“Fantastic Beasts” decided Dumbledore isn’t going to be “explicitly” gay in this movie, and I have to go flip a bunch of tables
There are a few things we know to be absolutely true about the Harry Potter series: Ron is terrified of spiders, Snape will love Lily Evans “always,” Harry has his mother’s eyes, Hermione is the smartest (not up for debate), and Dumbledore is gay. While the last one is never stated throughout the seven novels, nor in the eight movies, author J.K. Rowling has confirmed it herself, so it’s true. Whatever J.K. says is Harry Potter canon.
This is why it was super exciting to hear that Dumbledore — ahem, young hot Dumbledore — would be making an appearance in the Harry Potter prequel series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Finally, we’ll get to see Dumbledore as a dashing young wizard and learn what made him the wise Hogwarts Headmaster we know and love. We’ll even get to see him fall in and out of love with Gellert Grindelwald. (Even though Gellert Grindelwald is played by the problematic Johnny Depp, but we don’t have time for that now!)
However, it now sounds like that is not going to be the case. While we’ll still get Dumbledore, and we’ll still get Grindelwald, we’re not going to see the two of them fall in love, because Fantastic Beasts is low-key straight-washing Dumbledore, and the last time I was this mad at Harry Potter Cedric Diggory had just died.
In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, director David Yates explains that Dumbledore will “not explicitly” be gay in the movie, even though he is a gay man and identifies as gay, and it has been established by the series author that he is a gay man. As to what Dumbledore will fall in love with when it comes to Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts 2? His “ideas.”
"I think all the fans are aware of [Dumbledore's sexuality]," Yates explained. "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."
While yes, Yates does say that the two men fell in love with each other, it sure seems that the movie is trying to sweep that quietly under the rug, so it can focus on other things, like “”””ideas”””””. And this is very, very upsetting.
There is already a severe lack of gay characters in movies and television shows, and while certainly there have been major improvements over the last few years, there’s still so much that can be done. So now, taking a known gay man — let alone a cherished and loved character throughout the world — and trying to back-step his sexuality is frustrating. And this is on top of the fact that Rowling herself has made it clear that Dumbledore is gay.
Back in 2007, Rowling explained Dumbledore’s sexuality, and his love for Grindelwald:
"My truthful answer to you . . . 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. To an extent, do we say it excused Dumbledore a little more because falling in love can blind us to an extent? But, he met someone as brilliant as he was, and rather like Bellatrix he was very drawn to this brilliant person, and horribly, terribly let down by him. Yeah, that's how I always saw Dumbledore."
Cool! That’s how we saw him too, but that’s not how we’re going to see him in Fantastic Beasts 2. Supposedly, Dumbledore’s sexuality will be addressed in one of the future installments, like Fantastic Beasts 3, or 4, or 5 — but even that is not official yet. So don’t bother holding your breath for this character to become openly gay anytime soon, because it looks like he’s been confined to the cupboard under the stairs until further notice.