Olivier award-winning actress (and Doctor Who alum) has been cast as Hemione Granger in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the upcoming stage play written by J.K Rowling that'll continue the popular series.
Dumezweni, a black Swazilander born to South African parents, has most recently been drawing critical acclaim for her performance as Linda in a play by the same name about a business woman coming into her professional prime at 55.
As news of Dumezweni's casting spread, the internet reacted as one might expect. Some fans, for whom the Harry Potter films are the only canon, were confused as to why a black woman had been cast as a character traditionally portrayed by a white woman.
Rowling herself took to Twitter to endorse the casting decision, pointing out that her description of Hermione's appearance were limited to her hair being bushy and her eyes being brown.
Though Hemione is never explicitly given a specific race within the books, there are a number of things about the character that have led people to read her as a racial minority.
“A black Hermione Granger isn’t just a chance to see something new," Zeba Blay explained to The Huffington Post. "But an opportunity to create a more complex reading of the book series, which has political themes that draw parallels between the Death Eaters and racist hate groups.”
In addition to her hair, Granger's sometimes derogatorily referred to as a "mudblood," a pejorative term in the wizarding community for people with non-magical parents.
Despite being one of the most magically talented witches of her age, both of her parents were noted for being run of the mill muggle dentists, making Hemione something of a rarity.
Regardless of where fans stand on the progressive casting choice, Dumezweni will debut her performance as Hermione in Harry Potter and The Cursed Child early next summer.