Harry Potter fans aren’t happy with David Yates and J.K. Rowling for “straightwashing” a beloved character, and Rowling’s not too pleased at them either.
The reason? Yates says the upcoming installment in the Fantastic Beasts film won’t “explicitly” address Dumbledore’s sexuality.
Back in 2007, after the Harry Potter book series was finished, J.K. Rowling made the announcement that Dumbledore, the beloved patriarch of the series and mentor/father figure to main character Harry, was gay.
She later released information concerning Dumbledore’s past and a certain intense relationship with a friend turned enemy called Grindelwald.
Then, when the new Fantastic Beasts film series came to light, fans were delighted to find out that younger versions of Dumbledore and Grindelwald would be present in the series. Not only that, but J.K. Rowling hinted last year that their prior romantic relationship would be explored.
Rowling said: “Grindelwald is going to become a much more prominent feature moving forward. I can tell you that we do talk about Dumbledore and Grindelwald.
“I’m not allowed to say too much but I can say one thing… we were doing some script sessions the other day, and we always knew it would be more than one movie. But I’ve now done the plotting properly, and we’re pretty sure it’s going to be five movies.”
Now however, it looks like the next film will not “explicitly” touch on Dumbledore’s relationship.
Director David Yates spoke to EW and said:
“I think all the fans are aware of that. He had a very intense relationship with Grindelwald when they were young men. They fell in love with each other’s ideas, and ideology and each other.”
He added of Dumbledore: “He’s a maverick and a rebel and he’s an inspiring teacher at Hogwarts. He’s witty and has a bit of edge. He’s not this elder statesman. He’s a really kinetic guy. And opposite Johnny Depp as Grindelwald, they make an incredible pairing.”
As you might imagine, many fans were not ok with this. Many took to twitter to share their displeasure.
But, J.K. Rowling was not having the abuse and bullying being thrown at her, so she posted out the following tweet.
In addition, we must remember the added factor of Johnny Depp. After the rise of the MeeToo campaign, many people questioned the inclusion of Johnny Depp as Grindelwald in the new film series.
J.K. Rowling chose to defend Depp.
“When Johnny Depp was cast as Grindelwald, I thought he’d be wonderful in the role. However, around the time of filming his cameo in the first movie, stories had appeared in the press that deeply concerned me and everyone most closely involved in the franchise,” Rowling wrote in a statement on her website, referencing domestic violence allegations made against Depp by his ex-wife Amber Heard. “Harry Potter fans had legitimate questions and concerns about our choice to continue with Johnny Depp in the role. As David Yates, long-time Potter director, has already said, we naturally considered the possibility of recasting. I understand why some have been confused and angry about why that didn’t happen.”
Many people were angry at Rowling for taking Depp’s side, and many believe Depp should be taken off the project (including former lead Daniel Radcliffe).
While it is disappointing and upsetting that Dumbledore won’t be open representation for gay men in the next film, this isn’t the end of the story. Perhaps that side of the character is planned to be explored in one of the three other films expected for the series.
Wishful thinking aside, there is now a growing concern of the Harry Potter-world not being a safe place for LGBTQ people.
Two years ago, the script for the Cursed Child play released, and several fans noted the gay undertones between the characters Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy.
While the script ultimately subjugates them to straightness, many fans felt the story could have gone in another direction (if it weren’t pandering to the general market in order to make the most money).
While J.K. Rowling doesn’t deserve bullying or abuse for her writing decisions, LGBTQ fans are justified in their loss of trust for the creator and the series.
We’ll see where we all go from here.