Well, this is an enormous relief!
Remember back when Johnny Depp got cast as Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and we all collectively wrinkled up our noses as if Warner Bros had instead cast a stinky dog turd?
We were all poised to react in a similar way to the eventual announcement of the actor who’d play Dumblebore in the prequel series. After all, how can you replace the fantastic Richard Harris?
Aside, of course, from replacing him with Michael Gambon, obviously.
But still, finding an actor who would feel appropriate as Baby Dumbledore seemed impossible. Looking at the roster of available talent, it seemed like nobody would ever be able to fill the enormous shoes of the actors who’ve come before.
Of course, Jude Law! It seems so obvious in retrospect. The charming, energetic, quintessentially British actor is absolutely perfect for the role of Dumbledore, facing off against a skeevy, white-haired, mumbling Wizard Hitler version of Jack Sparrow.
So here’s the question: what’s next for the franchise? With Dumbledore cast, will we be seeing Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scamander and his collection of friends phased out of the series?
It certainly does seem as if this is JK Rowling’s preference. In her defense, Rowling never really wanted to do a long series based on the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them text book, but felt compelled to write these movies after Warner Bros expressed interest in adapting them for the big screen.
But Rowling isn’t interested in a Doctor Who stlye adventure of a bow tie wearing, floppy haired Brit with a bigger-on-the-inside home, saving endangered magical animals from around the world.
Instead, she wants to write about the big, epic final showdown between Dumbledore and Grindelwald, and she’ll do whatever it takes to make this series work – even if it means bending the Fantastic Beasts series until it only pays a slight lip service to Newt Scamander while focusing mainly on Dumbledore.
This is a shame, as the fantastic beasts were the best part of Fantastic Beasts (this is all getting frustratingly tautologous), and we all want to see more of Eddie Redmayne prancing about and trying to woo over magic rhinoceroses by copying their mating dances.
With Dumbledore cast, it seems like this franchise will be sliding away from the main characters established in the first movie, but if there’s one hope for those of us who enjoyed Redmayne’s performance, it’s that fan pressure might convince Rowling to continue finding a role for Jakob Kowalski in future movies.
We can hope, at least.
In the meantime, it would be in Warner Bros’ best interests to release a screen test to the public which features Jude Law yelling, “Did you put your name in the Goblet of Fire?!” while strangling Eddie Redmayne.
It’d certainly give everyone a lot more confidence in the future movies.