Harry Potter fans furious as director confirms Dumbledore won’t be ‘explicitly gay’ in Fantastic Beasts 2

Harry Potter fans have accused the Fantastic Beasts films of straightwashing – after the director said that Hogwarts’ beloved gay headmaster Albus Dumbledore would not be “explicitly gay” in the upcoming film sequel.

JK Rowling made headlines in 2007 when she famously proclaimed that the beloved Harry Potter character was gay.

His sexuality was never portrayed in the main book or film franchise, but the books hinted at a relationship between Dumbledore and the dark wizard Grindelwald in his younger days.

Fans had hoped that relationship would finally come front-and-centre thanks to prequel series Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, with Jude Law set to play a young version of Dumbledore in this year’s upcoming instalment Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

But the hopes were dashed today when the film’s director David Yates confirmed that the character would not be portrayed as “explicitly gay” in the film, set for release in November.

Asked by a fan whether Dumbledore’s sexuality would be dealt with, he said: “Not explicitly”.

According to EW he said: “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.”

He added of Dumbledore: “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.”

However, fans – many of whom already objected to the casting of Johnny Depp as Grindelwald amid domestic violence allegations – have responded with anger at the news that the important piece of Harry Potter canon may be twisted to avoid referencing Dumbledore’s sexuality.

Many took to Twitter to vent, calling for a boycott of the film and lashing out at creator JK Rowling, who had previously hinted that the relationship would finally be explored on-screen in the films.

It’s hard to see how the character’s sexuality never comes up – given the synopsis makes clear both he and Grindelwald will be central.

The official Warner Bros synopsis states: “The film opens in 1927, a few months after Newt helped to unveil and capture the infamous Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald.

“However, as he promised he would, Grindelwald has made a dramatic escape and has been gathering more followers to his cause – elevating wizards above all non-magical beings.

“The only one who might be able to stop him is the wizard he once called his dearest friend, Albus Dumbledore.

“But Dumbledore will need help from the wizard who had thwarted Grindelwald once before, his former student Newt Scamander.

“The adventure reunites Newt with Tina, Queenie and Jacob, but his mission will also test their loyalties as they face new perils in an increasingly dangerous and divided wizarding world.”

The row comes amid a wider debate about the erasure of LGBT characters in global blockbuster films.

Major film franchises that are marketed globally – such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Star Wars films and Harry Potter universe – almost never feature LGBT content.

Industry insiders say that studio bosses are unwilling to risk upsetting film censors in overseas markets where portrayal of same-sex relationships remains restricted.

Disney has begun slowly experimenting with LGBT characters in its global content, but suffered a setback last year when the inclusion of a minor gay character in the live-action ‘Beauty and the Beast’ led to the film being censored in some markets.

When the film’s director hinted that his film featured an “exclusively gay moment”, Malaysian authorities responded by blocking the release of the film in the region in response to the story.

JK Rowling last year hinted that the relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald will be central to the upcoming film.

She said: “Grindelwald is going to become a much more prominent feature moving forward.I can tell you that we do talk about Dumbledore and Grindelwald.

“I’m not allowed to say too much but I can say one thing… we were doing some script sessions the other day, and we always knew it would be more than one movie. But I’ve now done the plotting properly, and we’re pretty sure it’s going to be five movies.”