The sequel to Fantastic Beasts is on its way, and fans got a final look at the film before it drops this fall. Warner Bros. Pictures shared the last trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, and it looks like one its major reveal is bringing up controversy for one character.
For those unaware, the final trailer for the Fantastic Beasts film revealed a major fact about Nagini, the snake that famously accompanied Voldemort in his adulthood. The trailer showed a brand-new character transforming into Nagini, and actress Claudia Kim confirmed her she would be playing the infamous snake. However, it seems some fans aren’t okay with the reveal as some have interpreted the move as racist.
As you can see below, the brewing controversy takes offense to the fact Nagini is being played by a Korean woman. While author J.K. Rowling has been transparent bringing more diversity to the Wizarding World, fans on social media see Kim’s casting as an antiquated one. The problem lies within the fact that Nagini becomes a prominent villain in the Harry Potter universe who aligns with Voldemort. Not only does the snake become one of his Horcruxes, but they lives their life in service to the Dark Lord.
For fans, having an actress of color play a subservient role like this rubs them the wrong way. Other complaints have arisen questioning why a Korean actress would play Nagini given the snake’s Asia Pacific origins. The objective trope also plays into damaging stereotypes often pushed upon Asian women in cinema; This time, the actress is being turned into a snake rather than an exotic dragon.
Taking to Twitter, Rowling combatted accusations of the reveal being a last-minute pitch for diversity. The author told fans she’s known about this secret for 20 years now, and she had the following to say when one fan questioned the reveal:
The Naga are snake-like mythical creatures of Indonesian mythology, hence the name ‘Nagini.’ They are sometimes depicted as winged, sometimes as half-human, half-snake. Indonesia comprises a few hundred ethnic groups, including Javanese, Chinese and Betawi. Have a lovely day ?— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) September 26, 2018
“The Naga are snake-like mythical creatures of Indonesian mythology, hence the name ‘Nagini.’ They are sometimes depicted as winged, sometimes as half-human, half-snake. Indonesia comprises a few hundred ethnic groups, including Javanese, Chinese and Betawi. Have a lovely day.”
For now, fans will have to wait and see how Kim's secretive role will go down. While fans know the character's magical curse will one day turn her into Nagini permanently, the story of how she gets there may assuage the fears fans have about the role's unconscious racism.
So, what do you think of the final trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald? Do you have an issue with this big reveal? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics and anime!
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald opens November 16, followed by the yet-to-be-named Fantastic Beasts 3 on November 20, 2020.
So Nagini the snake...is a Korean witch...that lived in Albania with a Sanskrit name...that’s an animagus??
This ain’t it— virghoe (@serpentbrownie) September 26, 2018
"Nagini is an Albanian snake"— Sky♠️? (@blackcatblue9) September 26, 2018
"Nagini is actually a cursed human"
"A cursed WOC, in fact!"
"Played by a Korean!"
"Was in a circus! Voldemort's pet snake!"
--So Evil White Guy's pet is a WOC?
"I kept this secret for 20 years!"
--... *opens book* pic.twitter.com/mu8L5ZZAol
Jkr: I've known Nagini is a woman for 20 years— andie ☆ (@ahstanoka) September 26, 2018
Literally everyone: pic.twitter.com/cdd206PUTO
All these people upset about Nagini being Asian keep calling her "a pet" and it's like... Did you guys only watch the films? I'm Asian. I'm happy to see Asian women in Hollywood films. I have no problem with them portraying us as badasses, or villains. We can be villains too. FU.— Dawn Moore (@dawnwow) September 26, 2018
I have no words for how disgusted I am by the whole Nagini thing. To have a creature depicted as no more than a beast revealed to be a PERSON, a WOMAN, is bad enough, but for her to specifically be an East Asian woman?
Bad look. Bad fucking look.— JY Yang ✍? (they/them) (@halleluyang) September 26, 2018
Me: jk Rowling totally pulled the Nagini is an asian woman thing out of her ass and it’s literally canon that Voldemort drinks naginis snake titty milk— dulce de leche carmel Phoenix ⚡️ (@Kelseyummm) September 26, 2018
Also me, desperate for any asian woman representation: I should be Nagini for Halloween
This is my feelings regarding the nagini issue: when I read the books, never ever in my life thought that nagini is a slave. Nagini is voldy’s right hand like a vice pres to a president. He trusts her like a comrade. His only comrade.— WomanUp ✨ (@bookishlycali) September 26, 2018
Dumbledore is gay. Hermione might be black. There are magic schools with spirit animals in N.America. And now, Nagini is an Asian woman trapped in the form of a snake. ALL of these stink of post-production tweaking NOT at all well supported in the original canon and it shows.— Fonda Lee (@FondaJLee) September 26, 2018
us: so how ab some lgbt and poc rep
jkr: how about uhh... dumbledore is gay but it never gets mentioned and uh *spins wheel* nagini is an asian woman who gets beheaded without a second thought— karolina dean love bot (@therunagays) September 26, 2018