Jude Law to play Dumbledore in "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" sequel

Jude Law attends the “Black Sea” New York screening at Landmark Sunshine Cinema on Jan. 21, 2015, in New York.

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NEW YORK -- Most “Harry Potter” fans probably would not guess that Jude Law would ever play Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore, but the “Young Pope” actor is indeed taking on the role -- but not as the wizened old character viewers came to love in “Harry Potter.” 

Instead, Law will play a young Dumbledore in the next “Fantastic Beasts” installment.

Warner Bros. announced the casting Tuesday. The iconic wizard was played by two actors in the “Harry Potter” films, beginning with Richard Harris. After his death in 2002, Michael Gambon inherited the role.

J.K. Rowling, who has said Dumbledore is gay, has previously teased that the five-part prequel franchise of “Fantastic Beasts” will explore a more “troubled” time in Dumbledore’s life. The author said, “We’ll see him at that formative period of his life. As far as his sexuality is concerned, watch this space.”

Production on the next “Fantastic Beasts” film is to begin this summer, with a release scheduled for November next year. Last year’s “Fantastic Beasts” grossed $813 worldwide.