In addition to being the author behind the worldwide Harry Potter phenomenon and the writer of the screenplay for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, J.K. Rowling has been a celebrity advocate for human rights — that includes LGBTQ rights. While she previously told fans that there are, of course, gay characters in her magical world, we may see Albus Dumbledore himself as an openly gay wizard on the big screen in a Fantastic Beasts sequel.
During a press conference with the cast and crew on Thursday, Rowling suggested this will be a possibility when Dumbledore appears down the line. According to Variety, she said:
Well, I’m very comfortable with the question. I would like to say, because this is obviously a five-part story, there’s lots to unpack in that relationship … You will see Dumbledore as a younger man and quite a troubled man. We’ll see him at that formative period of his life. As far as his sexuality is concerned … watch this space.
Dumbledore was played by Richard Harris and Michael Gambon in the Harry Potter films, and director David Yates confirmed they’ve begun their casting search for a younger Dumbledore in the Fantastic Beasts sequels, of which there will be four. Rowling revealed the character to be gay in 2007, and we know the character had a tumultuous relationship with the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (played in the films by Johnny Depp) during his younger years.
LGBTQ visibility in Hollywood films is still incredibly low: according to GLAAD’s annual report card, there were only 22 out of 126 movies released by a major studio in 2015 that featured LGBTQ characters. Oftentimes what you end up with is something like Star Trek Beyond, a film that tried envisioning Sulu as a gay man with a family and ended up with something so diluted many audiences couldn’t tell the difference. In other words, the “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach.
The first of the Fantastic Beasts films opens on November 18th. Here’s hoping Rowling & co. don’t let us down.