‘Fantastic Beasts 3’: Mads Mikkelsen Wanted the Relationship Between Grindelwald and Dumbledore to be ‘Subtle’

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is the latest movie in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. An important aspect being teased in the Fantastic Beasts movies is the relationship between Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) and Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen). While it’s hinted that the two characters had a romantic relationship, Mikkelsen says he and the filmmakers wanted their dynamic to be more subtle. 

‘Fantastic Beasts 3’ is continuing the mission to defeat Grindelwald

Mads Mikkelsen who plays Grindelwald attends the premiere of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
Mads Mikkelsen | Mike Marsland/WireImage

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them focused on Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and his quest to find all of his missing magical creatures. In The Crimes of Grindelwald, the story switched to focus more on Grindelwald and brought in Law as a young Dumbledore. 

In The Secrets of Dumbledore, the cast of characters from the first two films are now uniting to try and take down Grindelwald who is plotting to start a war on non-magical humans. Many fans are waiting to see more of the Wizarding World, but many are interested to learn more about the history between Dumbledore and Grindelwald. We know that the two can’t duel each other due to a blood pact, but there must be more to the story. 

Mads Mikkelsen says the relationship between Grindelwald and Dumbledore is more ‘subtle’

In The Crimes of Grindelwald, it is hinted that the villainous wizard and Dumbledore have a romantic history. While it’s never been confirmed, there are many references toward it and author J.K. Rowling has been open about Dumbledore’s sexuality in the past. 

However, Mikkelsen still wants their relationship to remain more subtle. In an interview with The AU Review, Mikkelsen said that he wanted “sexuality and skin color” to be the least important thing in history. 

“It is subtle on paper.  And we wanted it to be subtle,” Mikkelsen said. “ I think we’re trying to make sexuality and skin colour the least important thing in history.  It’s just about people having a past, or having a history, and we wanted that to come across.  It’s just a genuine situation.  That meeting in the beginning (of the film) is just old love meeting again, with a big slice of disappointment.  And that’s what we thought it looked like.”

For Mikkelsen, it is more important to explore the history between Grindelwald and Dumbledore and how it affects their conflict with one another. It doesn’t appear that the sexual orientation or romantic histories of the two is important to Mikkelsen. 

Mads Mikkelsen is replacing Johnny Depp as Grindelwald in ‘Fantastic Beasts 3’

The role of Grindelwald was previously played by Johnny Depp in the first two films. However, Warner Bros distanced themselves from the Pirates of the Caribbean star since he lost a libel lawsuit after his ex-wife, Amber Heard, accused him of being abusive towards her. 

In an interview with GQ, Mikkelsen said that he wanted to make sure he wasn’t copying Depp’s performance saying, “To copy him would be creative suicide…We had to make it our own.” He compared the role to playing Hannibal Lecter in Hannibal following Anthony Hopkins. So far, Mikkelsen’s performance as Grindelwald has been a highlight in early reviews.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore arrives in theaters on April 15. 

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