PLEASE NOTE: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SLIGHT SPOILERS FOR FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM
Michael Gambon is a wonderfully talented veteran actor who played Albus Dumbledore in the last six Harry Potter movies. No offense to him though, but he’s not my Dumbledore. No, that honour belongs to the late Richard Harris, who played the Hogwarts headmaster in the first two Harry Potter movies before unfortunately passing away. His performance in those two movies though – so different to Gambon’s take – was enough for me to always picture Dumbledore just like that in my head from then onwards.
But for a new generation of Harry Potter fans, Dumbledore is going to be even more different than anything either Harris or Gambon have ever done with the character. As we recently learned, with Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them taking place 70 years before the events of the Harry Potter stories, and with the four planned sequels to this new film seemingly delving deep into the relationship between Dumbledore and the darkest wizard of the time, Gellert Grindelwald, we would need to see a newer, younger (well, younger than his eventual 150 years old) Dumbledore on-screen as well.
We already know that Johnny Depp is playing Grindelwald and [SPOILER ALERT FOR FANTASTIC BEASTS] he looks absolutely bonkers. As Johnny Depp tends to do lately. So who would creator/writer JK Rowling and director David Yates pick for the role of this new Dumbledore? It would need be somebody who could effectively play off and maybe even calm Depp’s mania, but also somebody than can tap into that wilder, youthful streak that was hinted at so often in the later books/movies.
Honestly though, we really don’t know who they’re even considering at this point – nobody saw Depp’s casting coming! – but we’re more than happy to provide a few suggestions in no particular order.
- Jared Harris
There can’t be a more fitting tribute to the original Dumbledore than having Richard Harris’ son actually play the younger version. Of course, there’s luckily a lot more here than just nepotism and nostalgia as Jared Harris is an incredibly accomplished actor, who doesn’t just look the part, but can also bring all the various sides of Dumbledore to life. Unfortunately, as Harris has already pointed out, he’s the obvious choice that tonnes of fans have been clamouring for, and studios hate having their hand forced into a casting.
- Liam Cunningham
As Ser Davos Seaworth, Liam Cunningham has been a firm fan favourite on Game of Thrones for years now. And for good reason. He has shown off a combination of soft spoken honour, palpable world weariness and that reluctant badassness that makes you realize that this is a man who could mess you up real good, but he’s just too nice to do it. All qualities that would really work well for Dumbledore.
- Ewan McGregor
When it comes to playing younger versions of iconic pop culture characters originally played by celebrated veteran actors, Ewan McGregor is easily the most qualified man for the job on this list. What he did for Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars Prequels he could easily do for Dumbledore in the Harry Potter universe as well. He’s an actor that can finely balance impish charm with stoic nobility, and can even dip into some darkness if needs be.
- James McAvoy
Okay, I must admit, I’m kind of cheating here, as James McAvoy’s reasons for being on this list is essentially a duplicate of McGregor’s. All you need to do is just swap out all the Star Wars stuff for his work as Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men franchise. His repertoire can veer more towards the dark and crazy end of the thespian scale than McGregor’s though, but at the end of the day, choosing between the two actors is essentially going to boil down to which jawline you prefer.
- Damien Lewis
There have been strong rumours that Damien Lewis may be on the shortlist to take over from Daniel Craig as the next James Bond – a rumour I can fully get behind. If that happens, the Band of Brothers and Homeland star’s busy schedule would obviously make him ineligible for this gig. But if Sony goes with somebody else as 007 though, I can definitely see Lewis, with his everyman appeal and dramatic acting chops, wielding the Elder Wand as he easily as he can a Walther PPK.
- Jude Law
Jude Law’s lengthy filmography undoubtedly makes him a top contender for this job, as he can, and has already, tackled just about every aspect of what would make a good younger Dumbledore. He can do charming, he can do emotional, he can do steely resolve, he can play the straight man, he can touch on madness, he can do humurous… hell, he can even do being a sex robot!
But if there was one reason why I would pick him for the gig, it’ss that Law is far too good an actor to not have headlined a blockbuster franchise yet. Sure he was in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes, but he played second fiddle to Robert Downey Jr. there, much like he’s done in the past. It’s time for him to take the reins here.
- Iain Glen
Game of Thrones is stuffed to the gills (or whatever dragons have… probably lungs, but that doesn’t work here) with tragic events. But among all the Red Weddings, and Battles of Bastards, the story arc of Iain Glen’s Ser Jorah Mormont hits a particularly poignant note of human tragedy. An honourable man who has his values and beliefs put to the test, not to mention enduring personal calamity, purely because of his unrequited love for a powerful and headstrong leader.
And if you know your Potterverse lore, then you would know that there’s a strong air of familiarity there. Dumbledore’s relationship with Grindelwald actually goes a lot deeper than just being a wizardly feud. They were once not only good friends… but Dumbledore had an unrequited romantic love for Grindelwald that more than likely tainted his judgement. And Glen would be absolutely perfect to bring that story to life. The fact that he also packs loads of personality, has greet on-screen charisma and can kick some serious butt if needs be, is just a bonus.
Last Updated: December 1, 2016