Fantastic Beasts 2 has just started filming, ready for release in November, 2018. With a screenplay once again penned by J.K. Rowling, Fantastic Beasts 2 will follow on from the successful return to her wizarding world that we saw in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

With the continuation of the Fantastic Beasts moniker (the movie’s subtitle has yet to be revealed, if it has one) you could be forgiven for thinking the second of this five-movie arc will focus on Newt Scamander and his magical creatures once again, but in fact, the plot takes us into a much darker era altogether. Here’s everything we know about the second Harry Potter prequel (so far).

Newt Scamander Does Return

Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts Everything We Know About Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them 2

Yes, Newt is back, though perhaps not in a particularly central role. Essentially, Fantastic Beasts 2 will focus on the continued rise of Grindelwald (more on him in a moment), and not on Newt’s adventures. However, Eddie Redmayne will return as the lovable, quiet magizoologist. At the end of Fantastic Beasts, he was leaving New York and his newfound love, Tina (Katherine Waterston). When the sequel picks up, he’s back in England and his book has been published. Presumably he’s still locating and documenting beasts of a magical and fantastical nature, but he’s going to need to take a break, because an old friend needs to call in a favor… and who can ever refuse the call of Albus Dumbledore?

Jude Law Makes His Fantastic Beasts Debut

Jude Law Dumbledore Fantastic Beasts 2 Everything We Know About Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them 2

Cast as the young Dumbledore, Jude Law will join an extraordinarily long list of British stars who have appeared in Rowling’s Wizarding World in some form or other. So far we know that Newt Scamander was expelled from Hogwarts and that Dumbledore (who was not headmaster at the time) fought for him to stay. The reason for his expulsion was that an experiment he was working on went wrong, and harmed a student, but Dumbledore would probably not have fought his corner if he felt Newt was at fault. There must be some reason why and how Newt is still able to practice magic after his expulsion, so the bond between the two men must be strong despite the age gap. With Newt back on British soil, we should get to find out more about the relationship, and Dumbledore must respect Newt’s abilities because he’s asked for his help to track down…

Grindelwald

Johnny Depp as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts Everything We Know About Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them 2

Briefly seen in Fantastic Beasts, Johnny Depp returns as Grindelwald, the dark wizard who was captured by MACUSA, with help from Newt Scamander. He has now somehow escaped their clutches and is making his way across Europe, recruiting followers. Clearly, this is a worry; we’ve already seen what a dark wizard can do when Voldemort was around, but Grindelwald is the one who started it all. He’s very bitter towards Dumbledore, as well. The pair had been great friends, but fell out after a duel went wrong and resulted in the tragic death of Dumbledore’s sister. This sent Dumbledore into a state of grief and guilt during which he tried to stay away from the old conflict, but eventually Grindelwald’s thirst for dark magic and the Deathly Hallows became too great to ignore, and Dumbledore more or less made it his personal mission to bring Grindelwald down. Eventually, at the end of the five movie arc, we will almost certainly see the infamous duel between these two great wizards that has become part of Harry Potter lore, and resulted in Dumbledore taking possession of the Elder Wand – one of the Deathly Hallows.

We’ll Get to Properly Meet Leta Lestrange

Fantastic Beasts Leta Lestrange Everything We Know About Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them 2

Zoë Kravitz technically made her debut as Leta Lestrange in the first Fantastic Beasts movie, but she was merely seen as a moving picture. There’s clearly a history between her and Newt Scamander: they’re old schoolfriends, and perhaps more than that. What’s almost certain, though, is that Leta was working with Newt at Hogwarts when their experiment went wrong, and it’s possible that Newt took the fall for her. Take note of the surname, too – the Lestrange family were notorious Death Eaters, and Bellatrix married into that family. It’s possible that Leta is not a pleasant person, and her betrayal could be the reason for Newt’s obvious discomfort and upset when Queenie mentions her in Fantastic Beasts. Speaking of Queenie….

Next Page: Who Else is Returning?

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