There are surely many ways to discover the hidden secrets of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, JK Rowling’s latest wizarding saga to triumph at the global box office. We could ask Queenie Goldstein, a renowned legilimens, to take a peek inside Rowling’s bonce. We could plead with Newt Scamander to cast another Specialis Revelio spell, the charm used by our bumbling magizoologist to expose dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) at the end of the movie. Or we could wait about a decade until all five Fantastic Beasts films have found their way into cinemas. But where would be the fun in that? Especially as Rowling and long-term Harry Potter producer David Heyman have been spilling beans with all the enthusiasm of a first year seeker who’s just been told they’ll be representing Gryffindor in the quidditch house cup. So stay with us as we pull back the veil of mystery and reveal what we’ve gleaned from — let’s be honest here — mainly sifting through post-release interviews and hanging out on Rowling’s Twitter.
Fantastic Beasts 2 is heading to Paris
As a self-confessed Francophile, and recipient of the Ordre national de la Legion d’honneur in 2009, Rowling was always going to make the short trip across the English Channel sooner rather than later. Having introduced gallic wizarding school Beauxbatons in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, we will now get to see what the adult world of magic looks like in France. “The next one’s going to be Paris,” Heyman told Collider. “We’ll see the world expand. We’ll go through the ‘20s, and into the ‘30s and ‘40s, and maybe beyond.”
Rowling seems to have a slightly Clarksonesque view of the French as temperamental, larger-than-life types — all dropped “h”s and emotional outbursts — as Potter readers may remember from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’s Fleur Delacour and Madame Maxime. So it will be intriguing to see how she handles the French wizarding community. We can also expect to visit the local answer to London’s Ministry of Magic and New York’s Macusa, and we might just find some peculiarly gallic magical creatures inside Newt’s Tardis-like briefcase.
Ezra Miller’s Credence Barebone is alive, I tell you
The climax of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them appears to show Barebone, or at least the fluffy black cloud of hate that bears his name, being destroyed by aurors from Macusa on the orders of President Seraphina Picquery. But in an interview with Cinemablend, Heyman reveals that the bowl-cutted obscurus may have lived to wreak terrifying sorcerous havoc another day. “We actually had a scene, which we cut, which was Credence going to a boat, to get on a boat somewhere else,” says the producer. “But we cut that, because we didn’t want to have it be such an, ‘Ahhh, here we go’.” [It was] him getting on a boat, maybe a boat with Newt, maybe not, and heading off out of New York.”
Newt Scamander may not be the Harry Potter of the new wizarding world
What’s more, we may be seeing more of Miller than Team Newt in some of the upcoming instalments, despite Rowling’s assertions that Scamander, the Goldstein sisters and no-maj Jacob Kowalski will be the Harry, Ron and Hermione of the new series. “I don’t think [Newt will be at] the heart of all of them,” reveals Heyman in the Cinemablend interview. “I think he’ll be part — so will Tina, Queenie and Jacob — will be part of the next one ... [Dumbledore] and Credence and Grindelwald. I think they will be the main players.”
When Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was first announced, most of us imagined the series would treat Scamander as a sort of wizarding Indiana Jones, setting off to discover a new monstrous beastie in each subsequent film. But Rowling hinted in the first instalment that Newt’s magical pets will be something of a spectacular sideshow to the main event, the story of the world’s pre-war battles against Grindelwald and his followers. And now it’s starting to look like the lovable magizoologist might only be involved fleetingly in some upcoming episodes. Blistering bowtruckles! Isn’t that what our American cousins like to call a curveball?
The saga will climax in 1945, when Dumbledore duelled with Grindelwald
Meanwhile, Rowling herself has been tweeting about where the series will go over the course of the next four movies. Having already told the BBC on the red carpet for Fantastic Beasts’ London premiere that she knows exactly how the story will climax, the author revealed in an impromptu Q&A with fans that she knows exactly when it will finish too. Potter acolytes will already be well aware that 1945 is the date upon which Albus Dumbledore battled his former lover Grindelwald at the latter’s central European fortress, Nurmengard, a duel that finally put an end to the dark wizard’s reign of terror and helped to end the worldwide wizarding war. We can therefore safely assume that the young Dumbledore himself will emerge as a key player in Fantastic Beasts, especially as the first instalment revealed that Newt is already a great favourite of the future Hogwarts headmaster.
The story behind Newt’s expulsion from Hogwarts will be revealed
Remember the scene in which Graves interrogates Newt and Tina, revealing that Dumbledore argued fiercely against the former being kicked out of school? Rowling has heavily hinted we’ll get to find out more in future instalments. We’ll also find out more about Newt’s abandoned relationship with Leta Lestrange, as heavily signposted in Fantastic Beasts. Heyman has said the former Hogwarts pupil will appear in the next film, with Zoe Kravitz due to take on the role. “Yes. Leta Lestrange comes into the second movie,” he told Cinemablend. “She’s quite complicated and damaged and confused, and Newt is absolutely still in love with her. So, she has a kind of power over him, and she, yeah, she’s a kind of tragic figure, so we will see a bit more of her in the second movie.”
Johnny Depp was cast as Grindelwald for his ability to charm and terrorise in equal measure
Ralph Fiennes’s startling performance as Voldemort in the Potter movies was always rather obscured by the CGI touches required to give the dark lord his distinctive snake-like features. But Depp was instantly recognisable as the revealed Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts, despite what appeared to be Tyrion Lannister-like mismatched eyes and a barnet that made him resemble an ageing member of an 80s boy band who somewhere along the line has turned to drink. “We were looking for someone who was seductive and could be charming and could be original, who was iconic, who was a great actor; and that’s what Johnny Depp is,” Heyman told Collider. “He can be irresistible. He’s powerful. He’s created some iconic characters, and not made the obvious choices when doing so. The unpredictability of the choices he makes is part of what makes him so extraordinary and that was very exciting for us. He was the perfect choice for Grindelwald.”
Don’t miss it
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is currently showing in the UAE.