Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has a massive Dumbledore twist that massively retcons Wizarding World canon. However, instead of breaking the Harry Potter timeline, it reinvigorates the series, promising a much more exciting future for the prequel series.
Ever since Johnny Depp was cast as Gellert Grindelwald and Albus Dumbledore was namedropped in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, it was clear that the Newt Scamander prequel was going to be more about the legendary conflict between the two great wizards than it was collecting big monsters in new cities. This was particularly exciting as much of Dumbledore's past had been cut from the Harry Potter movies, making this prequel a chance to fill in some very interesting gaps.
However, this isn't just about dramatizing what was teased in the books. Fantastic Beasts 2's ending has a massive twist that completely reshapes what even Rita Skeeter knew about Albus Dumbledore, and makes Ezra Miller's Credence one of the most important characters in the whole Harry Potter canon. And even though it very easily could have been terrible, Aurelius Dumbledore may just be the most exciting thing to happen to the franchise in the past decade.
- This Page: The Problems With Fantastic Beasts 2's Credence/Dumbledore Twist
- Page 2: Why Fantastic Beasts Is More Exciting With Credence As A Dumbledore
Credence Is Dumbledore's Brother (Who We Never Heard About Before)
The big twist at the end of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is that Credence Barebone is Aurelius Dumbledore, Albus' long-lost brother. After spending two movies unsure of his true identity or potential Credence signs up with Grindelwald, apparating to his Austrain alpine headquarters. There, the wizard facist attempts to bring him fully around to the cause by revealing his true heritage, exemplfied by the raven he'd been caring for is actually a phoenix (probably Fawkes), a symbol of the Dumbledores.
This rug-pull is made all the more startling by the fact Aurelius had never been alluded to in Harry Potter canon before. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, where Albus Dumbledore's dark past was posthumously revealed, the big secrets yeased were his squib (now presumed to be obscurial) sister Ariana and his relationship with Grindelwald. Fantastic Beasts takes these two aspects as a given, and so has now unearthed something so shocking it beggars Wizarding World comprehension.
Fundamentally, it's the film's biggest retcon. Aurelius Dumbledore is so clearly concocted for the Fantastic Beasts series - possibly even after the first movie - and toes a fine line against what we already knew. It is, plainly, a very dangerous story choice.
Aurelius Dumbledore Could Have Broken Harry Potter
The problems with Aurelius Dumbledore should be immediate to any Harry Potter fan. First there's the lack of timeline logic of it all. Credence was 18 at the time of the first Fantastic Beasts film, set in 1926, which would have his birth year as 1908. Albus' mother, Kendra, died in 1989, while father Percival was sent to Askaban in 1890 (for attacking muggle boys who bullied Ariana), where he eventually died at a later date. There is no way for Credence to be Albus' full brother, and him being a half-sibling requires stretching Percival's timeline and having him conceiving a child almost twenty years into his magical prison sentence.
Then there's the storytelling cracks it reveals. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has already retconned Harry Potter canon in many ways, some slight - Newt's obliviate only affects bad memories - some full-on plot holes - Professor McGonagall is teaching at Hogwarts before she was born - and while none are really damaging to the point they actively break the Harry Potter timeline, they show a George Lucas-like obsession on J.K. Rowling's part. She's tying the universe together far too tightly, forcing unrelated characters in where they're not needed. And making the boy everybody's chasing, who just happened to be swapped for Corvus Lestrange and is now Grindelwald's secret weapon, also Albus Dumbledore's brother is the weirdest, most contrived of the lot.
And yet, despite all these concerns, nothing snaps. There's still the open door of how it can makes sense and, beyond that, Fantastic Beasts 2 actually does a good job of making this twist believable and the future of the franchise actually exciting.