Marvel’s upcoming Doctor Strange has a really strong cast – Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor and very possibly Rachel McAdams – but perhaps none stronger than Tilda Swinton. The actress – set to portray The Ancient One, Strange’s mystical mentor – is one of the most interesting people in Hollywood today, known for her interesting style and bold character choices. A recent profile on Swinton in the UK Guardian has a bit that suggests that may be the case for this role as well:
She will soon start shooting a Marvel blockbuster, Doctor Strange, but there is a Swinton-esque twist – she doesn’t yet know if she will play the part as a man or a woman.
If Swinton chooses to play the character as a man or as male-presenting, that would be a very interesting move on her part. It makes a lot of sense that a mystical character like The Ancient One might not conform to Western gender norms, and much electronic ink has been spilled over the fact that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is extremely bro-centric, with all of its franchises helmed by straight, white, cisgender men (and will be until 2017’s Black Panther). Swinton playing her character as a gender-fluid or androgynous character would be a small but important bit of inclusivity in the mega-franchise, even if Doctor Strange is still a movie helmed by a straight, white, cisgender dude.