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J.K. Rowling Is Not Interested in Fan Anger Over Dumbledore’s Sexuality Being “Not Explicit” in Fantastic Beasts Sequel

New look at Jude Law as Dumbledore in Fantastic Beasts 2

Yesterday, the internet erupted when news broke of an interview with Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Director David Yates, in which he said that Dumbledore would “not explicitly” be gay in the upcoming movie, despite what Rowling has said about the character. He correctly stated that “all the fans are aware of it,” and … yeah, that’s why they’re upset that it will be downplayed, but Rowling herself feels a bit differently.

She took to Twitter to address the outcry she was receiving on that very same platform, brushing it off while noting that none of us read the screenplay she wrote, and dropping more hints about the future:

And part of me hopes that her comments about the film being one part of a five-part series is an indication that the topic just doesn’t come up in the plot of this particular movie, but will be fully explored as the story progresses. (I’d find it surprising that it didn’t come up in this movie by coincidence, though, since it will apparently feature teen versions of Dumbledore and Grindelwald, as well.) Although, I completely understand fans who would still feel let down that Rowling wasn’t eager to dive right in and provide such excellent representation as soon as she possibly could.

But another part of me remembers an event at my college over a decade ago, when another student skirted owning up to his own homophobia during a debate by instead cautioning that if a same-sex marriage were shown on TV, children might see it! I could not, for the life of me, discern what that student thought the damage would be in a child seeing two people who love each other getting married—unless the person who thinks that is homophobic, which is the only way it makes sense—and I still find myself cynically wondering whether the decision to keep Dumbledore’s sexuality from being “explicit” has to do with an extremely backwards moral panic along the same lines. Not that I think Rowling feels that way, but I wouldn’t even close to put it past people making decisions in the movie industry.

She also pointed out that she didn’t give the interview, so there’s a glimmer of hope that Yates just didn’t choose his words carefully and things will be more “explicit” than he indicated, although anything that ambiguous probably won’t be what we’re hoping for anyway. Whatever the case, we were already frustrated with this franchise, and Rowling herself, over defenses of Johnny Depp, and this isn’t helping any. I don’t blame Rowling for trying to minimize the vitriol she has to deal with, but I hope that she’s not missing out on listening to fans who just want her to make good on the screen with things she’s said in real life, and I don’t blame fans who feel their valid concerns have been dismissed. After all, we’ve been strung along about this only to be disappointed so far, unless “not explicit” means something very different to us than it does to David Yates.

(image: Warner Bros.)

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Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.