Over the weekend, as part of its barrage of content reveals at San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel dropped the second trailer for Doctor Strange. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Dr. Stephen Strange, who journeys to Mystical Asia to learn Mystical Asian Stuff, and eventually fights evil with Mystical Asian Stuff.
The first teaser trailer gave us a glimpse of Tilda Swinton in all her baldness as the Sorcerer Supreme's mentor, The Ancient One, who has been traditionally depicted in the comic books as an old-ass mystical Asian man. Whatever you want to call it -- whitewashing, racebending, yellowface -- that shit looks pretty wack.
Well, there's more bald wackness where that came from in the latest trailer:
We also get our first look at Benedict Wong as, um, Wong, the Sorcerer Supreme's faithful and trusty sidekick. In the comic books, Wong has served as the loyal ethnic sidekick to Stephen Strange's white hero.
But according to the Doctor Strange panel at Comic-Con, the movie promises to take Wong in different direction, losing the manservant character and making him a "fully independent, masterful mage."
When asked about the accusations of whitewashing in Doctor Strange, Benedict Wong said that raising the issue of diversity and representation in media is important, but praised Swinton's take on The Ancient One.
"It's good to ask these questions. But I actually do honestly feel that they have taken the Ancient One and they’ve cast Tilda Swinton, and there's no one more perfect for this part," Wong tells Vulture. "Tilda has this amazing, ethereal quality. I'm sure you'll agree. And obviously, the changes they've made with Wong: we're losing this manservant, tea-making-style character. So I think it's a good thing."
Meanwhile, Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson says that he feels "tremendous empathy" for Asian American audiences who rarely see themselves represented on the screen.
"I think that what I've come to really empathize with is the idea that there's a group of people, Asian-Americans in this country, who didn't grow up watching movies [and] seeing themselves on the screen, and if they did, it was usually a stereotype," Derrickson says. Yes, this is really a thing.
"I feel tremendous empathy for that because of what movies meant to me, growing up... I can't imagine what it's like to grow up and not see yourself, not see your face up there in the lead characters. It's a serious subject. It's gotta change, the way that Asian-Americans are represented in cinema has to change."
Congratulations on coming to this empathy, Scott Derrickson. We wish you had come to it much sooner.
More here: Doctor Strange Director Feels 'Tremendous Empathy' for Asian-American Audiences