In two weeks, Doctor Strange will charm its way into the hearts of comic book fans when its premieres. The anticipated superhero flick promises to expand the Marvel Cinematic Universe by introducing mystical arts to the franchise, and it will be Tilda Swinton who is in charge to bring magic to the moviegoers. The British actress plays the Ancient One in Doctor Strange and mentors the eponymous hero. And, now, the actress is saying she’d love to see Marvel Studios churn out a spin-off film for her otherworldly character.
In an interview with Screencrush, the actress said she’d like to explore the long, complex history of the Ancient One on the big screen. “I’m pretty confidently dropping hints in Kevin Feige’s ear about a prequel,” she said. “I’m constantly harassing him about that. I don’t know if it’ll get anywhere.”
The actress continued, saying she would leave the Head of Marvel Studios an “odd hint” about a spin-off. She said she would be “writing the odd note and putting it in his pocket. Writing lipstick messages in his mirror. Just seeing how far we get.”
At the moment, fans aren’t sure how viable a spin-off for the Ancient One would be. Many were hesitant about Doctor Strange being brought to theaters given the series’ cult status. However, the success of films like Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man prompted Marvel Studios to reconsider the hero’s relevance. If the film debuts to critical acclaim, then an Ancient One spin-off may not be out of the question.
It’s also nice to hear that Swinton has enjoyed her work as the Ancient One. When news broke about her casting, she was met with intense backlash as some fans claimed her involvement white-washed the Doctor Strange character. She addressed the controversy and stressed her involvement did no such thing, saying, “Anybody calling for more accurate representation of the diverse world we live in has got me standing right beside them.”
“I think when people see this film, they’re going to see that it comes from a very diverse place, in all sorts of ways,” she said. “Maybe this misunderstanding around this film has been an opportunity for that voice to be heard, and I’m not against that at all. But I do think that when people see the film, they’ll see that it’s not necessarily a target for that voice.”
Earlier this month, director Scott Derrickson commented on the discord and said the creative team behind Doctor Strange made the Ancient One with Swinton in mind.
"Looking at Marvel movies, I think that we're missing a major character that is Tilda's age and has this kind of strength and power," said Derrickson. "The Ancient One in the comics is a very old American stereotype of what Eastern characters and people are like, and I felt very strongly that we need to avoid those stereotypes at all costs."
The director’s words echoed those shared by Marvel president Kevin Feige's earlier this year. The executive producer said Marvel Studios wanted to retcon the character’s origins for creative rather than political reasons.
"We make all of our decisions on all of our films, and certainly on Doctor Strange, for creative reasons and not political reasons. That’s just always been the case. I’ve always believed that it is the films themselves that will cross all borders and really get people to identify with these heroes, and that always comes down to creative and not political reasons. The casting of The Ancient One was a major topic of conversation in the development and the creative process of the story. We didn’t want to play into any of the stereotypes found in the comic books, some of which go back as far as 50 years or more.
Doctor Strange hits theaters on November 4.