British actress Noma Dumezweni has been chosen to play Hermione Granger in J.K. Rowling's West End theatre production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
It's the first time a leading character in the franchise will be portrayed by a person of colour.
Dumezweni, 45, who is of Swaziland-descent, has an acclaimed background in theatre performance having won an Olivier Award for her role as Ruth Younger in A Raisin In The Sun.
She stars alongside Paul Thornley as Ron Weasley and Jamie Parker as Harry Potter in the new play, which follows the life of the main Harry Potter characters, as well as their children, 19 years after we last saw them.
While some fans were quick to jump to say Hermione was always a white character - she's played by Emma Watson in the film franchise - others said Rowling never specified the actresses' skin colour but instead only describe her hair and teeth, and otherwise steered clear of physical descriptions.
As one reader pointed out “They were there, both of them, sitting outside Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor — Ron looking incredibly freckly, Hermione very brown, both waving frantically at him.”
Rowling took to Twitter herself this morning to clear the debate once and for all, writing: "Brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione."
Fans across the world have been taking to Twitter to celebrate the news and clarify those who feel Hermione should be white.
I love how Hermione being black is somehow more implausible to some people than a universe where the entire postal system depends on owls— Snukes (@QueerDiscOx) December 20, 2015
In an official statement, J.K. Rowling told Pottermore, "I’m so excited with the choice of casting for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I can’t wait to see Jamie, Noma and Paul bring the adult Harry, Hermione and Ron to life on stage next summer."
The play, which is the eighth story in the Harry Potter franchise, has been co-written by Jack Thorne and will be directed by Olivier and Tony award-winner John Tiffany. The music will be by Imogen Heap.
The official synopsis reads: "It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children. While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places."