Harry Potter has recently come under fire for problems with its representation, although the “not-so-gay Dumbledore” controversy is just the latest in a long line of problems with diversity. There’s no doubt that Harry Potter is one of the biggest franchises of all time; the YA book series about a boy going to wizarding school became a worldwide sensation, spawning a huge fandom, eight films, an official play, and a whole new film franchise. Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is set to be just the first of five features, all entirely new and exploring some of the early history of the characters we know and love – especially that of Dumbledore (Jude Law) and Grindelwald (Johnny Depp).
While many fans are thrilled at the idea of more films within the wizarding world, others are a bit more cynical, considering the creation of a second massive film series to be more about the money than the stories. However, author J.K. Rowling has long been a fan darling, so there was hope that with her at the helm (as screenwriter), Fantastic Beasts could continue the Harry Potter legacy. Sadly, it seems that this isn’t happening, with multiple controversies marring the Fantastic Beasts franchise.
With some fans feeling betrayed over how both the new franchise and the author are dealing with diversity, this could mark a fall from grace for Rowling and the massive Harry Potter machine… but it’s far from the first time that the wizarding world has handled diversity badly.
This Page: The Recent Fantastic Beast Controversies
Fantastic Beasts 2 Has Already Had Two Major Controversies
The new films are dealing with two major controversies; around the casting of Johnny Depp, and the sexuality of Dumbledore. Depp’s casting as Grindelwald raised eyebrows after his ex-wife Amber Heard accused the actor of domestic abuse. When fans called for Depp to be dumped from the production, Rowling announced that he would be staying put, in a statement that raised eyebrows by those who felt that it defended Depp.
In addition to that storm, a new controversy broke last week when director David Yates said that the film wouldn’t “explicitly” reference Dumbledore’s sexuality. The original Harry Potter films also didn’t reference the fact that Dumbledore is gay, but that was because this fact was only confirmed by Rowling in 2007, when it was too late to include it in the movies. Given that Fantastic Beasts 2 is centered on the relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald (a relationship that is most certainly romantic on Dumbledore’s side, at least), though, fans assumed that his sexuality would be a big part of it. Rowling’s response to the comments didn’t help, either, as she tweeted that “none of the angry people” had read the script, and that it was “only one installment“, hinting that Dumbledore may be more explicitly gay in future films; a carrot that the LGBTQ community wasn’t too happy about having dangled in front of them.
The general response to both Yates’s and Rowling’s comments is that there’s no reason to wait to make Dumbledore’s sexuality explicit, and that it is past time for the Harry Potter franchise to step things up in terms of diversity.
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