When Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them arrived in cinemas back in 2016, there was never really any doubt it would be a commercial success. As a continuation of the blockbuster Harry Potter film franchise, David Yates’ film was as close as it comes to a guaranteed box office hit – but the real question was whether it would actually be any good.
Fortunately, it was. Penned by JK Rowling – author of the original book series – Fantastic Beasts felt like an authentic extension of the existing universe, even as it introduced us to new characters and environments. Eddie Redmayne’s magizoologist Newt Scamander proved a suitably likeable replacement for everyone’s favourite boy wizard, and the 1920s setting provided a fresh new spin on a world at risk of becoming stale eight movies on.
Fast forward two years, and a sequel looms on the horizon. Due for release in November, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald seems poised to enchant audiences all over again. Here are five major things we learned from the recent trailer.
5. Back To Hogwarts
After exploring the hitherto unseen wizarding community of New York City in the first Fantastic Beasts, the trailer for Crimes of Grindelwald finds us back on more familiar ground. That’s right: we’re finally heading back to the world’s greatest magical school, Hogwarts (sorry, Beauxbatons)!
As the trailer opens, a group of stern looking chaps march upon the school grounds. From their attire – not to mention grumpy demeanour – it’s fair to say they’re likely Dark Wizard-catching Aurors, paying a visit on behalf of the Ministry of Magic. Just who are they calling upon? Why, the resident Transfiguration professor, of course…
4. Newt Scamander: Dumbledore’s Man Through And Through
…yes, it’s none other than Albus Dumbledore. This is our first proper introduction to Jude Law’s take on a considerably younger Dumbledore, and he’s nailed it, if first impressions are anything to go by. In the sneak peak we get at this interrogation scene, Law effortlessly channels the quiet confidence, serene intelligence and understated wit fans have come to expect from the future school headmaster.
As part of their grilling of Dumbledore, the Aurors reveal that Newt Scamander has traded the Big Apple for yet another brand new locale, kicking around Paris on a secret mission for his former teacher. As Harry Potter will later be able to vouch for, following Dumbledore’s orders invariably sets you on a crash-course for hair-raising adventures. And what adventures there are in store for Newt…
3. A Fantastic Time With Even More Fantastic Beasts
…because our guy is right back in the thick of it, hurling jinxes and hexes at several unseen assailants. Of course, encounters with crazy creatures are where Newt’s heart – and the heart of the new sub-franchise itself – really lies, and there are plenty of fantastic beasts getting in on the action, too. The magical menagerie looks even more breathtaking this time, with kelpie-inspired sea life and a super-sized owl among the additions we get a glimpse of.
Then there’s the return of the Thestrals – the skeletal, scaly horse-like creatures first seen in Order of the Phoenix. These gentle animals are generally avoided in the wizarding world, thanks to their rather unfortunate trait of only appearing to those who have witnessed death first hand, and their presence here suggests mortal peril for Newt and his friends. Speaking of Newt’s buddies…
2. Old Friends (And Old Enemies)
…they’re all back on board for Crimes of Grindelwald, as evidenced by the trailer. Katherine Waterson once again assumes love interest duties as Tina Goldstein, the tough yet kind-hearted American Auror who has come to appreciate Newt’s quirky ways. She’ll have competition for his affections, however, as Scamander’s former flame Leta Lestrange is now on the scene as a supporting villain, paying off actress Zoë Kravitz’s brief cameo in the previous chapter.
Perhaps more surprising is the return of Dan Fogler’s Jacob Kowlaski, the non-magical muggle who was swept up in Newt’s adventures last time around, only to have his memory wiped before the credits rolled. The first Fantastic Beasts did hint that perhaps Jacob’s amnesia wasn’t as permanent as intended – a theory that his presence in the trailer strongly supports.
It’s more than just friendly faces that crop up again in The Crimes of Grindelwald, though. Creedence Barebone (Ezra Miller) – troubled host of the crazy-powerful, parasitic Obscurus entity – has rocked up for this latest outing, sporting an upgraded haircut almost as impressive as his improved control over his fearsome abilities. There’s little doubt that Creedence will be wind up being a thorn in Newt’s side, but as the title suggests, he’s not the film’s major baddie anymore…
1. Grindelwald Ascending?
…that would be Gillert Grindelwald, with Johnny Depp now fully assuming the role from Colin Farrell, after the baton-toss that occurred during the finale of the original Fantastic Beasts. One of the most dangerous Dark Wizards of all time, Grindelwald’s fortunes have clearly taken a turn for the better since he was last seen, taken into captivity.
Grindelwald being at large doesn’t bode well for the Wizarding World in general, nor Newt in particular – least of all because of the subtle clues (check out the symbol hidden in the flames just before the title card) to the wicked warlock regaining possession of the dreaded Elder Wand.
However, the real question surrounding Grindelwald at the moment is just how much contact he’ll have with Dumbledore, and what shape their relationship might take. As fans of the books already know, the pair were once BFFs (and possibly more) before things turned sour, making their inevitable confrontation more than just your average showdown of good versus evil!