Although Marvel has officially unveiled the uncannily Benedict Cumberbatch-like face of Doctor Strange, the eponymous hero of the studio’s second planned film of 2016, there are actually a small army of terrific actors set to appear alongside the Sherlock lead who we might be even more stoked for. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelson, and Rachel McAdams are all receiving top billing, and while that’s plenty to get excited about, the actor we’re probably happiest to see join the Marvel Cinematic Universe is none other than Tilda Swinton.
Oh, you didn’t know? Tilda Swinton, marvel of our universe and GQ‘s woman of the year in 2014, is going to be in Doctor Strange. Interesting tidbit: the character she plays, a Tibetan mystic who mentors Strange and goes by the name The Ancient One, is male in the comic-book source material. However, according to Marvel Studios top dog Kevin Feige, this does not matter, because Tilda Swinton is radâ€”and also because Marvel is choosing to be kind of canny about whether or not The Ancient One is actually a woman. Or a man.
“Look, sheâ€™s a chameleon in everything she does,” Feige said of Tilda Swinton in a recent Entertainment Weekly article, before praising her ability to “harness this androgynous sense.” This is meant to suggest that The Ancient One is simply beyond gender, otherwise Feige’s statements really don’t make much sense outside of general gushing over Tilda Swinton. “We use the term ‘her’ and ‘she’ in the film but, other than that, [the role is] very androgynous. Because it doesnâ€™t matter.”
Come to think of it, “beyond gender” isn’t a bad way to think of Tilda Swinton.