One of the most creatively exciting parts of working on a prequel to a story as iconic as J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series is being able to explore hitherto uncharted waters, especially since Rowling has a knack for dropping fun facts and tidbits about characters and places that didn't make it into the original text. One of the most prominent was back in 2007 when the author revealed that headmaster Albus Dumbledore is actually gay, but it turns out, that won't really play a role when the character is portrayed in the upcoming Fantastic Beasts sequel, The Crimes of Grindelwald.
According to director David Yates, the movie doesn't make Dumbledore's sexuality "explicitly" clear.
"But I think all the fans are aware of that," he told Entertainment Weekly. "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."
Rowling relayed the story of of Dumbledore's affection for Grindelwald in Carnegie Hall over ten years ago to huge applause. Readers were grateful for the representation during a time when gay marriage was not yet legal in the U.K., U.S., or Australia. While later the announcement was critiqued for doing the bare minimum (it was a convenient way to say you have diversity without going as far as explicitly putting it in the story), The Crimes of Grindelwald had a chance to make this right. Rowling even teased its inclusion during a press conference in 2016, saying "as far as [Dumbledore's] sexuality is concerned...watch this space."
How long are we supposed to wait? The Crimes Of Grindelwald tells the story of a partnership Rowling point-blank told us was romantic, at least for Dumbledore. This has been common knowledge for a decade. To not include it isn't an oversight — it's purposeful.
Here's a thing I want in movies going forward. Either fucking have gay characters or don't, but I'm tired of creators "teasing" LGBTQ characters in movies.— Ira Madison III (@ira) January 31, 2018
Whatever the intention, omitting this huge aspect of Dumbledore's character comes across as it not being important to the creators — but fans feel very, very differently.
Honestly this is the perfect example of what I'm talking about. NOT saying Dumbledore is gay on-screen isn't just "not taking a stance on supporting LGBTQ+ rights," it's actively supporting a status quo that marginalizes queer people. https://t.co/fyKQzae9S4— Maggs (@SamMaggs) January 31, 2018
"Honestly this is the perfect example of what I'm talking about," tweeted writer Sam Maggs. "NOT saying Dumbledore is gay on-screen isn't just 'not taking a stance on supporting LGBTQ+ rights,' it's actively supporting a status quo that marginalizes queer people."
“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."— Connor Goldsmith (@dreamoforgonon) January 31, 2018
IT'S 2018 LMAO GET IT TOGETHER
"IT'S 2018 LMAO GET IT TOGETHER," a fan cried.
It comes down to this: Whether or not you think Rowling's 2007 announcement was enough, the franchise actually had the opportunity to put their money where their mouth is and they chose not to, at least for this upcoming movie.
This, plus the controversial casting of Johnny Depp as Grindelwald, amounts to two pretty big strikes against a much beloved series. For all the fans that Harry Potter has, it doesn't appear to listen to them.