George Takei is speaking out against whitewashing in Hollywood.
The Star Trek star criticized Marvel’s casting of Tilda Swinton in the upcoming film Doctor Strange.
Marvel justified the choice of Swinton, who will portray The Ancient One, by saying her casting was meant to avoid a conflict with the Chinese market.
In the original comic book, the character was Tibetan, although it was changed to Celtic for the film in order to avoid “alienating 1 billion people who think that that’s bullshit,” as stated by cowriter C. Robert Cargill.
Takei was not buying this explanation.
“So let me get this straight,” the social media influencer wrote on Facebook. “You cast a white actress so you wouldn’t hurt sales …in Asia? This backpedaling is nearly as cringeworthy as the casting. Marvel must think we’re all idiots.”
In the comments on the post, Takei also pointed out that Marvel could have kept the Asian character, considering revisions to setting that had already taken place.
“Marvel already addressed the Tibetan question by setting the action and The Ancient One in Kathmandu, Nepal in the film,” he continued. “It wouldn't have mattered to the Chinese government by that point whether the character was white or Asian, as it was already in another country. So this is a red herring, and it's insulting that they expect us to buy their explanation.”
“They cast Tilda because they believe white audiences want to see white faces,” he concluded.
Takei blazed trails in Tinseltown with his role of Hikaru Sulu in the original Star Trek television series, which debuted in 1966. Since then, the out actor has become an advocate for diversity in media.