It is not exactly a secret that JK Rowling is a massive supporter of marriage equality and LGBT rights, and it appears she has brought some deliberate parallels with that to the script for her Harry Potter spin-off, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. A new featurette gives us a few hints at that, with Rowling talking about the importance to her of heroes who are, “set apart, stigmatised or othered.”
The hero in the movie is Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), who feels more comfortable in the company of animals than people. He’s been travelling the world collecting magical creatures, which eventually brings him to New York, and a culture he doesn’t really understand or completely agree with. As he says in the featurette, he cannot understand the attitude of American wizards to non-magic people, “You’re not meant to befriend them, you can’t marry them, which seems wildly absurd to me.”
It’s not clear how far the metaphor will go, but it seems clear Rowling is keen for the movie to explore repressive attitudes towards other people and the relations between them. As with some of the Harry Potter metaphors, it is likely it will be left open so they can be interpreted as being about things such as race and class, as well as sexuality.
Although it was only vaguely hinted at in the Harry Potter books, Rowling has said that Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore was gay. There have been suggestions that a much younger version of that character will appear in Fantastic Beasts, so there is the possibility we’ll actually see him expressing his sexuality a little more than we have previously. It’s not known if there will be any other explicitly LGBT characters.
Take a look at the featurette below.