When you announce a prequel to a popular story, fans immediately (and quite naturally) start filling in the blanks of what they want to see in their heads. Whether it’s the dual that crippled Darth Vader or the story of how Nick Fury lost his eye, everyone has their fanboy wishlists.
So you can imagine what was going through the minds of ‘Harry Potter’ fans when they learned that they’d be getting a whole series of prequels in the form of the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ movies. And once the setting of those stories (the early- to mid-twentieth century) became known, one of the standout items on that wishlist very quickly became some exploration if not of Dumbledore’s sexuality per se, then of his relationship with Grindelwald, the nature of which was only revealed to fans (by J.K. Rowling herself) after the release of the seventh and final book.
While Grindelwald only fleetingly appeared in 2015’s ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’, the announcement that Jude Law would be portraying a younger version of Dumbledore in a sequel that places the dark wizard’s name in its title, fans were obviously excited. So imagine their disappointment when director David Yates said that ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ would “not explicitly” deal with the subject, further implying that the film would rely on fans’ prior knowledge to fill in that bit of context.
Well, now more questions have been raised about exactly how (and, increasingly, if) ‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’ will deal with this relationship and the emotional stakes it carries in light of a certain someone’s ongoing reign of terror. In the course of a wide-ranging interview with Entertainment Weekly, Jude Law let slip that his version of Dumbledore will not, in fact, share any scenes with Johnny Depp’s Grindelwald in the film:
“I don’t actually have any scenes with Johnny. As I said before, this is only Part Two of a longer story. I’ve always admired him from afar, but we don’t know each other, and I’ve not yet met him on this. In many ways that suits the relationship as it’s been many years since they’ve seen each other. So there’s complexity in that that’s fun to mine. Again, the past will reveal itself.”
So yeah, that’s frustrating. But it’s not entirely discouraging either. In the same interview, Law explained that he’d had the opportunity to discuss his character with J.K. Rowling and that in the course of that conversation she “gave me a very good sense of Albus’ life journey and who he was and what was happening in his head and his heart and his world for this particular story.” The actor also noted that “there was so much reference to interior life,” in his discussions with Rowling.
It’s also worth pointing out that Law’s remarks (excerpted above) suggest that the subject will be addressed more explicitly as the series progresses. Perhaps in the third film? Rowling has also implied that it will come up at some point, encouraging fans to “watch this space.”
For now, at least, we’ll just have to wait and see.
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.