We recently learned that, despite introducing a young version of the iconic character, ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald‘ will not be dealing with Dumbledore’s sexuality. At least “not explicitly,” according to director David Yates.
Understandably, some fans are less than thrilled about this. Even setting aside the sexual politics and issues of LGBTQ representation in popular media, the existence of a past relationship (and a particularly intense one, by all accounts) between a villain of Grindelwald’s stature and a figure described by J.K. Rowling herself as “the epitome of goodness” is nothing if not compelling. Why introduce something like that if you’re not going to explore it?
But fans being fans and the internet being… well, the internet, it didn’t take long for the displeasure to make its way to Rowling herself. And in her own inimitable fashion, the author posted a response to Twitter:
Being sent abuse about an interview that didn’t involve me, about a screenplay I wrote but which none of the angry people have read, which is part of a five-movie series that’s only one instalment in, is obviously tons of fun, but you know what’s even *more* fun? pic.twitter.com/Rj6Zr8aKUk
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) January 31, 2018
Frankly, it’s understandable. As Rowling rightly points out, not only are there (at least) three more opportunities to explore this piece of the character’s history, none of us have actually seen this one yet. And this is consistent with Rowling’s past remarks on the subject, including the following, which predates the first film’s release and makes clear that the relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald has been very much on her mind throughout the process of developing the larger ‘Fantastic Beasts’ narrative:
“I can’t tell you everything I would like to say because this is obviously a five-part story so there’s a lot to unpack in that relationship. You will see Dumbledore as a younger man and quite a troubled man – he wasn’t always the sage… We’ll see him at that formative period of his life. As far as his sexuality is concerned… watch this space.”
Perhaps more to the point, though, is what we actually know about the history between the two men. Or rather, what we don’t. While we have long known the broad arc of Dumbledore’s relationship with Grindelwald, we don’t know exactly how it all played out (something which will surely change over the course of the next several films), let alone where the characters are in the course of that arc. What does Dumbledore know about Grindelwald at the start of the movie? And how much of that can he even find it in himself to believe? Alternately, the relationship may well be something the other characters don’t even learn about until, say, ‘Fantastic Beasts 3’. Your guess is as good as mine.
Directed by David Yates from a screenplay by ‘Harry Potter’ creator J.K. Rowling, ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ stars Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Johnny Depp, Zoe Kravitz, and Jude Law. The film is scheduled for release on November 16, 2018.