Fantastic Beasts Missed the Boat on Embracing Gay Representation


There’s no fixing the primary two Fantastic Beasts motion pictures within the Harry Potter prequel franchise. They’re narratively muddled, lack inspiring central characters, have regarding issues to say concerning the rise of fascism, and notably refuse to make Dumbledore explicitly homosexual. However, with the third movie within the franchise seeking to recast Grindelwald, and with Hannibal star Mads Mikkelsen rumored to be in talks for the function, the franchise has an opportunity to proper itself in terms of a minimum of that final concern. But, with famous TERF Rowling reprising her function as each screenwriter and government producer for the as-of-yet untitled movie, a query presents itself: ought to it? Or, in different phrases: at this level, is poor illustration higher than no illustration in terms of a state of affairs like Fantastic Beasts?

It’s arduous to debate this kind of factor earlier than the actual fact. We don’t know what Fantastic Beasts‘ attempts at queer representation might look like because the franchise has never given us any. Despite Rowling’s post-Potter books announcement that she has at all times thought-about the character of Albus Dumbledore to be homosexual and the Fantastic Beasts‘ centering of the generally presumed to be queer relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald, the Fantastic Beasts franchise has avoided representing Dumbledore’s sexual id or the particular nature of is relationship with Grindelwald—to the detriment of the story.

Before the discharge of The Crimes of Grindelwald, director David Yates confirmed that the movie would “not explicitly” signify Dumbledore’s sexual id, including: “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.” In different phrases, this isn’t an instance of filmmakers sustaining believable deniability in terms of a personality’s queer-coding or of a fandom’s studying of a personality as queer. This is an instance of the filmmakers (each Yates and Rowling) actively recognizing the character as queer in interviews after which bending over backwards within the movie to keep away from depicting it.

This is all years-old discourse, however I carry it as much as say that maybe Yates and Rowling aren’t one of the best filmmakers to inform a queer story—particularly as Grindelwald particularly may so simply fall into the Hollywood custom of queer-coded villainy. We won’t know what Fantastic Beasts’ queer illustration would possibly seem like earlier than the actual fact, however we will actually guess based mostly on what we’ve seen earlier than from these creators, which is to say: on each their elements, an obvious aversion to telling tales with queer characters and dynamics and, in Rowling’s case, a dangerous historical past of transphobia.

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