I Solemnly Swear That I Am Up To No Good
It's almost here. Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them will be unleashing its suitcase of weird and wonderful creatures into cinemas all over the country on Friday. As usual with a release of this scale, people are already discussing a sequel. The rumor that Johnny Depp would be joining the cast was quickly confirmed. He'll be playing none other than Voldemort's big bad predecessor: Grindelwald. We've seen Depp play a convincing psychopath, and he's taken on his fair share of peculiar characters. So despite some negative fan reactions to the casting, Depp might actually be the perfect fit for the role.
He's a veteran of the family/fantasy/action genre, yet he's no stranger to the dark side. His recent turn as Whitey Bulger proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that he can portray a creepy, threatening character, without relying on his long-time partner-in-weirdness Tim Burton. So, Johnny Depp is clearly versatile enough to play the one-time master of the Elder Wand, but who could play his equal?
1. Martin Freeman
That's right! Young Dumbledore should be none other than young Bilbo Baggins. We're looking at a 1920s-era Dumbledore, but the most powerful wizard of all time was a deceptive man. Looks and the correct age don't particularly matter in a world filled with magic.
Martin Freeman was the eponymous Bilbo. He embodied the role with perfect levels of genuine heart and grumpiness. Depending on how far the director will go with #JKRowling's much touted subplot that Dumbledore was actually in love with Grindelwald, Freeman could very easily break our hearts. He managed it with a simple invitation to tea at the end of The Battle of the Five Armies. Imagine what he could do in a tragic love story?
2. Ewan McGregor
Or, would the Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi make a better match for the transfiguration teacher turned headmaster of Hogwarts? McGregor has a witty side to his humor that was also popular with Dumbledore. The character is slyly anti-establishment, in a nudge-nudge wink-wink sort of way. We'll be seeing a Dumbledore not only pre-Harry Potter, but also prior to Grindelwald's death. A Dumbledore that is more open about this humor and recklessness would be interesting to see; one that hasn't learned his precautions through years of dark violence. McGregor transformed Obi-Wan Kenobi in a very similar way, and was arguably the best part of the #StarWars prequels.
3. Benedict Cumberbatch
This is the long-shot of the list, mostly included because he's the other British actor currently lighting up the Hollywood scene. Cumberbatch often portrays stern characters that always manage to come across as likable. His iteration of #Sherlock has inspired fandoms everywhere. However, his recent success as the Sorcerer Supreme in #DoctorStrange makes this one unlikely. He's tied into the monster that is the #MCU now. RIP Benedict Dumblebatch.
4. James McAvoy
Young Professor X is also tied into a franchise, but his filming schedule is probably less packed than Cumberbatch's. That makes this less of a pipedream. McAvoy is hugely talented. He can play cocky as well as he can sincere, and bleak as well as he can hopeful. It all depends on the sort of Dumbledore that we're going to be seeing. He straddles the line between humorous and hurt. If Dumbledore is in fact going toe-to-toe with his one true love in this movie, McAvoy could own this storyline; he's gone up against old friends before.
5. Daniel Craig
Here's the wildcard: Daniel Craig may or may not be tied up as Bond (that remains unclear), but he could be utilized as Dumbledore for the same reason he was drafted in as 007. If Dumbledore is going to war, he might benefit from a more physical presence. Plus, Daniel Craig is a believable actor who can deliver that traditional English charm with consummate ease. It's likely that Eddie Redmayne will return for the sequel. From the promotional material, it seems like he acts as the comic relief and (at times) appears charmingly goofy. In that case, it might be better to partner him up with a more severe Dumbledore. Newt Scamander is his pupil, after all. That's assuming that the two will indeed join forces, with Johnny Depp acting as their foil.
All of this is of course speculation, and probably contentious for some. Do you think any of the above should play the Supreme Mugwump? Do you think the character should be resurrected at all? At any rate: mischief managed.