No need to wait for The Daily Prophet to break news from your movie set when you can beat them to the punch and announce it yourself? That might be why, with principal photography for the first Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them sequel starting today, Warner Bros. Studios and Pottermore revealed a whole semester’s worth of information about the film.
In fact, there’s so much we need to break it down and what it all might mean.
Newt and Dumbledore Will Team Up (Much Sooner Than We Might Have Guessed)
We knew Dumbledore would appear in the movie, with Jude Law stepping into the role of the younger (but still middle-aged) professor at Hogwarts. But it won’t be in some mere cameo, as he’s reportedly going to team up with Newt. That’s because apparently Johnny Depp’s Grindelwald–last seen being arrested by MACUSA–will make “make a dramatic escape,” which will force Dumbledore “to join the wizarding world’s efforts to stop him.”
Dumbledore might feel some urgency to help because the Dark Wizard’s army will be growing thanks to his promise of “elevating wizards above all non-magical beings.” That idea of magical superiority is the plan a young Grindelwald and Dumbledore discussed as ambitious teenagers.
This news of a Dumbledore/Scamander team up isn’t surprising, but Harry Potter readers will remember Dumbledore telling Harry how he procrastinated facing off against his former friend until he had no choice. But that infamous duel, the one we believe this entire five-part film series will end with, didn’t take place until 1945. This movie will start a few months after the first ended, in 1927, meaning Dumbledore’s counter-measures could be much more covert and behind-the-scenes, or that someone else–like Newt–might be in the most danger facing Grindelwald.
In the first film, Grindelwald (disguised as the American Auror Percival Graves), asked Newt why Dumbledore was “so fond” of him, and why Dumbledore had argued against Scamander’s expulsion from Hogwarts. We don’t have those answers yet, but clearly Dumbledore sees something special in his former student, and there is a close bond between them.
That bond could be strained though, because “the mission against Grindelwald will test their loyalties as the wizarding world becomes more divided and dangerous.” A test other characters, new and old, will also face.
New Characters and a Magical Circus!
If you appear in a movie, but only as a (moving) picture, were you really in it? That’s a question for SAG, but as viewers the news that Zoë Kravitz’s Leta Lestrange will truly be in this movie is all that matters. That’s because her troubled past relationship with Newt, which was only vaguely referenced when Queenie read his mind in the first film, was one of the movie’s great mysteries. We wouldn’t trust a Lestrange, especially when dark forces are gathering.
(This is in addition to the earlier news of a casting call for a young Leta Lestrange, as well as a young Newt, and teenage versions of Dumbledore and Grindelwald.)
Also joining the cast will be Yusuf Kam as a wizard, and Icelandic-actor Ingvar Sigurdsson as a bounty hunter. Normally the idea of a magical Boba Fett would be the most exciting casting news of the day, but that’s overshadowed by the fact Ólafur Darri Ólafsson will play Skender, “the owner of a wizarding circus,” with Claudia Kim starring as “one of the circus’s featured attractions.”
A freaking magical circus? Why didn’t one of these already exist? And why isn’t this idea already being spun off?
Also new to the cast will be Callum Turner, who will play Theseus Scamander, Newt’s older brother who was mentioned in the first film as being an Auror and famous war hero. With Grindelwald’s expanding army testing the loyalties of wizards everywhere, it’s tough to know who among this group will be friend or foe. That even includes Newt’s brother.
Returning Characters, Mysterious and Not
Sisters Tina (Katherine Waterston) and Queenie Goldstein (Alison Sudol) will both be back, but two characters whose fates weren’t as clear at the end of the first film will also be returning, one more mysterious than the other.
No-Maj American Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), whose journey through the world of magic was obliviated from memory, will be back. Although his mind was wiped clean, there did seem to be a “flicker” when Queenie visited him at his magical-creatures inspired bakery at the end, so that might not be a permanent condition.
But the more mysterious return will be that of the troubled young Obscurial Credence (Ezra Miller). He was last seen (seemingly) being destroyed, but Newt did see a “tendril of black matter” leave the train station, indicating he survived his dangerous explosion.
Most telling–or rather not telling–is that Credence will be back “in a mysterious way.” Does that mean no one else knows he is still alive, Grindelwald included? Or that he is working with someone in secret? Considering how shy and awkward Credence was in the first film, and that Grindelwald (as Graves) revealed he didn’t care about him, we’d lean towards him being alone, like a sad nuclear bomb with a mind of its own.
But where might that bomb go off?
New York, London, and Paris
The first movie ended with Newt Scamander on a boat back to Europe, and we’re going to see two major cities there in the second film, with both London and Paris being major locales. But with the Goldstein sisters, Jacob Kowalski, and a MACUSA-escaping Grindelwald prominently involved, the first movie’s setting of New York will also play a part.
Grindelwald’s threat mirrored that of Hitler’s in Europe, during the same time period (both wars ended in May of 1945), so the films were always going to move there. Most telling here is what location isn’t mentioned: Ilvermorny in Massachusetts, the American Hogwarts.
The buildup to the first film included J.K. Rowling’s history of Ilvermorny, which was then only briefly talked about in the movie. This news doesn’t guarantee that it won’t appear in this first of four sequels (it’s showing up at some point, it’s Chekhov’s school at this point), but considering all of the news released by Warner Bros. Studios and Pottermore today, if it does it could end up being very important, and it’s exclusion today was meant to keep an important development or moment secret.
With the movie still over a year away (scheduled for a release of November 16th, 2018), much of this news would have leaked anyway. While we could have guessed the movie would have “many nods to the world of Harry Potter,” most of today’s information would have been leaked anyway.
It’s almost impossible to protect your set secrets when ruthless Animagus beetles are running around.
But what do you make of all this news? What are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments below.
Images: Warner Bros. Studios