Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald director David Yates has addressed questions over whether the film will explore Albus Dumbledore’s sexuality.
The Crimes of Grindelwald will include the first appearance of a younger Dumbledore in the newest Harry Potter franchise, and fans want to know whether the film will touch upon the character’s sexuality. While speaking at Carnegie Hall in 2007, J.K Rowling confirmed that — though it is never explicitly stated in her books — Dumbledore was gay. He had been madly in unrequited love with his childhood friend, Gellert Grindelwald, who grew into a dark wizard. Dumbledore eventually clashed with Grindelwald after years of friendship, defeating the dark wizard before the events of Rowling’s main Harry Potter series.
“Falling in love can blind us to an extent,” Rowling said in 2007, who went on to describe the love Dumbledore had for Grindelwald as a “great tragedy.”
Yates told Entertainment Weekly that his film wasn’t going to acknowledge Dumbledore’s sexuality, not explicitly, adding he thought fans were already aware of that fact.
“He had a very intense relationship with Grindelwald when they were young men,” Yates said. “They fell in love with each other’s ideas, and ideology and each other.”
Fans were notably disappointed with the decision. Vox’s culture reporter, Aja Romano, said on Twitter, “Do you know what it’s like being a queer Harry Potter fan waiting for queer representation in your fandom since 1999,” explaining why the inclusion of Dumbledore’s sexuality in the film was incredibly important.
“Do you know what it’s like to spend two decades arguing that the creator of the series you love is listening and trying to evolve only to see her essentially throw up her hands again and again and give away to systemic erasure of queer and genderqueer and people of color,” Romano wrote.
Even though Yates won’t acknowledge Dumbledore’s sexual orientation in Crimes of Grindelwald, the there is still a possibility that later installments in the Fantastic Beasts franchise will explore it. Rowling, who helped write the script, answered questions during a press conference two years ago about Dumbledore’s sexuality being incorporated into the films.
“I can’t tell you everything I would like to say because this is obviously a five-part story so there’s lots to unpack in that relationship,” Rowling said, as reported by Entertainment Weekly. “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.”
Dumbledore’s sexuality will hopefully come up in future films — the man deserves to have some romance himself — but it’s unclear if that will ever come to fruition at this time.
The Crimes of Grindelwald will be released on Nov. 16.
Update: J.K. Rowling responded to disappointed and angry fans on Twitter yesterday following director David Yates’ confirmation that Dumbledore’s sexual orientation won’t be addressed in the movie. Rowling’s comments about The Crimes of Grindelwald being just one piece in a five-film franchise led to a newfound optimism for some fans, who now suspect his sexuality will be explored in future movies.
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
Critics have argued that representation of queer characters in the Harry Potter universe was incredibly important to fans. Jill Pantozzi, managing editor at io9, tweeted a response to Rowling, saying, “Please remember how many young people need that in their media and acknowledge it’s important to you too. It would mean the world.”