George Takei initially picked apart Marvel for what he claims was blatant backpedaling on their part, when Marvel blamed the casting selection on the Chinese market as their reason for avoiding being associated with Tibet.
Then in the comments section Takei went off on what he views as a deep-seeded systematic problem of casting actors in movies for Asian roles.
"To those who say, "She an actress, this is fiction," remember that Hollywood has been casting white actors in Asian roles for decades now, and we can't keep pretending there isn't something deeper at work here. If it were true that actors of Asian descent were being offered choice roles in films, these arguments might prevail. But there has been a long standing practice of taking roles that were originally Asian and rewriting them for white actors to play, leaving Asians invisible on the screen and underemployed as actors. This is a very real problem, not an abstract one. It is not about political correctness, it is about correcting systemic exclusion. Do you see the difference?"
Marvel provided the following statement to Mashable in response to the heated speculation over potential whitewashing of Tilda Swinton's 'The Ancient One' character in Doctor Strange:
"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 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."
Doctor Strange screenwriter C. Robert Cargill provided the following reasoning for his changing of the character for the film:
"He originates from Tibet, so if you acknowledge that Tibet is a place and that he's Tibetan, you risk alienating one billion people who think that that’s bullshit and risk the Chinese government going, 'Hey, you know one of the biggest film-watching countries in the world? We’re not going to show your movie because you decided to get political,'" said Cargill. "If we decide to go the other way and cater to China in particular and have him be in Tibet… if you think it’s a good idea to cast a Chinese actress as a Tibetan character, you are out of your damn fool mind and have no idea what the f*ck you’re talking about."
What do you make of all this?
And of course the trailer, in case you need a refresh on that Doctor Strange hype:
For those of you hoping for a close-up look at Doctor Strange in action, here's your chance to see some lightening. Most of these images are just the concept art from the upcoming film, which looks great so far. It's set to release on November fourth this year.