Every Clue To The Graves/Grindelwald Twist In Fantastic Beasts

Colin Farrell as Graves and Johnny Depp as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them dropped the surprising twist that Percival Graves is Gellert Grindelwald in disguise, but the film actually heavily foreshadowed this reveal.

Anticipation is mounting for the release of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Through the course of the upcoming movie, a young Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) recruits Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), Tina and Queenie Goldstein (Katherine Waterston and Alison Sudol) and Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) to bring down Grindelwald after he escapes from prison. The dark wizard has re-assumed his quest to dominate the magical and non-magical worlds, and he will murder and torture anyone who stands in opposition to "the greater good" that he seeks to provide.

Related: Fantastic Beasts: What Actually Are The Crimes of Grindelwald?

The Crimes of Grindelwald picks up mere months after the first Fantastic Beasts movie, which saw Newt and his friends apprehend Grindelwald as he battled the might of MACUSA. In a much-discussed twist, it transpired that Grindelwald had been impersonating the respected Auror Percival Graves (Colin Farrell) throughout the entire film. Indeed, it was a development that proved to be somewhat controversial, in light of Johnny Depp's legal issues. Yet as startling as Grindelwald's unveiling was, there were many hints about Graves' true identity throughout the movie.

Graves' First Appearance Mirrors Grindelwald’s

Colin Farrell and Johnny Depp as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them begins in a compelling way. A group of Aurors approach a misty, foreboding manor house, before they are decisively disposed of by a long figure. The man is only distinctive through his blonde spiky hair, since his back is turned towards the camera.

Almost immediately, it cuts away to newspaper graphics, explaining the setting of the film and Grindelwald’s attacks. Because the audience sees this man and then the name Gellert Grindelwald in such quick succession, they immediately associate the two.

Yet significantly, Percival Graves is introduced in a very similar manner. Following Newt’s arrival in New York, the film soon cuts away to groups of No-Maj’s surveying the wreckage of a building. Graves arrives to inspect the damage, and the back of his head is the only part of him that’s initially visible. By presenting both characters in the same way – in close connection to the name of Grindelwald – the makers of Fantastic Beasts created the suggestion that these people are one and the same.

Moreover, there are several other telling signs that Percival Graves is linked to Grindelwald, and that he’s a man apart from everyone else. Indeed the characters have their hair styled in a similar way in these two parallel shots. The longer top and crown hair – complete with shaved back and sides – is known as an undercut, which is a fashion that was (and still is) heavily favored by Nazis. Given that J.K. Rowling has long used Grindelwald as a wizarding allegory for the rise of Nazism, the choice of haircut is a suitable and subtle representation of Graves/Grindelwald’s fascistic nature.

Related: Fantastic Beasts' Grindelwald Has Been Part Of The Harry Potter Movies Since 2001

Plus, from No-Maj’s to Aurors, most of the characters are dressed in era-appropriate clothing, with colors ranging from deep blues and grays, to brown and beiges. Graves is the only character to consistently wear black and white robes. As such, the contrast between these colors represents that there is a dark dichotomy about the character.

Graves Is Immediately More Interested In Power Of The Obscurus

Colin Farrell as Graves in Fantastic Beasts

Along with all the weird and wonderful creatures in Newt’s briefcase, Fantastic Beasts also introduces Harry Potter fans to the enigmatic Obscurials. These are young, tortured and abused witches and wizards who develop dark and powerful parasitical forces. As a result of their powers being suppressed, they become unstable, unpredictable and destructive beings.

Related: Fantastic Beasts: Obscurus Origin, Connection & Future Explained

Since the Statute of Secrecy was enforced across the wizarding world, it appears that the manifestation of Obscurials has become highly uncommon. Indeed, Madam President Seraphina Picquery (Carmen Ejogo) emphatically denies the presence of any in America. Even during the opening exposition, it’s clear that she and the rest of MACUSA remain fixated upon keeping the magical and non-magical worlds segregated, and will eliminate anything that would threaten this fragile status quo.

Graves’ early scenes certainly contrast with this hard-line stance. Instead of rushing to repair the ruined structures and modify No-Maj memories (as his colleagues do later in the film) Graves merely inspects the sizable damage, and wordlessly watches the Obscurus escape with covetous interest. Through these small yet noticeable actions, the audience recognizes that Graves has something else up his sleeve. And as we’ll discuss later, this overriding interest in the Obscurials almost exposes his cover.

Page 2: Graves' Interest in Dumbledore, Wandless Magic, & More

Key Release Dates
  • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald/Fantastic Beasts 2 (2018) release date: Nov 16, 2018
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