Actor Jude Law will play Albus Dumbledore in the sequel to Fantastic Beasts. The second film in the series will show Dumbledore decades before he became Headmaster at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
At this point in the story, Dumbledore is the wizarding school’s Transfiguration professor and a peer of Gellert Grindelwald — the dark wizard in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them — played by Johnny Depp.
“Jude Law is a phenomenally talented actor whose work I have long admired, and I’m looking forward to finally having the opportunity to work with him,” Director David Yates said. “I know he will brilliantly capture all the unexpected facets of Albus Dumbledore as J.K. Rowling reveals this very different time in his life.”
But will Dumbledore be openly gay?
In 2007, J.K. Rowling outed Dumbledore as gay during a stop on her book tour at New York’s Carnegie Hall.
“My truthful answer to you… I always thought of Dumbledore as gay,” she told the audience who leapt to their feet in standing ovation.
Rowling then continued to explain the backstory: “Dumbledore fell in love with Grindelwald, and that that added to his horror when Grindelwald showed himself to be what he was. To an extent, do we say it excused Dumbledore a little more because falling in love can blind us to an extent? But, he met someone as brilliant as he was, and rather like Bellatrix he was very drawn to this brilliant person, and horribly, terribly let down by him. Yeah, that’s how I always saw Dumbledore.”
At one point while filming the sixth movie, Rowling had to edit a line that hinted Dumbledore was straight. “In fact, recently I was in a script read through for the sixth film, and they had Dumbledore saying a line to Harry early in the script saying I knew a girl once, whose hair… [laughter]. I had to write a little note in the margin and slide it along to the scriptwriter, “Dumbledore’s gay!”
“If I’d known it would make you so happy, I would have announced it years ago!”
Gay rights activist Peter Tatchell welcomed the news about Dumbledore, but added his disappointment this wasn’t actually brought up in the films and books. He said, “It’s good that children’s literature includes the reality of gay people, since we exist in every society. But I am disappointed that she did not make Dumbledore’s sexuality explicit in the Harry Potter book. Making it obvious would have sent a much more powerful message of understanding and acceptance.”
So here is their chance to get it right.
Before the announcement of Jude Law winning the role, The Guardian’s Ben Child was already speculating on how Dumbledore’s sexuality should play out in the new films.
“It’s important that Rowling addresses the question of Dumbledore’s sexuality and how the wizarding world sees same-sex relationships. Some might say that no universe in which goblins, elves and giants are real and it’s possible to travel from London to the Yorkshire moors in the whisk of a wand should be panicking about its approach to representing real-world diversity. They might argue that Dumbledore’s sexual preferences should have no bearing on the way he is presented in the new film series. Yet is it possible for a society that spawns coteries of evil such as the Death Eaters, with their Nazi-like attitudes towards non-wizards, to be blind to other forms of prejudice?”
In a blog post on Mugglenet.com, Elayna Mae Darcy adds: “We have the chance to witness, in real time, a Dumbledore who is young and vivacious and who, hopefully, both acknowledges his sexuality and gives us a chance to see a well-rounded gay character in a mainstream blockbuster.”
“Representation can change people’s lives and make them feel seen… Kids growing up right now have a chance to experience one of the most important characters in the entire saga as someone who’s confident with who he is.”
We agree. Also, a make out session and some heavy petting between Law and Depp wouldn’t be so bad either.