Kevin Feige regrets casting Tilda Swinton in 'whitewashed' Doctor Strange role

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Kevin Feige regrets not casting an Asian star as The Ancient One in Doctor Strange.

The 2016 Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie features Swinton as the mentor of Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Stephen Strange. The Ancient One is depicted as an Asian man in the comic books, and the casting decision provoked accusations of whitewashing.

Marvel boss Feige told Men's Health magazine that he has nothing but admiration for Swinton's performance, but admitted he tried to get too clever with the casting and should have thought more about onscreen Asian representation.

"We thought we were being so smart, and so cutting-edge," he said of Doctor Strange in a new interview discussing the upcoming Marvel movie Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and its Asian star Simu Liu.

"We're not going to do the cliche of the wizened, old, wise Asian man. But it was a wake-up call to say, 'Well, wait a minute, is there any other way to figure it out? Is there any other way to both not fall into the cliche and cast an Asian actor?' And the answer to that, of course, is yes."

Shang-Chi is a martial arts expert and assassin who is set to become Marvel's latest hero later this year. Feige also revealed that the character has long been one he wanted to give a movie to, but it was only the success of the Blade films that convinced him any superhero story could be turned into a blockbuster.

"That sort of proved early on that it wasn't about how famous the character was, but about how great their potential was for becoming a cool movie, or series of movies," he said of the 1998 movie. "And Shang-Chi has had that potential for so long."

He also revealed that Shang-Chi would have hit screens sooner, but there was limited space for characters related to the story in the lead-up to Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.

"Once we finished what we call now The Infinity Saga, we rolled up our sleeves and said, 'OK, what's next?' What are we going to kick off the next? The next sort of evolution of the MCU post- our first big saga, and that's why Shang-Chi was at the very top of that list," he explained.

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