comScore Marvel Feige Doctor Strange Leaving Tibet Behind China | The Mary Sue
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Marvel’s Doctor Strange Film Is Leaving Tibet Behind But Heading East Anyway


BirthMoviesDeath spoke to Kevin Feige recently and inquired about a few burning questions they had about Marvel’s Doctor Strange film.

You may recall our report on Tilda Swinton being in talks to play the “Ancient One,” a traditionally male, Tibetan character from Marvel Comics. On one hand: awesome genderswapping! On the other: not-so-awesome subtraction of much needed diversity.

While Feige didn’t confirm to them whether or not Swinton definitely has the role, he did talk about how they’re looking at the character and the leeway they felt they had in casting.

“As we were developing this film we looked at The Ancient One as a mantle more than a specific person,” Feige told BMD. “The sorcerers have been around for millennia, protecting us from things we didn’t know about until this story. There have been multiple [Ancient Ones], even if this one has been around for five hundred years, there were others. This is a mantle, and therefore felt we had leeway to cast in interesting ways.”

Thankfully BMD pushed a bit further, asking specifically about Tibet’s involvement:

BMD: So you’re removing the sorcerers from the phony Tibetan mysticism that Stan Lee used because he probably didn’t really research Tibet in any real way?

Feige: Not entirely. The phony mysticism is part of what makes Doctor Strange interesting!

BMD: But are you tying it into that specific culture?

Feige: Not Tibet. Strange leaves New York in search of something and heads east.

This isn’t great news for those who had concerns about cultural erasure in general or the idea that Marvel was specifically avoiding Tibet in order to appease China, a huge film distribution market and a country which, to put it mildly, doesn’t like Tibet. This doesn’t look good no matter how you view it.

The outlet also got a tiny bit more about Doctor Strange’s Greenwich Village townhouse, in case you were wondering: “The Sanctum [Sanctorum] is on Bleeker Street, the modern day Bleeker Street,” Feige said, “He will be the strangest thing walking out onto that street.”

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