How Old Is The Ancient One In 'Doctor Strange'? Her Name Should Give You A Good Idea

Although the character of The Ancient One in Doctor Strange is not without controversy — in the comics, he's Tibetan, and since critics were ready to take Marvel to task for perpetuating stereotypes surrounding Asian mysticism if the character was cast as such, the studio gender-swapped the role with a white actor, Tilda Swinton, causing criticism — Swinton's portrayal of the mystical sorceress is one of the movie's highlights. Fans watching Marvel's latest feature will be drawn to the actor's performance and bald head, not to mention to the matter of her age, or lack thereof. Just how old is the Ancient One in Doctor Strange ?

An important character who couldn't be omitted from the movie's storyline (the Ancient One trains Strange to become the Sorcerer Supreme), Swinton's role may have been a landmine for criticism, but as more information came out about the movie's version, critics learned that Swinton would be doing an entirely new take on the Ancient One — except when it comes to the character's age. In the comics, the Tibetan male version of the Ancient One has been around for 500 years, making him pretty ancient indeed. The new version, who is Celtic, has to be at least this old since Celts as a people haven't lived since the middle ages. She's also, in the movie's canon, not the first to hold the title of the Ancient One — it's been passed down by others, and therefore could have included a Tibetan man in the past.

In the movie, it's said that no one knows The Ancient One's real age, which is in line with what the head of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, told Birthmoviesdeath in 2015. "As we were developing this film we looked at The Ancient One as a mantle more than a specific person," explained Feige. "The sorcerers have been around for millennia, protecting us from things we didn’t know about until this story. There have been multiple [Ancient Ones], even if this one has been around for five hundred years, there were others. This is a mantle, and therefore felt we had leeway to cast in interesting ways."

So according to Feige, the Ancient One is about 500 years old — just like in the comics. Almost everything else about the character may have been changed for the film, but when it comes to age, the film's Ancient One is still decidedly deserving of her name.

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