After all that talk of whitewashing in Doctor Strange, the obvious question on the minds of fans is whether the cinematic version of Wong, Stephen Strange’s manservant, will adhere to the portrayal in the comics.
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In print, Wong is skilled in the martial arts, the occult and kung fu, and also um brings Strange tea. Sort of your perfect Asian stereotype, if you will. But according to British actor Benedict Wong, who plays the Strange sidekick, tea won’t be his primary preoccupation in the movie:
“I’m certainly not going to be the tea-making manservant. We’re heading in a different direction. He’s more of a drill sergeant.”
It’s also clear that Wong’s role will involve very little physicality:
“There isn’t any martial arts for Wong in Doctor Strange, actually. He’s more of a drill sergeant to Kamar-Taj. He’s one of the masters of sorcery.”
So we’re getting the Asian mystical stereotype instead of the Asian kung fu expert stereotype? Hooray! Please spout fortune cookie wisdom too!
In all seriousness, I hope that Marvel will have listened to the criticism over the whitewashing of The Ancient, and also paid attention to the #StarringJohnCho campaign. Director Scott Derrickson certainly seems to have done so:
Raw anger/hurt from Asian-Americans over Hollywood whitewashing, stereotyping & erasure of Asians in cInema.
I am listening and learning.
— Scott Derrickson (@scottderrickson) May 4, 2016
The Doctor Strange Singapore release date has been set for October 27.