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Jude Law explains why Dumbledore’s sexuality won’t feature in Fantastic Beasts 2

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Moya Crockett
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Jude Law, who is playing young Dumbledore in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them sequel, has confirmed that the character’s identity as a gay man will not feature in the film. 

Earlier this year, there was widespread frustration – and anger – when director David Yates announced that the character of Albus Dumbledore would not be “explicitly gay” in the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

JK Rowling herself has been frequently criticised for only revealing Dumbledore’s sexuality three months after the final Harry Potter novel was published – and never mentioning or even noticeably alluding to it in the books themselves. As a result, many fans saw Yates’ declaration as yet another example of queer characters’ sexuality being erased in pop culture.

Writing for Stylist.co.uk, Emily Reynolds described the “straight-washing” of Dumbledore as “a real disappointment”.

“It wouldn’t change his character; it wouldn’t really change the storyline in any significant way,” she wrote. “But it would have been a vital acknowledgement that sometimes people – people who are complex, good, kind, interesting, successful, powerful, unstereotype-able or, sometimes, wizards – are gay, without that negatively changing or ruining their lives.”

Now, Jude Law – the actor who will play young Dumbledore in Fantastic Beasts 2 – has discussed the issue of the wizard’s sexuality for the first time. But his answer is unlikely to appease fans who are unhappy with Dumbledore’s ‘straight-washing’.

JK Rowling has previously defended her decision not to explicitly mention Dumbledore’s sexuality in the Harry Potter books 

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Law said Rowling told him that Dumbledore was definitely a gay character. “But as with humans, your sexuality doesn’t necessarily define you; he’s multifaceted.”

Law went on to suggest that Dumbledore’s sexuality might play a greater role in later Fantastic Beasts films.

“What you got to remember this is only the second Fantastic Beasts film in a series and what’s brilliant about Jo’s writing is how she reveals her characters, peels them to the heart over time,” he said.

“You’re just getting to know Albus in this film, and there’s obviously a lot more to come. We learn a little about his past in the beginning of this film, and characters and their relationships will unfold naturally which I’m excited to reveal. But we’re not going to reveal everything all at once.”

Law also confirmed that he doesn’t have any scenes with Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts 2. Depp plays Grindelwald in the series, the dark wizard who Rowling has said Dumbledore had a romantic relationship with as a teenager (although in the books, their relationship is simply depicted as an intense but platonic friendship).

However, he suggested again that Dumbledore and Grindelwald will meet in a later Fantastic Beasts film. “As I said before, this is only Part 2 of a longer story… The past will reveal itself.”

The producers of Fantastic Beasts have been criticised for casting Johnny Depp as Grindelwald 

Depp’s casting as Grindelwald has faced its own controversies. It was announced that he would be playing the dark wizard shortly after the actor settled out of court with ex-wife Amber Heard, who had accused him of domestic violence. (Depp always denied the allegations against him.)

Rowling defended Depp’s casting in 2016, saying she was “delighted” the actor would be playing Grindelwald. “He’s done incredible things with that character,” she added.

As the #MeToo movement began to gain traction, Depp’s casting came under scrutiny once more. But in November last year, director David Yates appeared to dismiss the debate, saying: “With Johnny, it seems to me there was one person who took a pop at him and claimed something… To me, it doesn’t bear any more analysis. It’s a dead issue.”

Hmm. No gay Dumbledore and the troubling presence of Depp? We’ll reserve judgement on Fantastic Beasts 2 until it hits cinemas, but it’s safe to say we have concerns.

Images: Getty Images 

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Moya Crockett

Moya is Women’s Editor at stylist.co.uk, where she is currently overseeing the Visible Women campaign. As well as writing about inspiring women and feminism, she also covers subjects including careers, podcasts and politics. Carrying a tiny bottle of hot sauce on her person at all times is one of the many traits she shares with both Beyoncé and Hillary Clinton.

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