Jude Law has been named as the next actor to play beloved wizard Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter cinematic universe.
Pottermore, the official website of series author JK Rowling, announced on Thursday that Law, 44, would play a young version of Dumbledore in the next Fantastic Beasts film.
“The second film in the Fantastic Beasts series will show Dumbledore decades before he became Headmaster at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry,” the website reported.
Fans will see the new Dumbledore when he was a lesser magic teacher at the famous Hogwarts.
This is a huge deal for diehard fans, and the news has triggered an enormous online reaction, a lot of it positive.
The response was less enthusiastic to Pottermore’s confirmation that Johnny Depp will reprise his role as dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, a nemesis of Dumbledore. This is likely because of allegations he physically abused ex-wife Amber Heard.
The film is scheduled to be released on November 16 2018, according to Pottermore. It is a sequel to Fantastic Beasts, a Harry Potter spin-off set several decades before the events of the hugely popular novels and movies.
Jude Law is famous for such films as Gattaca (1997) and Alfie (2004), and for playing Dr Watson in the US version of Sherlock Holmes.
As a British actor, his casting is in keeping with the Harry Potter casting tradition of ‘keeping it in the family’. Many of the franchise’s biggest stars have been household names in the UK, even if they were lesser known overseas.
Until now, Law hadn’t found himself a spot in one of the big-budget fantasy/superhero franchises that have earned so many Hollywood stars multi-millions of dollars.
With Law’s casting, Dumbledore will have been played by three British actors: Richard Harris (deceased) and Michael Gambon.