Jude Law has been tapped to play young Dumbledore in the “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” sequel.
David Yates is returning to direct and Eddie Redmayne will be back to star alongside Johnny Depp, who will play the villain Grindelwald.
Albus Dumbledore is one of the most iconic characters in J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world. Richard Harris made the role famous in the first two “Harry Potter” pics. Michael Gambon later took over the part after Harris’ death in 2002.
The two-time Academy Award nominee will portray Dumbledore long before the wizard became the headmaster at Hogwarts and Potter’s mentor. Set decades before the original “Harry Potter” films and books, Dumbledore is still serving as the wizarding school’s transfiguration professor in “Fantastic Beasts 2.”
The studio had been considering every major British actor in the biz — from Christian Bale to Benedict Cumberbatch to Mark Strong to Harris’ son, “Mad Men” alum and “The Crown” actor Jared Harris — for the role.
Rowling, who made her screenwriting debut on “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” has also written the script for the second installment, which is set in an increasingly dark time for the wizarding world, where Newt Scamander and company have to decide on their allegiances.
“Jude Law is a phenomenally talented actor whose work I have long admired, and I’m looking forward to finally having the opportunity to work with him,” Yates said. “I know he will brilliantly capture all the unexpected facets of Albus Dumbledore as J.K. Rowling reveals this very different time in his life.”
Toby Emmerich, president and chief content officer of Warner Bros. Pictures, echoed his sentiment.
“As fans ourselves, we are thrilled to have Jude Law joining the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ cast, playing a character so universally adored,” Emmerich added. “Jude has been a member of the Warner Bros. family for years and we’re excited to embark on this new adventure with him.”
Law will next be seen in “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” and currently stars in the HBO series “The Young Pope.”
The first movie in the planned five-part “Fantastic Beasts” series grossed more than $813 million at the box office.
The sequel, which begins production this summer, also reunites producers Rowling, David Heyman, Steve Kloves, and Lionel Wigram. Neil Blair, Rick Senat, and Danny Cohen are serving as executive producers.
“Fantastic Beasts 2” hits theaters on Nov. 16, 2018.