China removes references to Dumbledore’s gay relationship in ‘Fantastic Beasts 3’

Image via Warner Bros.

When Jude Law’s young Albus Dumbledore made his debut in the second Fantastic Beasts movie, Harry Potter fans were furious that his romantic past with Gellert Grindelwald (then played by Johnny Depp) was only vaguely alluded to. The good news is that the incoming third installment, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, is not so coy about it and explicitly addresses the teenage love affair that Albus shared with the dark wizard (now played by Mads Mikkelsen).

The bad news is that evidence of the pair’s relationship is already being edited out of the film internationally. According to (via Variety), some key dialogue has been removed from Fantastic Beasts 3‘s release in China. Specifically, two lines have been excised from the movie, reducing it by just six seconds. Those six seconds are pretty key to understanding the nature of Dumbledore and Grindelwald’s personal history, however.

The lines in question, both said by Law’s Albus, are “because I was in love with you” and “the summer Gellert and I fell in love”. Warner Bros. is known to have accepted China’s request to cut these pieces of dialogue. In response to this controversial edit, Warner released the following statement defending the decision:

“As a studio, we’re committed to safeguarding the integrity of every film we release, and that extends to circumstances that necessitate making nuanced cuts in order to respond sensitively to a variety of in-market factors,” Warner Bros.’ statement goes. “Our hope is to release our features worldwide as released by their creators but historically we have faced small edits made in local markets.

In the case of ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore,’ a six-second cut was requested and Warner Bros. accepted those changes to comply with local requirements but the spirit of the film remains intact,” the statement added. “We want audiences everywhere in the world to see and enjoy this film, and it’s important to us that Chinese audiences have the opportunity to experience it as well, even with these minor edits.”

Fantastic Beasts 3 opened in China last Friday, just as it did in the U.K., a week ahead of its release in the United States. With these forbidden six seconds removed, the movie performed extremely well in the territory, opening to number one at the Chinese box office. This incident is far from an isolated case in Chinese cinema, as all references to Freddy Mercury’s homosexuality were infamously removed from 2018’s Bohemian Rhapsody by local censors.

American audiences will get the chance to see the full, unedited Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore when it finally arrives in theaters from this Friday, April 15.