The Ancient One is one of the most powerful beings to ever exist on this planet. She is the master of the mystic arts and a force of nature while using Magic. She is all-knowing and ever-present. She is a living Goddess. The Ancient One was the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth before Doctor Stephen Strange took over the mantle. In all these years before Strange came into the scene, she had been defending the Earth since time immemorial. The controversies regarding whitewashing aside, the audience loved Tilda Swinton’s portrayal of the Ancient One. She appeared again in Avengers: Endgame, probably her last ever appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But even with her imminent departure from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, some questions are yet to have an answer. Presenting – 10 Unresolved Questions about the Ancient One Marvel finally gave answers to!!
10. How did she pull Bruce Banner out of the Hulk in Avengers: Endgame?
In Avengers: Endgame, Bruce Banner travels to the past to get a hold of the Infinity Stones. To be precise, he travels to the events of the Battle of New York from The Avengers of 2012. He enters the Sanctum Sanctorum of New York City, where she is stopped by the Ancient One. As Professor Hulk tries to force her into giving up the Time Stone hanging around her neck, the Ancient One sends the spirit of Bruce Banner flying out of his body with one tap to the Hulk’s chest. That was made possible because the Ancient One is a master of astral projection – the ability to project one’s spirit out of his or her body. Since the Hulk is actually just Bruce Banner on the inside, it was Bruce Banner who came out in the spirit form and not the Hulk.
9. Is she really a man or a woman?
In the comics, the Ancient One is actually an immortal old timer. But the movies portray her as a woman. This is part of Disney’s Diversity initiative to bring about more gender diversity in its castings. Tilda Swinton was chosen for the role of the Ancient One but under the condition that she completely shaved her head and opted for a more androgynous look. The way she is portrayed in the movie has led to Kevin Feige, President at Marvel Studios, to confirm that the gender of the Ancient One in the MCU does not matter anymore. The Ancient One is not alone to be gender-swapped. Ghost of Ant-Man 2, Jeri Hogarth of Jessica Jones and Mar-Vell of Captain Marvel were also originally male in the comic books.
8. How many Ancient Ones are there?
You may find it hard to believe but there was never just One Ancient One. There have been actually multiple Ancient Ones throughout history. Just because her name as “One” in it does not mean she is the only one to hold the title. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has himself confirmed the fact that a few other Ancient Ones have already existed and held the mantle of the Sorcerer Supreme before Tilda Swinton’s character.
“As we were developing this film, we looked at the Ancient One as a mantle more than a specific person. 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 500 years, there were others. This is a mantle, and therefore felt we had leeway to cast in interesting ways.”
7. Is the Ancient One a member of the Celestials?
The short answer is – NO. The Ancient One does have incredible powers to bend space and reality to her will. But it is still tied to the mystic arts. What the Celestials have is pure Cosmic Power. The difference between Magic and Cosmic Powers is that the former is mainly illusions – smoke and mirrors. But the latter is all real. What the Celestials do is control to the very fabric of creation and mends it to their will. The Ancient One cannot do that.
6. Where was she born?
The comic books say that the Ancient One (the male version of the character) was born in a fictional ancient city called Kamar-Taj. He was a mere farmer who lived a peaceful life before one of his friends introduced him to the world of magic and sorcery. In the movies, the Ancient One’s origin story was also changed quite a bit. She was no longer a citizen of Kamar-Taj. She was actually of Celtic heritage and she had spent almost all her life tending to the injured and sick, trying to heal them in Kamar-Taj. She would later travel to New York City to observe and analyze Doctor Stephen Strange, prophesized to become the next Sorcerer Supreme.
5. How old is she?
The Ancient One is actually way older than you could imagine. She is said to be 700 years old, at the very least. Many claim that she could be older than what she claims. How does an ordinary human manage to stay alive for so long in the prime of their health, you ask? Well, we would not consider the Ancient One as an “Ordinary Woman”. All her life, she has acted as a medium for channeling the powers she derives from the dark dimension to keep her young and kicking it. She is also not the only being in the Marvel Universe who is rather old. Thor claimed he was around 1500 years old already in Infinity War. Kevin Feige has claimed that Thanos is at least 1000 years old.
4. How does she get to live so long?
The Dark Dimension is the epicenter of all dark magic in the Marvel Multi-Verse. It is a reservoir of great power that never runs out but it comes at a heavy price. Although the price to be paid for deriving power from the Dark Dimension is not something everybody could pay. The Ancient One has managed to find a loophole. She manages to absorb the powers of the Dark Dimension to fight off the very entity she uses to not age like an average human being. The Dark Dimension has its effects but there are also repercussions and consequences for doing so. We are still to find what price the Ancient One had to pay for this.
3. Why did she give away the Time Stone to Bruce Banner?
When the Hulk travels to New York City in the past and ends up trying to convince the Ancient One into giving up the Time Stone, she first refuses. But then the Hulk uses sound logic and reason to convince her. She is still not convinced. And that’s when Bruce Banner throws the curveball by claiming that why is she so adamant on not giving the Time Stone to him when Doctor Strange gave it away like Free Candy in Infinity War. Doctor Strange is, according to the Ancient One, the best of all of the mages, wizards and sorcerers combined. If he was willing to give away the Time Stone, then there had to be a plan already set in motion. That is exactly why the Ancient One gave away the Time Stone – because she believed in Doctor Strange.
2. Is she stronger than the Mad Titan?
That would be hard to say. A fight between the Ancient One and Thanos wearing the Infinity Gauntlet will not be something you would want to miss. Remember, it took a long time for Thanos to defeat Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth who is still a rookie. Imagine what would have happened in Thanos had fought the Ancient One himself. The result would have been the total annihilation of the purple megalomaniac. It’s a shame that she died a year earlier than when Thanos and his army first braced the surface of the Earth.
1. What is her actual name?
Nobody knows for sure. The comic books claim that the real name of the Ancient One is Yao, an ordinary farmer of Kamar-Taj. He was later forced to relinquish the name and go for the more prominent sounding Ancient One instead. In the comic books, the Ancient One is now a cosmic entity. In the movies, the Ancient One’s real name nor origin or backstory is stated in any form. So we will probably never know.
Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it! You know, I just… do things