Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them director David Yates discusses Dumbledore’s involvement in the series, and we speculate on his role.
The first in the five-part Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series may be a few weeks from its release, but lack of intel doesn’t stop the rumor mill from churning. In this case, we’re getting hints from the director himself. So it’s less rumor and more food for speculation. In a recent interview with SFX, director David Yates raised some major curiosity for the new Potterverse film franchise.
One of the biggest pieces of news to come out of the Fantastic Beasts series is how involved some original Harry Potter characters are. Namely, Albus Dumbledore and the heretofore unseen Gellert Grindelwald. While it seems that we’ll only hear their names in the first film, Yates confirmed that we’ll see Dumbledore in action in the second.
Image via Warner Bros.
“[We hear about] Dumbledore in this film, and we see him in the next part of the trilogy…. The scenes Jo has written are lovely. The younger Dumbledore is delightful. He’s very mischievous and enormous fun and a bit of a political animal. I’m yet to cast him… I’ve got a couple of ideas, though.”
The first film talks place in 1926, so we can assume the second won’t be long after. Dumbledore was born in 1881, which would put him at around 45 years old during the first Fantastic Beasts. That’s significantly younger than he was when readers of the original series knew him. He’s on the bright side of his midlife, and likely in his prime. Even in his hundreds, Dumbledore had a penchant of stirring the pot. So we can only imagine what sort of trouble he gets up to in his younger days.
Of course, Dumbledore has always had his dark side as well. This is explored mostly in Deathly Hallows, but fans have questioned Dumbledore’s behavior throughout the entire series. While most agree that he does care for Harry as a person, Dumbledore uses him as a tool for “the greater good,” without explaining what that means until the last possible moment. So the question is, will Dumbledore have that much power and influence over Newt as well?
Newt may not be the Boy Who Lived, but as the titular character of the Fantastic Beasts saga, obviously he plays a crucial role in the Potterverse. We know from the trailers that Newt was expelled from Hogwarts, and that Dumbledore argued against that sentence. What sort of loyalty links these two men? Is Newt grateful for Dumbledore’s attempted intervention, or is he at all resentful? We don’t have a proper measure of Newt’s character just yet, so it’s hard to say. But we should keep our options open. Dumbledore’s relationship with Harry may have gone smoothly for the most part, but there’s too much to learn about his dynamic with Newt before we can make any conclusions.
Yates also pointed out that “[T]he worlds are connected and there are characters that exist in both.” So naturally fans of the original series have to ask, what other characters can we hope to see? Based on the timeline, some, like the Golden Trio and their Marauders’ Era predecessors, are off the table. (Although it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Lily and James Potter, along with younger versions of Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew, might make a cameo later. But maybe that’s just my hopefulness talking. We shall see what we shall see.)
Beloved characters like Minerva McGonagall might be a bit of a reach, too. She was born in 1925, only a year prior to the events of the first Fantastic Beasts. Depending on how the timeline is structured, it’s possible that we’ll meet her at Hogwarts, but the notion is tentative at best. We could, however, get a glimpse of magical historian Bathilda Bagshot. She would certainly fit into the plot, and could offer some insight into all sorts of corners of the Potterverse. But for now, all we can do is some basic guesswork, and hope that the first movie will give us more to work with in regards to further speculation.
Yates’ comments certainly leave fans with more burning questions. What role will Newt and Dumbledore’s relationship play in the Fantastic Beasts series? Will Newt join him in the fight against Grindelwald, or will he try to stay out of it? How will his magizoologist skills translate to war? Which actor could take on Dumbledore’s reputation in the remaining films? Which others could play other possible recurring characters? And why isn’t it November 18th yet?