Three of Disney’s major tentpoles last year – “Beauty and the Beast,” “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” – all teased the possibility of inclusion of LGBT characters in various interviews pre-release. When people got around to seeing the films though, two of them had none whatsoever and even the third had one who was ridiculously chaste and subtle enough it wasn’t quite sure.
Now, rival Warner Bros. Pictures is hitting its own issues along these lines with “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald”. The second of five films serving as a prequel to the “Harry Potter” films, this one introduces Jude Law as a younger version of Albus Dumbledore opposite Johnny Depp as Grindelwald.
A decade ago, author J.K. Rowling revealed that the character of Dumbledore was gay and his infatuation with his childhood friend Grindelwald, when they were both young men, was important. Grindelwald used those feelings of unrequited love to manipulate the younger Dumbledore and in doing so made his ultimate betrayal of him all the more powerful.
In the timeline of the new films, the betrayal happened years before the events of ‘Fantastic Beasts’ but the tragedy should still serve as a key motivator for Dumbledore to hunt down Grindelwald and ultimately defeat him by the end of these new films. Speaking with EW, director David Yates says Dumbledore’s sexuality will pretty much be kept under wraps. Yates says:
“Not explicitly [makes clear Dumbledore is gay]. But I think all the fans are aware of that. He had a very intense relationship with Grindelwald when they were young men. They fell in love with each other’s ideas, and ideology and each other. [Dumbledore is] a maverick and a rebel and he’s an inspiring teacher at Hogwarts. He’s witty and has a bit of edge. He’s not this elder statesman. He’s a really kinetic guy. And opposite Johnny Depp as Grindelwald, they make an incredible pairing.”
Rowling herself has weighed in on the backlash on Twitter, suggesting fans upset by Yates’ comments are jumping to conclusions about her plan for the character. She previously said that with this being a five-part story there’s “lots to unpack in that relationship… as far as his sexuality is concerned – watch this space.”
“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald” opens on November 16th.