The Marvel Cinematic Universe has explored the Earth, the larger galaxy and several of the nine realms, but the realm of the supernatural has been left largely untapped (even Thor is just an alien in the MCCU). Phase Three seeks to change that with the release of Doctor Strange in 2016. The film is set to explore the mystical corner of the Marvel Universe and potentially introduce the Astral Plane to continuity.

Marvel has already found their lead in Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) who will play the titular character. He will be joined by Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) playing the role of the villainous Baron Mordo, who will serve as an amalgamation of characters from the Doctor Strange mythology. It was around the time of these casting announcements that we began to hear rumors that Tilda Swinton was being courted to play The Ancient One in the upcoming film. Now, it appears that those rumors have been confirmed.

Speaking with Screen Crush, the actress confirmed that she and Marvel are past the talking stage and that the deal is finally done. Swinton will be portraying The Ancient One next year on the big screen and will more than likely be popping up in future films. What’s more, she’s thrilled about the role.

“… I just really liked the premise of this and the idea of playing this character. I’m a Marvel fan and I think this particular world that ‘Doctor Strange’ goes into is really, really, really exciting. I’m really interested as both an actor and a fan to see what’s done in this particular world. It’s all about creativity. It’s not about everything exploding at the end. It’s about something very different.”

Marvel contracts are notably long-term engagements, with some actors being signed for as many as nine films. While that’s helpful for Marvel Studios in terms of planning out their shared universe, it can be an intimidating commitment for actors. However, Swinton wasn’t be phased by the multi-picture deal.

“It’s like a family thing. Who knows where one might pop up. I don’t know where they’ll use me and I don’t know that they know, necessarily, even though they seem to know what they’re doing for the next decade. I think it’s like holding onto the tail of a galloping horse at this point.”

The Ancient One in the comics is a Tibetan mystic who teaches Dr. Stephen Strange the mystic arts with the goal of training him to become the Sorcerer Supreme. The character is traditionally depicted as an old man, but Kevin Feige has already confirmed that they’re changing the origin story so as to avoid some of the controversial plot points from the original comics. The Ancient One will be a title, much like Sorcerer Supreme.

Swinton Only Lovers Left Alive Doctor Strange: Tilda Swinton Really Excited to Play the Ancient One

Tilda Swinton in ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’


Tilda Swinton has the presence to portray such a powerful character and has brought a sense of otherworldly mystique to many of her projects. It seems like another inspired casting decision by the folks at Marvel Studios, one likely to pay off handsomely in the coming years.

What do you think, Screen Rant readers? Are you excited to see Tilda Swinton join the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Let us know in the comments.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron is in theaters now. Ant-Man will release on July 17 2015, Captain America: Civil War on May 6 2016, Doctor Strange on November 4 2016, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on May 5 2017, Thor: Ragnarok on July 28, 2017, Black Panther on November 3 2017, Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 on May 4 2018, Captain Marvel on July 6 2018, Inhumans on November 2 2018 and Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2 on May 3 2019.

Source: Screen Crush