doctor strange

This November, Marvel will be introducing a host of new elements into the MCU with Doctor Strange. Not only will the psychedelic world of magic make its debut, but tons of new faces will as well, like Stephen Strange, Baron Mordo, the Ancient One, and Wong, to just name a few. As it turns out, Wong was initially not going to make it into the film, but director Scott Derrickson ended up having a change of heart. Derrickson originally couldn't see how they could portray Wong as anything other than a stereotype, but he eventually found a way to crack the character.

I was going to leave Wong out of the movie at first; he was an Asian sidekick manservant, what was I supposed to do with that? But once the decision was made to cast Tilda, we brought Wong back because, unlike the Ancient One, he could be completely subverted as a character and reworked into something that didn't fall into any of the stereotypes of the comics.

While talking to the Los Angeles Daily News about all things Doctor Strange, Scott Derrickson brought up the much-publicized decision to cast Tilda Swinton (a white woman) as the Ancient One (traditionally an Asian man) in the film. In the comic books, the Ancient One and Wong can easily be viewed as stereotypes of Asian culture, which made adapting them to film all the more difficult. Wong, Strange's manservant, was going to be cut out of the film entirely until they realized they could adjust his subservient role.

wong

In Doctor Strange's 50 some years in comics, Wong has always been by the Sorcerer Supreme's side. Not including him would likely have sparked an outcry from both fans of the character and those crying foul for cutting an Asian role from the blockbuster - both of which are understandable concerns. While the Ancient One had to be consistent as Strange's teacher, Wong is free to stretch his legs a little. In the film, Wong (played by Benedict Wong) is also a magic user, as opposed to being Strange's martial arts master/manservant. Another difference is that he's been described as something of a drill sergeant, keeping Strange in line while he learns the mystic arts. It's a bit of a departure for the character, but it seems like a fairly necessary change. Plus, it doesn't mean that the two still won't end up buds by the end of the film.

Doctor Strange is scheduled to hit theaters later this year on November 4.

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