Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them takes place in the same universe – officially branded the Wizarding World – as screenwriter J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. However, it revolves around a previously tertiary character in Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and his attempts to recapture a menagerie of legendary animals accidentally let loose in 1926 New York City; several decades prior to Harry’s battle against You-Know-Who.
Nevertheless, many fans have speculated that younger versions of well-known Harry Potter characters could well appear in either Fantastic Beasts and/or one of the four sequels that are now being planned by Rowling. Fantastic Beasts director David Yates (who will also helm the sequel) has now confirmed to Screen Rant that Albus Dumbledore will appear in the next Fantastic Beasts installment, and that casting for the role is underway.
Yates, when he spoke during the roundtable interviews at the Fantastic Beasts press junket, also formally confirmed that Newt will be returning in the Fantastic Beasts sequel. He teased that Dumbledore and Scamander will even have a handful of scenes together in the film:
“In the second movie Dumbledore comes back. He’s got a couple of good scenes with Newt… We’re discussing who would play Dumbledore, any suggestions would be good. [Laughs]”
Warner Bros. announced plans for a Fantastic Beasts trilogy written by Rowling before the first installment entered production. As mentioned, those plans have now been extended to five movies total. Early box office projections for Fantastic Beasts suggest the film ought to perform well enough to justify moving forward with the second film (currently scheduled for 2018). The exact details of the sequel’s storyline are not yet known, other than it “moves deeper into an increasingly dark time for the wizarding world.”
That “dark time for the wizarding world” is believed to to a reference to Gallert Grindelwald’s rise to power in the Wizarding World. Grindelwald, as a young man, was friends with Dumbledore (one whom Dumbledore was secretly in love with), before he became a powerful dark wizard later in his life. Rumor has it that Grindelwald is the character whom Johnny Depp has already been cast to play in the Fantastic Beasts sequel, but that remains unconfirmed at this stage.
If this rumor is accurate, then Fantastic Beasts 2 will presumably cast an an actor around Depp’s age (53 this year, though Depp often plays “younger”) to portray its young Dumbledore. Richard Harris portrayed Dumbledore in the first two Potter films before he passed away and Michael Gambon took over the role for the remaining movies in the series.