The second film in the five-part Fantastic Beasts series is currently in production, and the early glimpses confirm that the wardrobe will remain as exquisitely lush and detailed as in the first. Oh, and Jude Law has joined the cast as a young Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, who will one day grow a very long beard and also counsel the Boy Who Lived.
Law had recently played a seemingly otherworldly leader when he was cast as Dumbledore, which surely informed David Yates’ decision. And when fans saw the first photo of the erstwhile Young Pope in the role, he looked every bit the hot, thirtysomething queer wizard of our dreams.
Seriously, we know this is a PG-13 movie, but that looks like a young Dumbledore who fucks. From the slight pout to the corduroy overcoat—easily one of the most sensual, tactile fabrics—Law was giving off some young Marxist zaddy vibes. And that’s not a reach, because Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling told fans nearly 10 years ago that Dumbledore was gay.
Since then, though, Rowling and the Fantastic Beasts movies haven’t really delved into Dumbledore’s queerness. In November 2016, the author, who’d previously suggested there was a romantic undercurrent to Dumbledore and Grindelwald’s relationship early on, equivocated on the discussion of his sexual orientation. “I will say you will see Dumbledore as a younger man, and quite a troubled man, because he wasn’t always the sage,” Rowling said. “As far as his sexuality is concerned, watch this space.”
We did and have been, which brings us to Yates’ recent glossing over of Albus’ queerness is more than a little disappointing. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the director said the sequel will “not explicitly” address the character’s sexuality.
Yates seems to think it’s enough that “all the fans are aware of [Dumbledore’s sexuality].” “He had a very intense relationship with Grindelwald when they were young men,” the director continued, echoing Rowling’s statements. “They fell in love with each other’s ideas, and ideology and each other.” But if that’s the case, then why won’t the film actually show them falling in love? Especially with Law serving all that Dr. Watson-hotness, now free of the ultimately unsatisfying queer subtext of the Sherlock Holmes movies.
Obviously, there is more to the character than his sexual orientation, just as the movie’s plot concerns things other than his relationship with Grindelwald. But avoiding any mention of a character’s queerness when said gayness has already been established—because, you know, it’s been established—is a tautology and a cop-out.