Ladies and Gents: It’s here. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Crimes of Grindelwald is now out in a theater near you! This is the second film in what is rumored to be a five-film franchise, and Potterheads can’t wait to see what kind of adventures Newt takes us on this time. For those of you who are new to this fandom and may need a refresher before going to see the film, here’s everything you need to know before sitting down with a bucket of popcorn in your favorite theater.
A ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Recap
Much of the first Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film was setting the scene for the following movies in the series. We witnessed the American Ministry of Magic and along with it the American Prime Minister (a woman, might I add), which seems to set up important information for the following movies. We meet main character Newt Scamander, who was expelled from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for “endangering human life with a beast.” Newt travels to New York with a magical briefcase full of creatures where he meets muggle Jacob and witch sisters Tina and Queenie. Newt, Jacob, Tina and Queenie work together to defeat Grindelwald, a dark wizard who is on the run. In the process, we encounter Credence, a muggle child who appears to have magical abilities. Due to his upbringing in a home that cursed witchcraft, Credence subdued and internalized his powers, ultimately destroying himself. An important detail comes from Credence’s fate: we learn that he is an obscurus, which literally translates to “the manifestation of the repressed energy of a magical child.”
What’s The Deal With Grindelwald, Anyway?
As the title of the new Harry Potter movie is called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Crimes of Grindelwald, we know that Grindelwald will play an important role in the upcoming film. Grindelwald, as we Potterheads know from the Harry Potter books, was the childhood best friend of Albus Dumbledore; the pair were famous for their political initiative called “The Greater Good.” This initiative refers to the idea that the wizarding community should reveal themselves to the muggle world so they don’t have to live in fear anymore and can take their place as rulers over the muggle race. Grindelwald has gotten in trouble for taking this scheme too far, which is why he went undercover in the first Fantastic Beasts movie and got in so much trouble when he was discovered at the end of the film. We can expect the investigation into his crimes to go deeper in this film, but how far can we expect them to go?
Young Dumbledore Is fLAWless
Jude Law makes his Harry Potter franchise debut as a young Dumbledore, leaving us with nothing but the utmost respect for the casting directors. From the book series, we know that before Albus Dumbledore took over the high-back Headmaster chair and the home of the Sorting Hat, he was the Hogwarts school Transfiguration professor. In the Crimes of Grindelwald trailer, we see him teaching a class about bogarts (a creature that takes the form of a person’s worst fear), which we also know from the Prisoner of Azkaban book is a lesson that Defense Against the Dark Arts professors teach. If you’re a true Potterhead like me, you may have raised your eyebrows at this inconsistency. However, I’ve been too intrigued about the relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald for far too long, as it has been hinted at in the books, and I’m willing to overlook this plot inconsistency if it means learning more about the pair who believed in the “Greater Good.”
Our Favorite Snake Will Make An Appearance… And It’s Not The Way You’d Expect
While it has been rumored that Nagini is the snake Harry accidentally releases from the zoo in the first Harry Potter book, Nagini makes her official debut in the first chapter of the Goblet of Fire where we see her nursing her master, Lord Voldemort, back to life. The snake becomes an important character throughout the books, ultimately ending in the revelation that she is one of the seven Horcruxes (an object where a person hides part of their soul, making them immortal) that Lord Voldemort has made.
There’s a moment in the Crimes of Grindelwald trailer that has me shook. The scene shows Credence calling to a woman named Nagini, and then shows that woman transforming into a snake moments later. JK Rowling herself has revealed that Nagini is a woman who has been cursed with a blood curse called “Maledictus.” We can infer, since Nagini only shows her snake self in the Harry Potter books, that the curse will ultimately exile her to snake-form for the rest of her life. Will it happen in this film? I think we’re about to find out.
I have to point this out to my fellow Potterheads — it’s a little interesting that Nagini will now be the second human that Lord Voldemort has made into a Horcrux. How wild.
The Significance Of The New Movie Title
We know Newt is important because of the book he wrote about his beasts that ultimately becomes a staple textbook for Hogwarts students who take the Care of Magical Creatures class. However, does the title of this new film hint at the franchise taking a new direction? Magical creatures were so involved in the first film that it might seem like they’ve taken the back burner to Grindelwald in this sequel. The creatures will have to play some sort of role, but will they share as much of the time in the spotlight this time around? Gellert Grindelwald is looking to be the main attraction here, folks. Hopefully we’ll still get a little niffler action.
Take It All With A Grain Of Salt…
We always had the book before the movie with Harry Potter; even the Fantastic Beasts manual itself came out before the first film did. This means that although we can speculate on what will happen in this new film, we really have no idea of the events that are about to unfold. Here are some things we know for sure: the relationship between Grindelwald and Dumbledore will be explored (is it as platonic as we once thought?) while the relationships between Newt and Tina and Jacob and Queenie will be built upon as well. Credence and Nagini seem to have a sort of elevated friendship, and Newt’s brother and past flame Leta Lestrange will be introduced. There’s so much room for more to be explored, but how much will they put into this one film? Will we see the iconic duel between Albus Dumbledore, Gellert Grindelwald and Aberforth Dumbledore? Will we see the conquering of the Elder Wand?