Harry Potter has recently come under fire for creating and publicizing an LGBT character - in this case, Albus Dumbledore - while denying him proper onscreen representation. However, this same bait-and-switch is present in some of the biggest film franchises in Hollywood - and it needs to stop.
J.K. Rowling finished writing Harry Potter in 2007, with final installment of the movie franchise, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, released in 2011. But since then, the franchise has shown no signs of dying out. In fact, if anything, Harry Potter and the wizarding world that Rowling created has only grown in popularity, thanks in no small part to Rowling's continued willingness to keep it alive. Writing regularly for the website Pottermore and frequently engaging with fans on social media, Rowling has gone on to reveal many tidbits of information regarding the beloved characters of the franchise, including the fact that Albus Dumbledore is gay.
That has led to many fan-theories which, again, Rowling has been happy to indulge. She even added that Dumbledore was deeply in love with the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald. The pair had shared a close friendship (as far as we all knew) before going their separate ways; Dumbledore to become a respected headmaster and public figure in the wizarding community, and Grindelwald to reign terror across Europe. It ended in a duel between the two, which Dumbledore won. Their tragic relationship captured many reader's imaginations, with copious fanfiction deepening the bond. But this was all in interviews - not even the source - and gets much messier when you crossover to the movies.
This Page: Dumbledore's Sexuality Is Being Hidden In Fantastic Beasts 2
Dumbledore's Sexuality Is Being Hidden In Fantastic Beasts 2
Imagine fans' delight, then, when Rowling announced we'd be seeing a young Dumbledore and Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise. Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) made a brief debut at the end of the first Fantastic Beasts movie, and the second installment, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, will have the titular dark wizard as its main focus. Traveling Europe and amassing followers, Grindelwald's power is rising, and it's up to Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and his old Hogwarts professor, Dumbledore (Jude Law) to stop him.
As soon as details of the movie were released, fans were eager to see these two former flames on screen together. Surely there would be a huge amount of hurt, pain, and unresolved tension? Would Dumbledore and Grindelwald still harbor feelings for one another, despite Grindelwald's dark crimes? Would we see a tender moment between the pair before Dumbledore came to his senses and realized the man Grindelwald had become?
As it turns out, it's likely we'll see none of it. In a recent interview, director David Yates admitted that Dumbledore's sexuality won't be explicitly mentioned. While that doesn't rule it out for future installments, it does seem as though The Crimes of Grindelwald will be nothing more than an "us-against-them" formulaic tale, enhanced by a little magic. We all know that Dumbledore stopped Grindelwald eventually, and can surmise the entire Fantastic Beasts franchise will end with that infamous duel. What we don't know about, and what we wanted to see explored, was the complicated, intense relationship that we've been told existed between two of the wizarding world's most important creations.
Make no mistake, though; Warner Bros.' decision to take the easy way out - by not acknowledging that a known gay character could ever have romantic or sexual feelings towards another person - is not just limited to the Fantastic Beasts franchise, or even Warner Bros. themselves.
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald/Fantastic Beasts 2 (2018) release date: Nov 16, 2018