The wait for J.K. Rowling’s second installment of the Fantastic Beasts franchise is nearly over. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald will premiere next week on November 16th and boy are we excited.
For those of you who haven’t watched the first film, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, it’s based in the same world of wizardry that Harry Potter is later born into but follows a different set of characters. The main protagonist in Fantastic Beasts is a Magizoologist named Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) who is a competent wizard that loves, well, fantastic beasts.
At the end of the first Fantastic Beasts film the main villain is revealed to be the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp). Grindelwald is basically the original Lord Voldemort; he’s obsessed with dark magic and wants the world to be ruled by pure-blooded wizards. He was defeated and taken into custody by MACUSA, the Magical Congress of the United States of America, but we can safely assume that his stay behind bars was quite short. Do they even have Dementors in U.S. prisons?
The Crimes of Grindelwald takes place in 1927, just a year after the first film, but this time the story takes us away from America and back to England, Paris, and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Fans will be delighted to know that, “Going back to Hogwarts is a very important function to this story,” according to the film’s director, David Yates.
There have been numerous trailers for the film and they’ve given fans more and more to chew on the closer it gets to opening day. Most of the information pertaining to The Crimes of Grindelwald has been extracted from a combination of these trailers and interviews conducted with its actors, writers, and producers.
Of course, all details regarding the movie’s plot remain speculatory, but the general storyline will involve a young Albus Dumbledore, played by Jude Law, acquiring Newt’s help to stop Grindelwald’s plans of exposing the wizarding world and enslaving all non-magical beings under the rule of pure-blooded wizards. This will be the first time we’re seeing a young version of Dumbledore and the movie’s producers assure us that he’s nothing like the ancient headmaster we are accustomed to in the Harry Potter films. The movie’s producers went out and hired a handful of young actors during the filming process so there’s a good chance we’ll get to see a teenage Grindelwald as well.
We can expect Grindelwald to escape from his magical prison by hijacking a Thestral chariot using the Elder Wand, which tells us that Dumbledore hasn’t won its ownership at this point. Dumbledore’s homosexuality and affection for Grindelwald are hinted at in the Harry Potter books, but it seems likely that it will be made blatant in this film. In one of the trailer scenes, Dumbledore is shown standing in front of the Mirror of Erised, which shows what your heart most desires and Grindelwald is seen staring back at him. Dumbledore’s feelings for Grindelwald may be the reason why he sends Newt after him instead of doing the job himself.
For one reason or another (Grindelwald was probably seen here) a large part of each trailer emphasizes a wizarding circus. One of the more surprising, exciting tidbits of information that the trailers gave us was that one of the women in the circus is actually Nagini, one of Lord Voldemort’s Horcruxes. It has also been revealed that Nagini, who turns into her python form in the trailer, isn’t an Animagus, or someone who can transform into an animal by choice. Rather, Nagini is a Maledictus, or a person who has a magical blood curse that will eventually transform her into an animal for good.
It wouldn’t be a part of the Fantastic Beasts series if the film didn’t include a plethora of amazing magical animals. The trailers alone show off Thestrals, giant dragon-cat hybrids, a weird Groot looking creature that can only be revealed with magical dust of some sort, and a sea dragon made out of seaweed. Newt will also be accompanied by his returning friends, the Bowtruckle named Pickett, and his greedy little Niffler. There’s another scene in one of the trailers that reveal the leg of some kind of beast stomping into the ground and in the split second it looks like the claw of a hippogriff, but don’t quote me on that.
Along with Newt we can expect to see the No-Maj gentleman Jacob (Dan Fogler), sisters Tina (Katherine Waterston) and Queenie Goldstein (Alison Sudol), MACUSA President Seraphina Picquery (Carmen Ejogo), and supervisor Abernathy returning in the sequel. Ezra Miller’s character Credence will also be returning despite his apparent death at the end of the first movie. Credence lived in a household where magic wasn’t accepted so he repressed his power and eventually developed an Obscurus. An Obscurus is a dreadful, uncontrollable force, so we’ll have to wait and see what role he plays in the story.
A couple of new faces we can expect to see include Newt’s older brother Theseus (Callum Turner) who is the Head of the Auror Office at the British Ministry of Magic. Theseus is engaged to Leta Lestrange (Zoe Kravitz) who was introduced through one of Newt’s photographs in the first movie and has a familiar last name. Other new character names include Bunty, Spielman, Torquil Travers, Rosier, and Arnold Guzman, according to Pottermore.
Another interesting character addition that we haven’t seen before in the Harry Potter universe is that of Nicolas Flamel, the creator of the Philosopher’s Stone. Flamel will be played by Brontis Jodorowsky and it will be intriguing to see how he plays into things.
Rowling, the incredible writer of the Harry Potter books, wrote the script for The Crimes of Grindelwald herself, so we should be in for an absolute treat. If you haven’t already, go check out our social media feeds and enter into our Fantastic Beasts 2 early screening ticket give away.