Op-Ed: The "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" Sequel is Going to Suck

*This Op-Ed is solely the opinion of the author and does not reflect the opinions or views of Her Campus or Lasell College*

*Image from Pottermore.com

Harry Potter and I first made our debut the same year, 1997. So it comes as no surprise that I feel as if I’ve grown up with the series. Before I was even capable of reading them, my parents ordered me a box set of the first four books from a Scholastic book order. They would read me a bit every night until I could finally read them on my own. Then, I reread them over and over, and over and over.

Harry Potter taught me about bravery, love and standing up for what I believe in even if no one else wants to hear you. So when something threatens everything HP stands for, it hurts. For example, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. The much awaited sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is set to come out at the end of 2018, but I am no longer looking forward to it.

First of all, The Crimes of Grindelwald director David Yates confirmed that the sequel will not explore Dumbledore’s sexuality. Back in 2007, J.K. Rowling shocked fans when she announced that Dumbledore was gay. During an event promoting The Deathly Hallows, Rowling was asked by a fan why Dumbledore never married. She responded by saying “My truthful answer to you… I always thought of Dumbledore as gay. [ovation.] … Dumbledore fell in love with Grindelwald, and that that added to his horror when Grindelwald showed himself to be what he was.”

The film is centered around Grindelwald's journey to the dark side, and his relationship with Dumbledore, but unfortunately will not reference any romantic feelings Dumbledore had for Grindelwald. This is disappointing to not just myself, but Harry Potter fans everywhere. While film has done a great job at including more LGBTQ+ storylines recently, they are still few and far between. Having an explicitly gay, major character in a film is great for representation, but having an explicitly gay, major character in a MASSIVE franchise that everyone and their mother knows? That would have been incredible, and exactly the story the Harry Potter universe deserved to tell. Unfortunately we’ll have to wait and see if any of the other Fantastic Beast movies will address Dumbledore’s sexuality, but that seems unlikely at this point.

What’s more disappointing than missing an amazing opportunity to shed light on a LGBTQ+ storyline though? The decision to stand by the casting of Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald. In the midst of production for The Crimes of Grindelwald, Depp was dealing with abuse allegations made by his ex-wife Amber Heard. Harry Potter fans everywhere were disappointed in the decision to continue production with Depp as Grindelwald. In a statement made back in December, Rowling (who wrote the screenplay for the film), Yates and producer David Heyman noted that they carefully looked at all sides of the situation, but came to the agreement that Depp is not a threat to the films and will continue to work with him throughout the series.

Even if he is remorseful, Depp still abused Heard. Casting him in this film is going 100 steps back for the Time’s Up movement and those who are trying to educate the world on abuse and assault within professional industries. When we give abusers like Depp screen time instead of punishment, we tell the world that he got away with it and so will the next guy. We belittle the brave people like Heard who come out with their stories, even if it means putting their career on the line. When we cast people like Depp in films, we are letting the rest of the world down.

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