Thursday, February 01, 2018

Fantastic Beasts Director Hints Dumbledore's Homosexuality Might Not Be Addressed

After Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was published in 2007, fans were excited by author J.K. Rowling's announcement that she had always thought of the beloved Hogwarts headmaster Dumbledore as gay. Quickly following the revelation that Dumbledore had a complicated relationship with Gellert Grindelwald in their youth, some realized his sexuality wasn't explicitly canon throughout the series.

Given that representation is becoming more important than ever in marginalized communities, the recent news that Dumbledore's identity might be concealed in the next Fantastic Beasts installment is not something Harry Potter fans are or should be expected to be happy about.

In an exclusive interview with Entertainment Weekly, director David Yates had this to say about this year’s sequel addressing Dumbledore's relationship with Grindelwald:
“Not explicitly,” Yates replied when asked if the film makes it clear that Dumbledore is gay. “But I think all the fans are aware of that. He had a very intense relationship with Grindelwald when they were young men. They fell in love with each other’s ideas, and ideology and each other.”
Though Yates believes fans were aware that Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald might not address Dumbledore's sexuality, his semi-confirmation comes as news to those who have been waiting for this part of the character's past to no longer be read between the lines its due.

Backlash from fans spurred Rowling, who serves as screenwriter for the Fantastic Beasts series, to respond:
When previously questioned whether or not Dumbledore's sexuality would come up in the franchise, Rowling said at a press conference for the first film:
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. I will say that you will see Dumbledore as a younger man and quite a troubled man. Because he wasn’t always this age. He was always very clever, and he was what… we’ll see what I think is an informative period of his life. As far as his sexuality is concerned, watch this space.
In wake of the disappointment, some are trying to contend on how or when Dumbledore's sexuality may be given its proper treatment. For one, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is only the first of four sequels to come out. Yates comments for the film may only apply to this next sequel. However, it seems fruitless that a gay character won't be inherently gay throughout his life, a casting call for younger actors to portray Dumbledore and Grindelwald might also hint that their relationship will come full circle at a later time in another subsequent film.

Given the fact that the series has both characters to use at their disposal, it seems like a waste and a disservice to keep their romance entirely in the closet. I'll be watching The Crimes of Grindelwald space indeed for any developments.

What do you think of Dumbledore's sexuality in the Fantastic Beasts movies? How or when do you think it should be explored?

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