JK Rowling has come under fire for casting the South Korean actress Claudia Kim as Nagini in the next Fantastic Beasts film, revealed in the final trailer. Critics point out that the only Asian actor in the cast plays a reptile and villain’s slave, purporting negative stereotypes of Asian women being conniving and submissive, as well as the “dragon lady” trope, which depicts Asian women as overtly sexual, physically aggressive and untrustworthy.
Twitter users, like Jen Morton, have expressed frustration at Rowling’s attempts at representation, stating that “representation as an afterthought for more woke points is not good representation.” However, JK Rowling – who wrote and produced the upcoming movie – has defended her decision, stating that Nagini is based on “the Naga”, which are “snake-like mythical creatures of Indonesian mythology.” Rowling later stated that she had been keeping this secret about Nagini for “around twenty years.”
This retroactive continuity, or “retconning” of the Potterverse, is something that has again and again been criticized. The sequel will also star Jude Law as young Dumbledore. Rowling came under fire in the past for saying that Dumbledore is gay despite no mention of this in the books, and David Yates has since stated that Dumbledore will not be “explicitly gay” in the new film.
jk rowling: aragog was actually a trans latino from brooklyn
— Like that desperate, mediocre, WHITE bitch could (@ericfloyd) September 26, 2018
The cast seems riddled with controversy, which began when Johnny Dep – who has been accused of domestic violence – was cast as Gellert Grindelwald, who has a larger part in the upcoming film. Rowling also defended this casting, stating that “based on our understanding of the circumstances, the filmmakers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting, but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies.”
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is scheduled to be released on 16 November 2018.
Words by Steph Green