Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them sets the franchise up for a five film arc that will seemingly tell the story of the dark wizard Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) and his rise to power across Europe. However, despite the focus of Fantastic Beasts 2 and subsequent movies shifting to Grindelwald and Dumbledore (still to be cast), Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) will still play an important role in the story going forward, and audiences will get to learn more of his backstory; including (hopefully) why he was expelled from Hogwarts, and why Dumbledore fought to keep him at the school.
One aspect of Newt's life we are eager to learn more about, though, is his seemingly romantic past with Leta Lestrange. Played by Zoe Kravitz, all we saw of Leta in Fantastic Beasts was a brief appearance in a moving photo that was inside of Newt's workshop. The picture was noticed by Queenie Goldstien, but when she asked who was in the photo, Newt became visibly uncomfortable and said it was just a friend. However, it was easy to deduce that there is some kind of past between the two.
In an interview with Collider, Kravitz confirms that she will be playing a larger role in the sequels going forward. Reiterating the news that Fantastic Beasts 2 will start filming this summer for a 2018 release, Kravitz added that even though her scene for the first Fantastic Beasts was only very short, it was still massively exciting to be involved in the project:
"The script was very under wraps, so even signing onto it, I hadn’t read the script. I just went off of who was involved, and J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter films, so I knew it was going to be incredible, especially with how involved J.K. is."
Kravitz doesn't know for sure how many of the four remaining Fantastic Beasts movies she will be in, but says she thinks there's "a few ahead" for her story to be explored. Leta Lestrange's surname will be instantly recognizable to Harry Potter fans, and Leta is indeed a relative by marriage of notorious Death Eater Bellatrix Lestrange. It is perhaps this family's penchant for dark magic that will ultimately become the deciding factor in her relationship with Newt. We know they were friends at school, but it seems unlikely that Leta was anything other than a Slytherin, while Newt is a proud Hufflepuff. If the friendship or relationship is now over, where does that leave them now? On opposing sides of the imminent Grindelwald and Dumbledore duel, perhaps?
Kravtiz, for her part, admits that she's still unsure of how it will all play out:
"The relationship between Leta and Newt Scamander is a complex relationship, so I think there will be a lot of time for that to grow and develop, which will be fun. I know nothing! I have an idea, based off of when I auditioned, but I know nothing. Even when I went to go do my chemistry read with Eddie, he was trying to help me piece together what was happening in the scene that we were reading."
The secrecy surrounding the plot of Fantastic Beasts 2 is frustrating and yet also something that is widely appreciated by fans, since it gives plenty of time to speculate and theorize. Plus, it undoubtedly makes for much better viewing when you can walk into a movie theater, totally unspoiled; something that seems to be a rarity nowadays.
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald/Fantastic Beasts 2 (2018) release date: Nov 16, 2018