SPOILER WARNING: This post contains major spoilers for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Proceed at your own risk.
When you consider just how many new characters, storylines and somewhat mind-boggling reveals Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald there are, it’s quite hard to believe that the movie’s tagline isn’t something along the lines of: ‘Forget everything you think you know.’
You see, not only does it live up to its promise of being a dark follow-up that’s peppered with Harry Potter references, but it also challenges canon and shakes things up significantly. This — as you might have guessed — has divided the opinions of fans of the franchise across the globe.
Similarly, it’s made it much harder to predict where the unraveling spin-off series might go — particularly when it comes to certain character arcs — as not every aspect of the new film lines up with backstories or details that author-cum-screenwriter JK Rowling has divulged since publication of the original books.
That being said, it’s fun to speculate and it’s not a completely impossible task, especially given that Rowling is a fan of dropping the odd clue. So here we predict what could — and perhaps more importantly after its controversial predecessor, what should — happen in Fantastic Beasts 3…
While Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them took place entirely in New York City, and The Crimes of Grindelwald sees scenes play out in London and Paris, Fantastic Beasts 3 will reportedly see Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and co. travel to Rio de Janeiro.
Rowling hinted that the film will be set in the Brazilian city on Twitter, when she changed her header to a photograph of a vibrant-looking street and explained to a fan that it depicted Rio in the 1930s. And that’s not all she’s alluded to on the social media platform regarding future installments.
Way back in October 2016, a user asked her how many Fantastic Beasts movie she intends there to be, to which she replied, “5. Five. Cinq. Fünf. Cinco. Cinque.” It seems fair to assume that ‘five’ and ‘cinq’ make reference to the first and second films’ locations, but if Rio is the next destination (where they speak Portuguese and would therefore say ‘cinco’), ‘fünf’ probably applies to the third film too.
It’s known that Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) built a castle in Austria — which we saw a glimpse of in the closing moments of Fantastic Beasts 2 — so it’s likely that a large part of the film will be set there as well. At some point, on this evidence, it looks like they’ll also go to Italy. There are links within Rowling’s Wizarding World to Italy — which dates back to at least Roman times and the warlock Zaccaria Innocenti who, it’s implied, was responsible for the Mt Vesuvius eruption that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum. Thank goodness for Portkeys, eh?
After learning that Lord Voldemort’s subservient serpent Nagini used to be a woman (played by Claudia Kim) in The Crimes of Grindelwald’s dramatic final trailer, fans were expecting her to have… well… you know, a sizeable role in the sequel. Oh, how wrong they were. Kim has no more than five lines in the movie and spends most of her time looking worried, standing slightly behind Ezra Miller’s Credence Barebone. She has so little presence, in fact, that it’s curious as to why Rowling felt compelled to include her at all.
The only way this can be rectified is if Nagini becomes an integral part of the franchise’s plot going forward. As a Maledictus, she carries a blood curse that will eventually lead to her remaining a snake forever, but it’s bound to be interesting to see how she becomes He Who Must Not Be Named’s ally — something that Claudia Kim herself told us she’s keen to explore. Let’ssssss go!
Is Queenie More Significant than We Realise?
In Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, newbie Queenie Goldstein (Alison Sudol) upended the trope of the ditsy, blonde glam-girl and quickly established herself as a quick-witted, fiercely independent and big-hearted witch with mind-reading capabilities. So it’s baffling that in follow-up The Crimes of Grindelwald, she makes some morally-questionable choices that go completely against her character.
First of all, it is revealed that in order to get No-Maj Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) to elope to the UK and marry her, she bewitches him with a love potion. Seeing as Jacob clearly had feelings for Queenie anyway, that whole subplot stinks of sexist stereotype and counteracts how empathetic she comes across in the first film.
And if that’s not bad enough, the film’s final act sees her actually join Grindelwald’s side as she thinks it will mean she’ll be able to eventually freely marry Jacob. Jacob doesn’t tag along, despite her pleading for him to join her, meaning that she loses the one thing she’s trying to gain in the process. It’s baffling and rushed, so we’ll definitely need to see her motivations explained in Fantastic Beasts 3.
Will it be revealed that she was under the Imperius Curse? And why is she so important to Grindelwald? Does it have something to do with the Lestrange family, to which she’s subtly linked in the film during a brief moment when she touches a raven crest? In a perfect world, we’d see her reunite with the good guys again but if that can’t happen, we’ll settle for [better] answers.
Brothers in Arms
Throughout The Crimes of Grindelwald, we are told that Newt Scamander and his older brother Theseus don’t really get on, despite them seeming like they don’t really mind each other all that much. Theseus is an Auror for the Ministry of Magic and therefore likes order and rules; Newt, on the other hand, can think of nothing worse than someone calling the shots.
But when an awful tragedy affects them both during the film’s final act, Newt reveals to Theseus that he’s ‘picked a side’ and will therefore fight Grindelwald alongside him going forward. We expect the pair to grow closer as they attempt to take down the Dark Wizard and avenge Leta Lestrange.
Dumbledore Destroys the Blood Pact
Even if you’re a fairly casual Harry Potter fan, you’re likely to know that Albus Dumbledore (played in the prequel series by Jude Law) ends up with the Elder Wand. In The Crimes of Grindelwald, the eponymous baddie has possession of the wand and it’s pretty self-explanatory that Dumbledore will end up with it because he’ll eventually fight — and best — Grindelwald, becoming its owner.
As it stands, Rowling has written into the Fantastic Beasts lore that Dumbledore physically can’t fight Grindelwald because the men made a blood pact in their teens never to attack one another. But towards the end of the film, one of Newt’s Nifflers steals the silver vial preserving their united blood so it’s safe to assume that Dumbledore and co. will find a way to destroy it, voiding the pact and making their inevitable contest a possibility.
In The Crimes of Grindelwald, Depp’s Grindelwald — who is canonically a Seer and has the ability to see into the future — uses the threat of a Second World War to encourage his fellow witches and wizards to support his dream of magical folks dominating muggles.
If the third film is going to be set in the 1930s, then World War II may play a part in the proceedings. While the infamous war began in the latter part of the decade, we know that the entire Fantastic Beasts series will conclude in 1945, when Dumbledore and Grindelwald duel, so big time-jumps are entirely likely. Marry that with the fact that some of it will likely take place in Austria, a country that was annexed with Nazi Germany during the war, due to Grindelwald’s castle being situated there and it seems possible that it’ll come up.
In The Crimes of Grindelwald, the titular baddie informs Obscurial orphan Credence Barebone (who inexplicably survived the first film) that his real name is Aurelius Dumbledore. At the same time, it’s implied that Barebone is Albus Dumbledore’s brother.
It’s a startling revelation, particularly when you learn that Albus’s father Percival was imprisoned in Azkaban in the early 1890s for attacking three muggles, and later died there. Elsewhere, his mother Kendra was killed by his sister — who lacked proper control over her magical abilities — in 1899. There’s always a chance that Barebone could be older than his character appears but it still seems a little far-fetched. Is there a Time Turner at play? Or could Percival Dumbledore somehow have fathered a child during his spell at Azkaban?
Of course, it’s possible that Grindelwald is lying to lost-and-vulnerable Barebone but the phoenix, which is drawn to him in the scene, indicates not (as the Dumbledores famously share a bond with the mythical creatures). Only time will give us some much-needed answers.
A Sharper Focus
As much as it pains a Potterhead to say this, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has some flaws. Its plot doesn’t quite add up when it comes to the stories we’ve known for over a decade; women’s roles are reduced to either a tragic love interest, or worse — wordless; and characterisation that was introduced in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is undone in places.
Its biggest misstep, though, is that it tries to say too much and in doing so, ends up simultaneously chaotic and dull. Subplots are glossed over, relationships go underdeveloped and obstacles are easily overcome in order to messily move on to the next clunky sequence.
Fantastic Beasts 3 needs to be sharper and to deepen the richness of Rowling’s world and characters. Otherwise, it runs the risk of falling at the same hurdles. One of the best things about Harry Potter was how much it made you relate to and root for the likes of Ron, Hermione and Harry. If Fantastic Beasts 3 remembers it’s the individuals that we truly care about, not some grand unfolding war, then it might turn this franchise around.