A “Khaaaaan” moment.
A “Khaaaaan” moment.

… Beneficent Cucumbers was also Khan, wasn’t he? DAMN YOU, BYZANTINE COMMODORE!! Stop getting into everything!

News: Posted April 21st, 2016 by Alina

^ 20 Comments to “A “Khaaaaan” moment.”

  1. Casting the Ancient One was ALWAYS gonna be tricky for Marvel, in part because of the Tibet factor.

    If he’s Tibetan, the movie’s D.O.A. in China.
    If he’s not Tibetan but Chinese, controversy because not Tibetan.
    If he’s an Asian actor but not Chinese, controversy because “Hollywood ignoring regional ethnic differences/history” like when they cast Japanese actors as Chinese and vice versa.

    Casting Tilda Swinton feels like an attempt by them to do something different with the casting but it’s a bit of a “damned if you do damned if you don’t” situation with her. And there’s talk that she might be playing the role as a male which would be interesting to see.

    Also, we’ve got the Operative playing Mordo and that is just plain awesome because THE OPERATIVE.

    Posted April 21st, 2016 at 12:32 am
  2. ledman Says:

    This could also work with “Damn you Tumblr!!”.

    Posted April 21st, 2016 at 2:01 am
  3. Mike Says:

    So it’s racist or sexist to be upset if they cast a white male character as not white or female, but your expected to be mad if they cast a not white or female character as white or male? It feels like I’m missing the sarcasm, but this kind of racist thinking seems to be all to common these days. So maybe they figured they could get half partially cancel the “non white as white” issue by going with “make as female”.

    Posted April 21st, 2016 at 2:17 am
  4. tlh-in-tlh Says:

    The Ancient One was always problematic, just due to the “Mystical Oriental” stereotype (along with a couple of other of Dr Strange’s supporting characters). I’m hoping that everyone who’s uncomfortable about all this will examine *why* they’re uncomfortable with it, and help Marvel make productive changes. And I appreciate Alina giving voice to some different points of view.

    Posted April 21st, 2016 at 8:42 am
  5. abishur Says:

    Meh, people tried to be equally upset with Himdall, a white Norse god, was played by a black actor.

    To both issues I say what does it matter what race a fictional character is portrayed as in a movie adaptation? Besides, wouldn’t it be more racists to typecast an Asian male as a Confucius type figure?

    Posted April 21st, 2016 at 8:47 am
  6. Frankie D. Says:

    @Mike Yes, because for the most part, the “white male” bit of the character has nothing to do with the character itself, where as normally the “non white/male” bit of those characters is a major part of those characters, plus there are far, far, far more “white male” characters than “non white/male”.

    Posted April 21st, 2016 at 10:20 am
  7. cy414 Says:

    by whatever gods may be, this regressive racism is too much of an example of poe’s law to actually be funny. you know, the point of being so crazy itself, that no parody can be made without people thinking the parody is the actual behaviour or opinion?

    unless its not an attempt at being funny and the lunacy presented here is actually being presented sincerely. which would be really sad.

    Posted April 21st, 2016 at 12:46 pm
  8. Weatherheight Says:

    I see several “problems” with the casting choice:
    1) The Ancient One was male – having a female Ancient One is a violation of canon.
    2) Asian cultures (heck, most cultures) would be exceptionally unlikely to provide women with options in life that would allow them to exercise worldly power such as sorcery – this goes double for isolated societies as broad as the monk cultures of China and Tibet.
    3) I’ve seen exactly one movie where Tilda Swinton did not turn in a performance I did not loathe – her performance as gossip columnist twins in Hail Ceaser was quite wonderful. That aside, she’s a dead fish.

    That said, I’m more or less okay with it. The Cinematic Universe has been pretty good for Marvel financially and shedding canon has been a big part of that cinematic process. I would have preferred to have the Ancient One to have been portrayed by a Hong Kong Action Theater actor (why resort to artifice when you can use the real thing?), preferably someone well-liked in China AND Tibet, but I’m willing to give Ms Swinton a chance.

    Also not thrilled with Cumberbatch as a casting choice – Stephen Strange has always been drawn in the comics as a cross between Manhattan socialite and a Bronx porn star. Disney has done a *very* good job of getting stars that very reasonably look like their comic counterparts (all cast members from the first avengers movie were very near perfect), so I’m wondering if this another “I wanna leave my mark on these characters because I’m God’s gift to directing” a la Zach Snyder move going on here (I’m praying he never gets to direct again, but I’m expecting economics and pretty fight scenes to trump good plot and storytelling as usual).

    Posted April 21st, 2016 at 1:16 pm
  9. ElvenSemi Says:

    Cue butthurt “fanboys” screeching for all the wrong reasons. I’m amazed their “replacing male characters is bad!” isn’t clashing with their “replacing asian characters is fine!” subroutine and causing them to shut down.

    Frankly, I’m glad that the comic is at least TOUCHING on the multiple serious casting issues in this movie–it’s causing a lot of MCU fans to boycott.

    Posted April 21st, 2016 at 2:22 pm
  10. Mturtle7 Says:

    Well, she could have just been mildly annoyed about it, if this wasn’t Abbie we were talking about.

    Posted April 21st, 2016 at 7:04 pm
  11. Ferret Says:

    Worth pointing out also, canonically The Ancient One isn’t a person. It’s a title, which in the comics universe happens to be held by a wise old asian man. We’ve already seen that the MCU is its own distinct universe, so who’s to say that the position hasn’t been taken over by Tilda Swinton in this universe?

    Posted April 21st, 2016 at 7:29 pm
  12. Weatherheight Says:

    For more information, check the Marvel Wiki as well


    While you are correct that “The Ancient One”is a title, per canon, it was only ever applied to one person. It is not the title of the head of the order and passed down to a successor, it is a name applied to a savvy sorcerer who took on a title/alternate name rather than blab about a true name that might be used against him (naming a thing is powerful magic in many traditions).

    The rest of your point is perfectly valid, however. Same story, different gender, not the sort of thing to kick too much over.

    Posted April 21st, 2016 at 9:14 pm
  13. Lukkai Says:

    Interesting take. That might already be enough to make it work just fine.

    Posted April 21st, 2016 at 9:47 pm
  14. Jalathas Says:

    Wow so I should really not have read these comments. I’m just gonna point out that there is a huge difference between casting a white person in a nonwhite character’s role, and casting a nonwhite person in a white character’s role. We have never had roles for nonwhite people that come anywhere close to representing the ratio of nonwhite people in the US, let alone the world. Recasting white characters whose race and ethnicity aren’t central to their identity is a good thing, because it brings us closer to that representative ratio. Recasting nonwhite characters moves us farther from a representative ratio.

    Posted April 22nd, 2016 at 11:58 am
  15. Siiiiigh Says:

    *sigh* No abby you don’t, you don’t have to be just because someone deems it problematic. You can be, because it is an issue, but if you find the casting interesting fine be excited, don’t let them tell you how to feel. If you find it uncomfortable okay, don’t watch it, vote with your wallet. It’s cool that you feel that way. Make your own choices, don’t let others tell you how to feel about that.

    Also lets remember that ratios of anything only ever exist in math and theory. You can’t promote ethnic representation by math, only by making it yourself.

    Posted April 22nd, 2016 at 1:11 pm
  16. Solokov Says:

    Counterpoint, the “ancient one” is simply a moniker for whoever the soul is presently inhabiting iirc… Doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to be asian.

    Posted April 22nd, 2016 at 2:08 pm
  17. Amber Says:

    Thanks so much for posting this strip, Alina. The need to continuously eliminate roles for non-whites in Hollywood is deeply troubling, and it is astonishing to me that so little progress has been made since the 1950’s – if anything, Hollywood seems to be backtracking. The amount of whitewashing that has occurred in the past 5 years is unbelieveable and sad.

    Posted April 22nd, 2016 at 4:58 pm
  18. Alina Says:

    I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who is keeping this discussion reasonable and respectful. I love that people are talking about these issues, and it always makes me sad when that same calm discussion breaks down into people joining sides and throwing hate each others way. Let’s keep this place positive and fun for everyone! 🙂

    Posted April 22nd, 2016 at 6:34 pm
  19. Diogo Says:

    And they finally aknowledged the reason was money.

    I mean, I get that it is a business, no matter what people might say but it’s “art” for a financial purpose, so when making a statement interferes with money-making, it’s best for business to not make the statement.
    I quite enjoyed the marvel movies, but I get the feeling that super-hero movies are pretty much screwing with film-making. The obsession of making movies PG-13 because of bigger audience no matter the story, the mandatory joke-every-15-minutes, the lack of a substantial scene with actual conversation instead of action and the list goes on.

    Posted April 27th, 2016 at 2:22 pm
  20. Weatherheight Says:


    Eloquent post, excellent job of cogently defining many of the issues I’ve had with the majority of the Marvel movies.

    Makes me feel a bit of a twit for liking them regardless. 🙂

    Posted April 28th, 2016 at 6:55 pm