Open casting calls for the Harry Potter franchise are nothing new, but rarely have they been as exciting and surprising as the recent one put out by Warner Bros. That’s because the latest listing for the next installment of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is looking to fill the roles of younger versions of some of the most important characters in the films, including a teenage Albus Dumbledore and his childhood-friend-turned-enemy Gellert Grindelwald.
Pottemore reported that Warner Bros. Pictures is trying to find five young actors for the first sequel (of four) to Fantastic Beasts. The studio is seeking two actors “between 16 and 18 to portray both Gellert Grindelwald and Albus Dumbledore as teenagers,” as well as “three actors between the ages of 13 and 16 to play young versions” of Newt Scamander, Leta Lestrange, and an unknown character called Sebastian. Those ages would go back decades for both groups, meaning we would probably wouldn’t see any of these young versions via Time-Turners, but rather by memories in a Pensieve, or just in straight flashbacks.
Leta was mentioned (and seen via a photograph) in the first film, in a scene where Newt hinted at a close relationship with her that had turned sour. The two knew each other at Hogwarts, but whatever bad happened between them was something Newt didn’t want to discuss when talking to Queenie. When Queenie read Newt’s mind she said, “She’s a taker, you need a giver,” indicating Leta might not have been the nicest friend–or girlfriend–in the world. (She was a Lestrange after all.)
As for Sebastian, it’s fairly reasonable to guess he was another Hogwarts student, but there’s no way to know from this casting call if he came between the two, was the third member of their group (a la Harry, Ron, and Hermione), or even if he had something to do with Newt’s eventual expulsion from Hogwarts.
As for the call for a young Dumbledore and Grindelwald (which follows the casting of Jude Law as the younger-older Dumbledore), that age listing puts them right square in the middle of their brief, but monumentally important friendship when they were teenagers, the one discussed in-depth in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. That period in their lives was when the two planned to essentially take over the world.
We’ve been theorizing since before the first Fantastic Beasts movie that this franchise was heading towards the famous duel between the Hogwarts professor and the infamous Dark Wizard, and that was put in motion when their friendship ended one fateful night when they were teenagers. That was when Grindelwald dueled with Albus and his brother Aberforth, and the youngest Dumbledore sibling, their sick and troubled sister Ariana, was accidentally killed during the fight.
After the first Fantastic Beasts movie, we also wondered if Ariana had been an Obscurial, and that’s where Grindelwald’s obsession with Creedence and his untapped, dangerous power came from. He might have learned about Ariana’s real condition all those years earlier, and knew what could be done with it in the wrong hands.
This casting news would strongly point towards both theories having quite a bit of merit. Obviously what happened between young Dumbledore and Grindelwald had major consequences in the wizarding world for a long time, but there’s still so much more to learn about it. It now looks like we will.
Filming for the movie begins this summer, and is scheduled to come to theaters on November 16th, 2018. Which is good, because that gives us plenty of time to imagine everything this casting news could mean.
What do you make of this casting call? What do you think it means for the franchise? Apparate into our comments below with your thoughts.
Images: Warner Bros. Studios