Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald hasn't been released yet, but already the latest entry in J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World is getting fans annoyed. What's making the sequel so contentious?
The universe spawned around Harry Potter is something that many fans hold dear; across books, movies and much more besides, it has bred an impassioned fandom that have taken real ownership of the mythology. With such weight, it's understandable that people won't always agree with the decisions that Rowling makes for her characters and universe.
However, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald seems to have caused more divisions than ever. The latest entry ostensibly continues the Fantastic Beasts franchise However, with the debut of Jude Law's Dumbledore and a focus on the rise of Gellert Grindelwald, a dark wizard initially teased in the first book, it's clear there will be bigger ramifications - and that's creating problems. From casting choices to plotlines, there's a lot of issues that are causing plenty of fervent discussion among moviegoers before they've even seen it.
- This Page: Fantastic Beasts 2's Handling of Grindelwald
- Page 2: Fantastic Beasts 2's Handling of Harry Potter Canon
The Casting Of Johnny Depp As Grindelwald
Without doubt, the most volatile issue surrounding Fantastic Beasts 2 is the decision to keep Johnny Depp in the central role of Gellert Grindelwald. Following accusations of abuse from ex-wife Amber Heard, Depp's personal life has been the subject of many tabloid stories, with reported substance abuse just one of the many other issues plaguing the star. Rowling's Harry Potter universe has long been a safe haven for many; a place where fans feel they find acceptance and the strength needed to tackle many past issues, including abuse. However, Rowling's decision to stand by Depp and not to recast the role, has been a source of upset for many. The writer is adamant that her conscience is clear, and director David Yates stated that the Depp he knows is full of decency and kindness. Depp has stayed largely silent on the matter, other than to say he feels bad Rowling had to defend him.
With three more movies left in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, Depp's role is only going to get ever more prominent. Normally, recasting such a vital role in a franchise would be problematic, but it's already been established that Grindelwald is happy to change his appearance. Indeed, that fact provides a replacement who'd be perfect; in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Colin Farrell played Grindelwald in disguise as Percival Graves, to great acclaim. Many fans preferred Farrell even before Depp's issues came to light, and Rowling and Yates' refusal to put Farrell in the role is a bitter pill for many to swallow.
Fantastic Beasts 2 Is Avoiding Dumbledore and Grindelwald's Relationship
When J.K. Rowling announced that Albus Dumbledore was gay and had been in love with Grindelwald, fans praised her for including such a prominent LGBTQ character in the Harry Potter series. Even if Dumbledore's sexuality had never actually been raised in the text itself, many identified with Dumbledore and appreciated the complex relationship he had in his youth with a man who would go on to become one of the darkest wizards of all time. When it was announced, then, that Jude Law would be playing the younger Dumbledore in Fantastic Beasts 2, it was quickly assumed that we would be seeing the relationship between the two wizards played out on screen. Given that the two were no longer romantically involved during the Fantastic Beasts timeline, fans weren't expecting to see happier, more loving moments, but given the significance that Rowling has always given to Grindelwald's role in Dumbledore's life, as his great love, it wasn't too much of a stretch to hope for some flashbacks or some angst-filled scenes between Law and Depp.
However, that was shot down rather quickly: director David Yates stated The Crimes of Grindelwald would "not explicitly" reference their relationship, with it subsequently coming to life the two actors don't even share the screen. While the love between the two men is hinted at - the trailers showed Grindelwald in the mirror of Erised when Dumbledore looks in it - from reviews it appears there's no admission from either Dumbledore or Grindelwald, nor any kind of declaration of what happened in the past other than one line from Dumbledore, "We were closer than brothers." For LGBTQ fans hoping for some kind of representation, it's a pretty poor show. It's 2018 and Harry Potter is supposed to be one of the most accepting and inclusive fandoms out there, yet Rowling seems to have some difficulty in reflecting that on screen.
Page 2 of 2: Fantastic Beasts 2's Handling of Harry Potter Canon
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald/Fantastic Beasts 2 (2018) release date: Nov 16, 2018