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5 ACTORS WHO COULD PLAY DUMBLEDORE IN FANTASTIC BEASTS 2
A couple weeks ago, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hit theaters and set the world on fire. Okay, well maybe it didn’t quite set the world on fire, but it did a solid job on its first weekend, taking in $75 million or so. The real noteworthy thing, however, was that it actually performed better on its second weekend than about half of the Harry Potter films in pure gross, and had one of the smallest dropoffs of any of them. The reason? The reviews and word of mouth don’t hurt, but people are finding out that not only is this a film that stands alone, but it’s a film that’s building towards much bigger things.
Among these bigger things is the anticipated re-introduction of Dumbledore in Fantastic Beasts 2. Of course, as the sequel will take place decades earlier (the Fantastic Beast series is set to take place over the course of 20 years starting in 1926), so unfortunately Michael Gambon will no longer do, as he is much too old.
So what age range can we expect? According to author/screenwriter J.K. Rowling, Dumbledore was born in 1881, so if Fantastic Beasts 2 takes place around 5 years or less after the first film, then we can expect the wizard to be roughly 40-50 in age.
Normally, I’d say that this age wouldn’t be so important (after all, Dumbledore aged super slowly, so perhaps he looked around 30 years old around that age), but given that the 53-year-old Johnny Depp portrayed Grindelwald — a man who is roughly around the same age as Dumbledore — I think it’s clear that we’re looking for an actor in the range of 45-55 (sorry Arthur Darvill, you’re just too young). So with all that in mind, let’s discuss some actors who could make a terrific Dumbledore in Fantastic Beasts 2!
This is one of the big contenders in internet fandom right now. In fact, speculation about the UK actor is so hot right now that both Harry Potter author/Fantastic Beasts screenwriter J.K. Rowling and Jared Harris himself are perfectly aware of fans’ hopes to give him the role. To get the simple obligatory stuff out of the way, yes he’s the right age, and he definitely looks the part, which is likely a leading factor for fans.
Of course, the big question is whether or not he can play the part. Simple answer is yes. The man can act, no doubt there. Though from his work as Moriarty in Sherlock Homes to his more recent stint as King George VI in Netflix’s The Crown, there’s no real one-to-one comparison we could draw. But given how vast his range has been in his career, I’d say that he could pull it off quite deftly should the role fall to him. He can play the smart, malicious, and more subtle side to Dumbledore we became more aware of in the later half of the book series.
No, I’m not kidding. Despite how recognizable Sean Bean is as an actor, I could definitely see him dabbling in a little bit of wizardry for his role. We’ve seen him break hearts on other big budget fantasy properties like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, and we know the man, like Jared Harris, has played a large number of different types of characters.
Throw a beard on Bean, change up his accent, and I’d say you have quite the compelling possibility here. While I could see the argument that perhaps Bean’s body build is a bit too wide for the part, we could always chalk that up to age. Besides, so long as he brings a great performance with him (and we’re sure he will), that difference in physicality won’t keep us questioning him for very long.
If you can believe it, Tim Roth was actually almost cast as Severus Snape once upon a time. With his beakish features and his ability to sink into a slimy-sounding voice, it was actually a great fit. Luckily for us fans, he dropped out in favor of Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes, but with this loss comes opportunity.
The man is a woefully underrated talent in the industry, and while he isn’t really a dead ringer for a Dumbledore, he brings with him a wealth of experience that could help bring to life Dumbledore’s darker and more mischievous side — a side that Gambon actually brought to the table quite well upon Richard Harris’ passing.
This one is perhaps the most outlandish of possibilities. No, it’s not because we don’t like him as an actor — we obviously do — but because of his recognizability. To many, Ewan McGregor is, and will always be, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and with that perception already set in stone, there is a very possibility his casting will be distracting.
That being said, this experience on Star Wars as a wise Jedi could play in his favor. Dumbledore embodies many of the fatherly qualities that McGregor embodied in his later interpretations of Obi-Wan. Furthermore, with his performance as Obi-Wan, we’ve seen that despite a terrible script and wonky plot, he was able to bring his own as an actor and actually stand on his own, in a good way. With that in mind, perhaps he could serve as a stable counterbalance to the over-the-top nature actor Johnny Depp is sure to bring to the table with his Grindelwald.
This is my wild card pick. Iain Glain is likely the least recognizable actor on this list. This is both a blessing and a curse. Sure, he’s had a career that’s spanned decades, but when all said and done, not very many of them were as well known as his more recent turn at Jorah Mormont in Game of Thrones. More likely, the only ones who will recognize him are those who watch Game of Thrones, and for everyone else, he will always be Dumbledore. Having an actor that will disappear into the role for most viewers can be an incredibly important thing.
On the other side of the coin, the man isn’t going to be attracting many people to theaters, but when all said and done, the names Fantastic Beasts and Dumbledore should be more than enough to do that for us. Given Glen’s work on GoT, there’s no doubt he can succeed in bringing that darker, more melancholy side to Dumbledore that will be needed in his interaction with Grindelwald. I only hope he'd be able to bring to bring with him the more whimsical side to the character we know and love from the books.
What do you think of these options? Are there any other actors you think would make a great Dumbledore in Fantastic Beasts 2? Let us know in the comments down below!