In Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald, it's theoretically possible that Gellert Grindelwald lied to Credence Barebone about being Aurelius Dumbledore. As the latest Fantastic Beasts movie and installment in the Harry Potter franchise, The Crimes of Grindelwald focuses more on the rise of Grindelwald in Europe and teases WWII. While these are obviously world and franchise-building plot points that will be fully realized in future sequels, Fantastic Beasts 2 also provides a number of twists for franchise fans to ponder over for the next two years.
The biggest twist comes in Fantastic Beasts 2's ending, in which Grindelwald reveals that Credence's name is Aurelius Dumbledore. As a typical cliffhanger, Fantastic Beasts 2's Dumbledore twist is delivered with little setup and residual context, thus giving audiences time to fully process the revelation before Fantastic Beasts 3 releases in 2020.
There's no foreshadowing that Albus Dumbledore had another sibling or that he's aware Credence is related to him, which is why it seems entirely feasible that this may be a misdirect to demonstrate Grindelwald's propensity for manipulation and deeper Credence's role as the Fantastic Beasts franchise's ultimate victim.
- This Page: The Evidence & Grindelwald's Inclination to Lying
- Next Page: Would Rowling Lie & How That Could Impact Fantastic Beasts 3
There's Not Much Evidence Credence Is A Dumbledore
In the scene where Grindelwald tells Credence he's Aurelius Dumbledore, audiences see Credence's bird transform into a Phoenix, thus invoking a Dumbledore family legend that Albus Dumbledore regales earlier in The Crimes of Grindelwald, which says a Phoenix will come to a Dumbledore in a time of need. It's a pay-off that solidifies Grindelwald is telling Credence the truth. But the Phoenix is the only legitimate link Fantastic Beasts 2's establishes between Credence and Albus Dumbledore.
Albus makes mention of him losing a sister, Ariana, who was killed in a three-way duel between Grindelwald, Albus, and Albus' brother, Aberforth. Aside from possibly being the key to stopping Grindelwald, there's no hint of a deeper connection between Credence and the Dumbledore family, especially Albus Dumbledore. After all, the more intimate moments of Albus' character development in Fantastic Beasts 2 are dedicated to his relationship with Grindelwald.
In fact, Fantastic Beasts 2 spends more time convincing audiences that Credence isn't a member of the Lestrange family, which is revealed in an extended sequence involving Leta Lestrange recounting events from when she was younger. As it turns out, Leta Lestrange was responsible for the death of her brother, Corvus Lestrange, after she switched him with another baby aboard a ship bound for New York City. She only later discovered that Credence was the other baby she took. Aside from that, nothing is revealed regarding Credence being a Dumbledore, nor is it revealed who the person was bringing Credence to America aboard the same ship.
Grindelwald Could Be Lying To Credence
Grindelwald is a master manipulator. He's a magic-wielding fascist who seeks power and the obliteration of those he deems weak and inferior. It's a classic archetype, and anything he says besides his grand plan should be taken with a pinch of salt. Grindelwald knows Credence is lost and in search of meaning. So, telling Credence that he's a Dumbledore puts his power in context and gives him a target: Albus Dumbledore.
Albus is Grindelwald's biggest obstacle in his achieving his goal. The two, powerful wizards entered a Blood Pact, meaning that they can't do harm to each other. Grindelwald needs someone, or something, else to preemptively defeat Albus Dumbledore so that he can move forward with his plan. A young, angry wizard who's learned to control his obscurus is a perfect candidate – not only is the dark energy a powerful adversary, but overcoming Credence would almost certainly require Albus to kill him, an outcome that Dumbledore would be against doing.
It'd be a strong, ruthless play on Grindelwald's part, to push a disenfranchised youth to such ends because of his ego. But that's also the point of who Grindelwald is; he's the dark wizard of his time. Grindelwald has worked his magic on more than just Credence, too – Queenie Goldstein was also manipulated by Grindelwald. These characters don't know who they're dealing with, or what lies ahead. The story here is leading up to a desperate struggle between Dumbledore and Grindelwald, and Grindelwald is bloating his ranks with ways to manipulate and harm his greatest adversaries in whatever ways he can.
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald/Fantastic Beasts 2 (2018) release date: Nov 16, 2018