A Lack Of LGBTQ Characters In The Franchise
Had Fantastic Beasts 2 actually included an openly gay Dumbledore, it would have been a milestone for the series, which is not exactly known for celebrating LGBTQ characters. Dumbledore himself was only revealed to be gay after a fan specifically asked Rowling about it, and nothing in the books or the films makes any reference to his sexuality at all. Some fans even believe that Rowling's comments were only made to placate fans, who were starting to comment on the lack of diversity in the series.
Albus is also the only confirmed LGBTQ character who appears in the original film series, and although young Dumbledore had romantic feelings for Grindelwald, Rowling has not confirmed that Grindelwald was also gay - only that he was aware of his friends' feelings and used them to manipulate him. Several other characters within the original series have been speculated to be LGBTQ, largely because they fit several somewhat lazy stereotypes; Madame Hooch (Zoe Wanamaker) the cropped-haired Quidditch ref and flying teacher at Hogwarts, and Professor Sprout (Miriam Margolyes) the chubby Herbology Professor, are both often considered to be lesbians, for example. However, none of the characters are confirmed to be LGBTQ except for Dumbledore himself.
Harry Potter And The Cursed Child was also at the center of controversy for a lack of diversity when it comes to characters' sexuality, with fans accusing it of queerbaiting (using hints of LGBTQ storylines to attract queer readers/viewers, but not actually following through on those promises). The Albus/Scorpius relationship was at the center of this storm, with an intensity that pointed toward a romantic attraction, and even a comparison to the Snape/Lily relationship, but an official label as no more than "friendship". Now, with two Fantastic Beasts films confirmed to be without openly gay characters, that leaves the Harry Potter franchise with seven books, ten movies, a play, and an entire fictional universe in which only one character is actually gay (and we only know that from an interview).
The Wizarding World Is White
Of course, it's not only the lack of queer witches and wizards that raises eyebrows in the Harry Potter fandom; there is also a distinct lack of people of color. Now, there are a couple of PoC characters in the Harry Potter series to break up the overwhelmingly white wizarding world. However, these characters are all secondary characters: Cho Chang (Katie Leung) and the Patil sisters are the lone named Asian characters, and while Cho gets a small sub-plot as a love interest, the Patil sisters get only a line or two (although there is a little more attention paid to all three in the books). There are a few more black wizards, including Kingsley Shacklebolt (George Harris), Angelina Johnson (Tiana Benjamin), Dean Thomas (Alfred Enoch) and Lee Jordan (Luke Youngblood) - but again, these are all minor roles.
One fan broke down the dialogue in the films, and his figures show an estimated 99.53% of the dialogue across all eight films to be spoken by white characters. Given that data from the Institute of Race Relations estimated that in 2014, just over 87% of the population of the UK was white, this is far from an accurate portrayal of the racial makeup of the UK, let alone of a magical world that apparently exists without racism (except against the muggle-born).
On a more positive note, The Cursed Child was on the other side of a controversy over race, with the London cast included Noma Dumezweni as Hermione - a casting choice that changed this central character's race from white to black. Rowling supported the change, and claimed that she didn't explicitly state that Hermione was white in the books. It was certainly refreshing to see The Cursed Child throw out preconceived notions of the main characters' races in order to add a little diversity to the show, but this still leaves the franchise as a whole predominantly filled with white lead characters.
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald/Fantastic Beasts 2 (2018) release date: Nov 16, 2018