Accio 18th November!
I’m sure that that’s the spell which many Harry Potter fans would use if they could. Everyone is looking forward to seeing the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which charts Newt Scamander’s (Eddie Redmayne) adventures in 1920s America. Everyone knows that it will focus on Scamander and his story, but the soon to be five-movie series may yet feature beloved characters, in a more substantial role than we have previously realized.
Indeed, JK Rowling has revealed that a young Albus Dumbledore will play a crucial role in the new saga, which is sure to delight moviegoers everywhere. Like Severus Snape, the infamous Headmaster of Hogwarts is a fan-favorite character, known for his substantial levels of both sass and kindness. He’s already been brilliantly portrayed by Sir Michael Gambon, as well as the late, great Richard Harris, but who could play a younger version of Dumbledore for this time period? And what does the actor need to possess to embody the saga’s sorcerer supreme?
Look no further than below for the list of the best possible candidates...there’s no need to turn to page 394!
What Do We Need From a New Dumbledore?
Not just anyone can wear a wig and a beard, wave a wand and be called Dumbledore. The part requires something far more subtle. To ascertain what we require in our wondrous wizard, we need to look at the canon of the book series.
By this time, Albus has already suffered the tragic demise of his mother and sister, and his estrangement from both his brother and a certain Gellert Grindelwald. However, though his arrogance will have been reduced and he will be no doubt weathered by these emotional blows, he is well on his way to becoming the powerful character that we know and love. Even so, it might be surprising to consider that at this point in time, a “young” Dumbledore won’t actually be that young!
According to JK Rowling, Albus was born in 1881, meaning that that by the mid-1920’s he was in his mid-forties. As a result, in Hollywood, any actor between his mid-thirties to mid-fifties is a viable candidate. Studios are notoriously lax about age after all, but it does make sense to have a slightly more seasoned version of Dumbledore appear in Fantastic Beasts. As we learned in the first trailer, he is Scamander’s teacher, so it would be strange for Dumbledore to appear as similarly aged as our new hero!
So without further ado, here is my sensational selection of talent for our new version of the Hogwarts Headmaster.
1. Richard Armitage
One important thing about Dumbledore is that he’s the most powerful wizard in the Harry Potter universe. Not everyone is able to defeat Gellert Grindlewald in combat, and hold his own against Lord Voldemort! In the books, Dumbledore is a well of serenity and calm that turns deadly when provoked. Check out this awesome scene of him in action!
We should expect that the younger Dumbledore is a little less refined, but no less skilled with a wand, or at grabbing your attention.
In this way, Richard Armitage is the perfect fit. His critically acclaimed performance as Thorin in The Hobbit Trilogy highlights his formidable talents, as well as the intensity that he can lend to a film. Therefore, he’s a very compelling choice.
2. Rufus Sewell
Known for his villainous movie roles such as his recent turn as Obergruppenführer Smith in The Man in the High Castle, Rufus Sewell has had an expansive and varied career, which couldn’t be hurt by playing Dumbledore. He’s a very capable actor, who’s more than up to the challenge.
Plus, if the Hollywood execs are looking for someone who resembles Michael Gambon, then Sewell definitely has an advantage over his competition. There’s definitely a similarity around the eyes and nose, and the fact that Sewell played a younger version of Gambon’s character in the BBC miniseries Restless only further proves how compatible their looks and talents are. At nearly 49, he might be one of the oldest choices on this list, but Sewell is surely able to deliver a mysterious yet captivating iteration of Dumbledore.
3. Luke Evans
Many might question why I’ve selected this other Hobbit alumni. Indeed, on first glance Evans might seem like a very left-field choice, but if we dismiss him, we’re overlooking a serious talent.
Evans has proved himself to be a very capable thespian in recent years (see his role in High Rise if you don’t believe me), and since Dumbledore is a gay character, it seems only fitting that a gay actor should play him. Hollywood still has many strides to make in its representation: why not start here?
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4. Lee Pace
I’d love to take credit for thinking up this great casting choice, but unfortunately I can’t since have to thank the guys at ETOnline for it. Regardless, it’s a brilliant selection. Pace has only come to the attention of wider audiences in recent years due to his roles in Twilight and Guardians of the Galaxy, but he’s more than proved himself as ready for the role of Dumbledore.
He may be an American, but that doesn’t hinder his impressive British accent, or his ability to plunge into any role, whether it’s an aloof and cold Elf-king (The Hobbit), or a shy and endearing pie-maker (ABC’s Pushing Daisies). He could be a great Dumbledore if given the chance.
5. Mark Gatiss
Another aspect of Dumbledore is his fierce intelligence and his wit. Let’s not forget all of those pithy put-downs that he served to the Minister for Magic, or the numerous times that he demonstrated his deep knowledge on the most complex pieces of magic.
If you want an actor who can embody these qualities, look no further than Mark Gatiss. He’s a fan-favorite, who many will recognize from his excellent work on Sherlock and Doctor Who. It also helps that he has an auburn shade of hair, which Dumbledore sported in his youth. Slap a beard on there and presto!
6. Chiwetel Ejiofor
Oh gosh, I’m sure that this choice is going to court controversy, so just hear me out before you ram the pitchforks home. Ejiofor is a brilliant actor inside the right age range and with a hefty list of credentials and charisma to spare.
And before the naysayers jump in and object because of his skin color, let’s remind ourselves that JK Rowling is not averse to race swapping her beloved creations, so it may not be as unlikely as you think. However, since Dumbledore is canonically ginger-haired and blue-eyed, it's extremely unlikely that Warner Bros. will want to deviate from the text, or confuse audiences by casting Ejiofor in the role.
Even so, it's worth noting that what makes Dumbledore is not a pair of blue eyes, but an innate kindness, and a knack for championing the underdogs of the Wizarding World. Ejiofor would surely do a brilliant job at personifying these essential attributes.
7. Michael Fassbender
Some fans may groan, and cite the fact that Michael Fassbender is on every fan-cast these days. But there is a very good reason for that: he’s so damn versatile. He can be charming, or epitomize insanity or vulnerability at the drop of the hat. With his roles in X-Men and Assassins Creed already under his belt, he’s no stranger to franchises, or playing younger versions of beloved characters.
And his accent surely can’t hurt his chances, since Dumbledore canonically has Irish heritage. I’d be shocked if he’d be wasn’t on the lists of any casting agent in Warner Bros.
So there you have it! All of the people who could potentially be Dumbledore! Whether or not any of them are chosen, I’m sure that Warner Bros will pick someone worthy of the task, who is able to command respect, convey a deep and sincere kindness, yet be eccentric enough to randomly say “Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!” Whoever is chosen to be the new Dumbledore, I’m sure we’ll all look forward to seeing the character return to our screens once again!