It’s been just over a decade since J.K. Rowling surprised fans by revealing Hogwarts’ beloved headmaster Albus Dumbledore was gay, and was even in love with the notorious dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald during his youth until the two had a rather epic falling out.
With the next film in the Fantastic Beasts franchise introducing a young Dumbledore for the first time (played by Jude Law) and focusing on the great wizard’s pursuit of the fugitive Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) in Paris, fans have wondered: Will Dumbledore’s sexuality be a part of the story? Or will it once again, like in the Harry Potter films, not be addressed?
According to The Crimes of Grindelwald director David Yates, this year’s sequel, at least, will not directly reference Dumbledore’s sexuality.
“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.”
Yates then added a bit more about what Dumbledore is like in the new film: “He’s a maverick and a rebel and he’s an inspiring teacher at Hogwarts. He’s witty and has a bit of edge. He’s not this elder statesman. He’s a really kinetic guy. And opposite Johnny Depp as Grindelwald, they make an incredible pairing.”
All of this isn’t to say that Dumbledore’s sexuality won’t eventually be addressed in the three additional Fantastic Beasts sequels planned after Crimes. In fact, screenwriter and Harry Potter creator Rowling has previously hinted that it will be at some point. “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,” Rowling said at a press conference two years ago. “You will see Dumbledore as a younger man and quite a troubled man — he wasn’t always the sage…We’ll see him at that formative period of his life. As far as his sexuality is concerned … watch this space.”
UPDATE: Rowling seemed to weigh in on Twitter after this news broke, suggesting fans upset by Yates’ comments are jumping to conclusions about her plan for the character, particularly in the long term:
Rowling first revealed Dumbledore was gay during a 2007 appearance at Carnegie Hall, telling fans, “I always thought of Dumbledore as gay. Dumbledore fell in love with Grindelwald, and that added to his horror when Grindelwald showed himself to be what he was.”
The Crimes of Grindelwald will be released on Nov. 16, 2018.