The four years that have passed since the last installment in the Fantastic Beasts franchise have not been without controversy. Wizarding World founder JK Rowling has come under fire for transphobic remarks while actor Johnny Depp was forced to resign as the dark wizard Gellert Grindewald amid the ongoing domestic abuse lawsuits with his ex-wife Amber Heard.
Now, it seems that Warner Bros. may be potentially distancing themselves from the author and screenwriter as the first trailer debuted with little to no fanfare from or for the Harry Potter creator.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022) will debut next year after four years since the sophomore movie, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) was released. The Harry Potter spinoff first began with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), introducing Eddie Redmayne as magizoologist Newt Scamander — the carer of magical creatures — as well as Katherine Waterston (Tina Goldstein), Alison Sudol (Queenie Goldstein), Ezra Miller (Credence Barebone AKA Aurelius Dumbledore), Dan Fogler (Jacob Kowalski), and Colin Farrell as Percival Graves. It was the latter character that was revealed as evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald played by Johnny Depp.
After losing his libel lawsuit against News Group Newspapers British tabloid, The Sun — who called the actor a “wife-beater” — and his subsequent appeal request to Justice Andrew Nicol, Johnny Depp was forced by Warner Bros. to resign from his role with Mads Mikkelsen (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) taking on the mythic Harry Potter character in the next Fantastic Beasts film. The Secrets of Dumbledore will also bring back Jude Law as Albus Dumbledore and Callum Turner as Newt’s brother, Theseus Scamander.
The movie will once again come from director David Yates and the screenwriting duo, JK Rowling and Steve Kloves. However, just as the last two movies saw Rowling actively involved in the promotion of her feature film spinoff series, the most recent trailer came with zero acknowledgment from the best-selling author while the trailer itself did not celebrate Rowling’s involvement in the slightest. In fact, it seems the formerly celebrated writer received one of the smallest credits in trailer history. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them trailer told viewers that “JK Rowling [invited] them” with The Crimes of Grindelwald boasting the author’s screenwriting credit. The image below captures her Secrets of Dumbledore nod:
Can you see it? Rowling’s name appears at the very bottom left in tiny writing…
This seems too coincidental to not be acknowledged and it seems that Warner Bros. could be distancing themselves from Rowling amid her stance on transgender topics. The author faced backlash after using her platforms to discuss issues that exclude transgender people from conversations, even going so far as to write an extended piece on her website outlining her views.
This, of course, caused further controversy and backlash. From her support of people like Maya Forstater to her continuous outpouring on social media, Rowling has become one of the most divisive figures in pop culture history. Her consistent comments — which are deemed transphobic by some and defended by others with trends like #IStandWithJKRowling — have caused Harry Potter fans to reassess their relationship with the famous book series and its acclaimed movie adaptations.
Warner Bros. has not issued any statement on the matter but this could be a case of actions speaking louder than words. There is the matter of the tie-in script release of the upcoming Fantastic Beasts franchise movie which, so far, has not been announced or promoted. Rowling has still not mentioned the new Fantastic Beasts trailer on her active Twitter account.
The movie studio themselves are facing backlash amid the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard controversy after they rehired Heard for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2022) from director James Wan while Depp was pulled from The Secrets of Dumbledore. In the follow-up to Aquaman (2018), Heard will reprise her character of Mera alongside Jason Mamoa as Arthur Curry AKA Aquaman.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is set to release on April 15, 2022. Fans of the Harry Potter series can catch Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), and Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) in Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts on HBO Max, airing January 1, 2022.
What do you think is happening over at Warner Bros.? Let us know in the comments down below!