Doctor Strange cowriter C. Robert Cargill has clarified his comments over the casting of Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One in Marvel Studios’ new superhero movie (out Nov. 4).
Cargill had previously said on the Double Toasted podcast that the decision to cast the actress as a character traditionally depicted as a Tibet-dwelling Asian in the Scott Derrickson film was partly inspired by the problem of having the Ancient One be based in a country over which China claims sovereignty. In the film Doctor Strange, Swinton’s Ancient One is based in Kathmandu, Nepal. Cargill has now made clear that he was not speaking as a representative of Marvel and that no one at the company discussed the subject of China with him.
In a pair of tweets Cargill posted earlier this week, the screenwriter confirmed he was speaking as an individual. In his first tweet, Cargill wrote, “CLARIFICATION: that interview answer going around was to a question from a fan specifically about MY JUSTIFICATION, not Marvel’s.” Next, he tweeted, “FOR THE RECORD: no one at Marvel or with the film ever talked to me about China, so contrary to headlines, I didn’t confirm anything.”
This week, Marvel itself issued a statement concerning Swinton’s character, confirming that her interpretation of the character of the Ancient One is not Asian.
“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 [Marvel Cinematic Universe] to life,” reads the statement, which was obtained by PEOPLE. “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.”
The statement continues: “We are very proud to have the enormously talented Tilda Swinton portray this unique and complex character alongside our richly diverse cast.”
Cumberbatch and Swinton’s Doctor Strange costars include Rachel McAdams, Mads Mikkelsen, and Chiwetel Ejiofor.