In the comic books, The Ancient One is portrated as being an elderly Asian man, so what's up with casting the amazingly talented Tilda Swinton to play the character in Doctor Strange? Well, like The Mandarin before her, it seems as if Marvel wanted to move away from portraying the Sorcerer Supreme's mentor in such a stereotypical fashion. "We are always looking for ways to change," explains Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige. "I think if you look at some of the early incarnations of the Ancient One in the comics, they are what we would consider today to be quite, sort of, stereotypical. They don’t hold up to what would work today. Also, within the storyline of the comics, and our movie, ‘the Ancient One’ is a title that many people have had. We hit very early on on, What if the Ancient One was a woman? What if the title had been passed and the current Ancient One is a woman? Oh, that’s an interesting idea. [Clicks fingers.] Tilda Swinton! Whoah!"
"And it just hit."
However, while that appears to clear things up, it still doesn't sound as if Swinton will necessarily be playing the character as a woman. "Look, she’s a chameleon in everything she does," Feige continued when asked about the Snowpiercer star. "She has this amazing [ability to] harness of this androgynous sense. So, we use the term ‘her’ and ‘she’ in the film but, other than that, it’s very androgynous. Because it doesn’t matter." So, she will be a she, but Doctor Strange is definitely approaching The Ancient One in a very unique way. In fact, when Swinton herself was asked about whether her character is male or female, she teased: "I wouldn’t know how to answer that one. I think it’s all in the eye of the beholder..." What do you guys think of these details?