


We actually haven’t had much Doctor Strange movie news lately so you can imagine our surprise when we heard this.

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The Hollywood Reporter says Tilda Swinton (previously in androgynous comic form as Gabriel in Constantine) is in negotiations to play the Ancient One from Marvel lore. They write:

Strange is Marvel’s supernatural hero, a formerly cocky surgeon who loses the use of his hands, and while on a last ditch attempt to heal himself, discovers magic.

Strange’s mentor is a Tibetan mystic known as the Ancient One, who is training pupils to be the next sorcerer supreme. In the comics, the character has been a male, and Marvel Studios initially was searching for a male actor.

Yes, it’s cool Marvel Entertainment is considering a woman to play a traditionally male role. However, as much as I adore Swinton’s performances, it also means casting a white actor for a traditionally Tibetan character.

In a separate opinion piece on THR, Graeme McMillan makes reference to that fact and also notes:

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 times, to be blunt. (It should be noted that Daredevil, the studio’s first series for Netflix, did change Ben Ulrich from a white harried middle-aged reporter to a black harried middle-aged reporter, however.). At times, this has led to Marvel being criticized 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.

What do you think, folks? Would you be interested in seeing Swinton and Benedict Cumberbatch come face to face? Previously, this happened and was excellent.

[Edit: A lot of folks are saying this would have been a great character for her to play instead.]

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Jill Pantozzi is a pop-culture journalist and host who writes about all things nerdy and beyond! She’s Editor in Chief of the geek girl culture site The Mary Sue (Abrams Media Network), and hosts her own blog “Has Boobs, Reads Comics” ( She co-hosts the Crazy Sexy Geeks podcast along with superhero historian Alan Kistler, contributed to a book of essays titled “Chicks Read Comics,” (Mad Norwegian Press) and had her first comic book story in the IDW anthology, “Womanthology.” In 2012, she was featured on National Geographic’s "Comic Store Heroes," a documentary on the lives of comic book fans and the following year she was one of many Batman fans profiled in the documentary, "Legends of the Knight."