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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has continued to grow since the original franchise ended in 2011, and is showing no signs of slowing. Movie fans will be apparated back into the universe when Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald arrives next month. The upcoming sequel is the second in a five film franchise, and will have a much closer association with the stories of J.K. Rowling's original Harry Potter novels. In addition to bringing us back to Hogwarts and introducing a younger Dumbledore, the film's final trailer revealed a surprising connection to Voldemort. His trusted murderous snake and horocrux Nagini is in the movie-- and as a human. This was a major shocker for the fandom, and there were some folks who weren't happy with this choice. Some thought this was a lazy attempt at diversifying the sequel, with one fan going so far as to tweet Rowling to let her know. J.K. Rowling is very active on social media, and quickly clapped back to that critic, saying:
Well, that was pretty honest. While not taking any personal jabs at her critic, J.K. Rowling's Tweet quickly shut down claims that Nagini was cast as a person of color merely out of convenience. Instead, she made a conscious choice in casting actress Claudia Kim as the young and increasingly desperate witch.
Fans didn't expect Nagini to be human in The Crimes of Grindelwald, and its a narrative choice that seems to have split the fandom in two. While some are eager to see the future horocrux's backstory expanded, there were some who took umbrage with both the plot choice, and the decision to cast Claudia Kim in the role. Of course, it's important to note that no one has seen the upcoming Fantastic Beasts sequel, and therefore it's unclear exactly how the character will function in the final product.
The outrage about Nagini being an Asian woman has a few layers, one of which being the idea that a person of color would eventually be completely subservient in the canon. In the Harry Potter books and movies, Nagini only does the bidding of Voldemort, which includes murdering and eating people, and even becoming a horocrux. The argument is that she's basically an extension of Voldemort himself, and therefore not a full formed being. Ultimately, all will be revealed when the film hits theaters, and judgement can be made about what J.K. Rowling did with the character.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald will arrive in theaters on November 16, 2018. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.