Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has proven itself to be a very welcome return to J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World. Fans have missed the fantasy adventures and the ingenious little touches that make the magical worlds of her creation such delightful places to be, and Fantastic Beasts has all of that, plus touches of warm heart and humor that make it thoroughly enjoyable. It also offers something else that Harry Potter fans love: darkness versus light, and enough possibilities for us to theorize endlessly until it’s time for the next installment to be released.
Fantastic Beasts is the first of five planned films, and though Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander is the central character in this one, he is not necessarily set to be the main focus going forward. Instead, it’s the darker subplot of Fantastic Beasts that will come to the fore, as Grindelwald plays a larger part in proceedings. So, what exactly can we expect from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2?
A Hop Across the Ocean
It is already known that Fantastic Beasts 2 will be set in Paris, and director David Yates has confirmed that we will see Newt there. He has also said that the sequel is “ambitious” and “very different” to Fantastic Beasts. This most likely signals a change in tone, perhaps following the layout of the Harry Potter movies, which became darker as the franchise progressed. Given that the dark wizard Grindelwald will be the focus of the franchise as a whole, this would seem an accurate assumption to make. But why Paris? Thus far, the only thing we really know about the French Wizarding community is that they have a school called Beauxbatons, which featured in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire when they competed in the Tri-Wizard tournament. We might see or hear them mentioned, but it seems far more likely that Newt is somehow in Paris at the same time as Grindelwald, since it is already known that his rise to power primarily took place in Europe.
Paris is the city of romance, which makes it the perfect place to expand upon the relationship between Newt and Tina Goldstein. In Fantastic Beasts, there was a definite spark between the two characters, and we know from the books that the pair do eventually marry. Their grandson also goes on to marry Luna Lovegood, for those fans of Harry Potter trivia. With Newt and Tina set to appear in the second Fantastic Beasts, we can probably expect to see some progression of this romance, at least. Another budding romance was that of Queenie Goldstein and Jacob Kowalski, though that seemed to end when Jacob had to be obliviated. However, the ending of the film brought us a sweet moment between the pair when Queenie visited Jacob’s No-Maj bakery and the pair seemed smitten once more. In New York in 1926 it was illegal for a No-Maj and a Witch or Wizard to marry, but might Queenie and Jacob defy the law and get together anyway?
Fewer Fantastic Beasts
This is a film penned by Rowling, so it’s fair to expect at least some magical creatures - however, we won’t see quite as many as Fantastic Beasts introduced. Yates has admitted that as the franchise progresses, Newt Scamander will play a smaller role, and that in turn will mean fewer beasts. According to the Harry Potter timeline, Newt’s Fantastic Beasts book was released in 1927, and with the franchise spanning 19 years, some time hops have to take place. It seems likely that Fantastic Beasts 2 will pick up some time after Newt’s book has been published, and he will be working on something else entirely. Still, fingers crossed for another appearance from both the Niffler and the Bowtruckle, since both of these stole the hearts of audience members and brought some great comic moments to the movie.
One of the more intriguing moments of Fantastic Beasts was when Queenie found a picture of Leta Lestrange in Newt’s workshed. Newt became visibly uncomfortable and tried to dismiss the photo, but Queenie used her Legilimency skills and read his mind, proclaiming “She’s a taker. You need a giver.” So far, we don’t know much about Leta, played by Zoë Kravitz, other than the fact that Newt obviously had feelings for her while they were both students at Hogwarts. When one of Leta’s experiments went wrong and endangered the life of another student, Newt took the blame and was expelled.
Of course, Leta's surname will be familiar to Harry Potter fans, as it was also the married nameof the infamous dark witch, Bellatrix. The Lestrange family were among Lord Voldemort’s biggest supporters, and well known Death Eaters. Yates has said we will learn more of Leta and Newt’s relationship, and it is possible that Leta has become a supporter of Grindelwald, given her family’s penchant for Dark Wizards. To fit with the Harry Potter universe timeline, Leta could potentially be Rodolphus Lestrange’s grandmother; and he is the man who married Bellatrix. If this is the case, then Leta’s son could have been at Hogwarts with Voldemort.
Johnny Depp will make his first full, official appearance as Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts 2, after his brief cameo in the first movie. Grindelwald’s rise to power is steadily gaining momentum; in 1926, when Fantastic Beasts is set, he is already considered a global threat, but he’s still looking to harness more dark magic, hence his obsession with using an obscurial. Once he discovers Credence is the one possessed by the dark force, he tries his hardest to coax him back, but Credence has none of it. Though Grindelwald is taken into custody by MACUSA, we know he escapes somehow, because he goes on a rampage across Europe, eventually meeting his former friend and now arch-enemy, Dumbledore, in a duel. Grindelwald seems intent on causing war between the Magical community and No-Maj’s (or whatever they’ll be known as in Paris). He also, as we already know, is obsessed by the Deathly Hallows, and is seeking them all out; it was this obsession that led to his falling out with Dumbledore.
Dumbledore Fights Back
The big duel between Grindelwald and Dumbledore won’t happen until 1945, which is when the fifth Fantastic Beasts will draw to a close. Prior to that, Dumbledore will feature throughout the rest of the Fantastic Beasts films. Sadly, he won’t be played by Michael Gambon, which is strange, considering Dumbledore is already teaching at Hogwarts, and in flashbacks shown in Harry Potter, he is still played by Gambon when he first meets Tom Riddle in 1938.
That aside, Dumbledore in Fantastic Beasts 2 will be a man on a mission to stop Grindelwald’s dark work. He has already experienced Grindelwald’s wrath in person, when his sister Ariana was accidentally killed in a three-way duel between Grindelwald, Dumbledore, and his brother, Aberforth. It is highly likely that Ariana was an obscurus too, and Grindelwald’s determination to harness an obscurus for his own good is probably what led to the initial falling out between the two former friends.
Ariana and Aberforth
Though Ariana is already dead, it is almost certain that we will at the very least hear her mentioned a great deal, though in keeping with previous Harry Potter movies, we could well see her in flashback. Fans of Harry Potter will know of Ariana from her brother, Aberforth’s, account in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but other, more regular viewers will not. Assaulted by three Muggle boys when she was only six, Ariana was left scared of her own magic skills, and tried to suppress them. Her father placed curses on the three boys, and was sent to Azkaban for it, leaving her mother to move to Godric’s Hollow where Ariana was kept hidden. All this while, her magic grew into an uncontrollable, dangerous force, and, during a fit when she was 14, Ariana accidentally killed her mother, leaving Albus Dumbledore, as the eldest, to become her guardian.
It’s never harmful to refresh people’s minds, so expect Ariana’s backstory and death to be explained, and the revelation that she was an obscurus to come. Whether that will emerge in the second movie or subsequent installments remains to be seen.
As for Aberforth Dumbledore, all we really know of him is that Ariana’s death had a profound effect on him, since she was his favorite sibling. He blamed Albus for her death, and their relationship became strained. Aberforth went on to become landlord of the Hogs Head Inn in Hogsmeade and assisted Harry, Ron and Hermione in their hunt for the Horcruxes. It’s possible that Aberforth won’t feature at all in Fantastic Beasts, but he could crop up either in flashback, or as a minor character.
The Return of Credence Barebone
Recent comments from Yates revealed that a scene was cut from the end of Fantastic Beasts that showed Credence alive and well, boarding a boat that could be the same one that Newt left New York on. The fact that he somehow survived while his obscurus was destroyed is in keeping with a lot of fans noticing that when he was killed, a small piece of black was seen floating away. Yates also notes that Credence will play an important role moving forward; great news for fans of Ezra Miller, who turned in a strong performance as the tortured teenage wizard, who was desperately ashamed of his powers.
Credence could well end up in Paris, somehow, but wherever he is you can bet that Grindelwald will be keeping tabs on him. Think of Credence almost as a weapon of mass destruction; his obscurus may have been destroyed, but Grindelwald wants to harness his power and use it to cause harm to the No-Maj community. There is a chance that Credence’s obscurus will return; after everything that happened in the subway, Credence will be in emotional turmoil and possibly even more desperate to hide his powers than ever. On the other hand, it could be that Credence has realized the true strength of his powers and is now determined to harness his dark magic. Maybe he will go back to Grindelwald of his own volition, and maybe he’ll be an influence on another dark force, who, in 1926, has just been born….
Let’s Look to the Future
Rowling has teased the natural arc to her story, and we now have the starting point in place. It’s pretty easy to work out that Fantastic Beasts 5 will culminate in the duel between Dumbledore and Grindelwald, when Albus will take possession of the Elder Wand, but what else could be still to come? It’s hard to predict the exact nature of each movie, of course, but there are some key points to note, all of which take place between 1926 and 1945, the exact time span of the Fantastic Beasts franchise. In 1926, Tom Riddle was born. Of course, he became known as Lord Voldemort and was the most powerful dark wizard of all time; even more so than Grindelwald, but Grindelwald’s work would have undoubtedly influenced and inspired the young Tom Riddle.
In 1938, Dumbeldore visited Tom Riddle in his orphanage and invited him to Hogwarts. As shown in Deathly Hallows, even at that early stage, Dumbledore was uneasy about the way in which Tom wished to use his magic. Though Dumbledore professes he wanted Tom to harness his power and see how magic could be used for good, there is also a possibility that he wanted to keep Tom safe, where Grindelwald couldn’t get to him.
However, we know that regardless of Dumbledore’s efforts, Tom Riddle was too dark to be saved. By 1943, Tom Riddle’s junior year at Hogwarts, the boy had already framed Hagrid for releasing a Basilisk in Hogwarts and had him expelled. He then created his first horcrux in his diary. That summer, Tom murdered his father and grandparents, turning his father’s ring into another horcrux. During his senior year, his friends started to call him Lord Voldemort.
It’s not much of a stretch to assume that we will see some of these events on screen, and as Dumbeldore tries to stop one dark force, another, even darker and more powerful force, is rising.
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald/Fantastic Beasts 2 (2018) release date: Nov 16, 2018
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) release date: Nov 18, 2016