'Fantastic Beasts' and Where to Find Answers to 9 Burning Questions We Have About the Franchise
By John Boone
Loads of spoilers ahead for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
If only we all had Queenie Goldstein's telepathic powers. Then we could dig into J.K. Rowling's mind for answers to all the questions we have about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Themand a wizarding world that is proving far grander than we could've ever imagined. Alas, we must rest assured knowing that Rowling knows the answers.
"She's so creative and she's so aware of every detail," Alison Sudol, who plays Queenie in the movie, told ET. "You can pull at the threads and ask, 'What happened back then or how did this come
to this?'" "And she knows instantly!" co-star Dan Fogler chimed in, to which Sudol added, "She has it all in her mind."
"We get nuggets when J.K. Rowling comes to set," Newt Scamander himself, Eddie Redmayne, revealed. "She's not meant to divulge anything but she can't sort of stop herself." For the rest of us squibs, we will have to wait for answers to these questions...
1. Who is Leta Lestrange?
Zoë Kravitz's casting in Fantastic Beasts was already a giant question mark in the franchise, as the news was revealed only after the film had wrapped. Now we know that's because Kravitz has but a minor cameo in the first installment, appearing in a photograph that Newt keeps in his case. He's cagey about the details of their relationship -- she was a friend at Hogwarts -- but plenty of attention is drawn to her surname.
It appears that Kravitz will play an ancestor of Helena Bonham Carter's Bellatrix Lestrange, adding another branch to the family tree of pure-blood wizards renowned for practicing the Dark Arts. What is her relationship with Newt like now? Is she a friend? A foe? Could this be some sort of Romeo and Juliet situation?
2. Where is the real Percival Graves?
The climax of the movie reveals that the Percival Graves (Colin Farrell) we thought we knew was actually Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) in disguise. If any of that seems familiar, something similar happened to another Auror, Mad-Eye Moody, in Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, when he was locked in a trunk while being impersonated at Hogwarts. Mad-Eye was kept alive to source Polyjuice potion, which means the real Graves is likely out there...somewhere.
"Why not?" Farrell played coy when asked whether he might resurface in one of the sequels. "I have no idea! That's a questionfor J.K." But he did give a nod to the actor who played Mad-Eye when asked which Harry Potter character he would want Graves to cross paths with. "I love Brendan [Gleeson]," he said. "I'd love to work with Mad-Eye Moody, but I don't think time and space would allow us."
3. What do Grindelwald's last words to Newt mean?
Though there was some debate in my screening over what exactly Grindelwald whispered to Newt after being arrested, the official screenplay has it written as, "Will we die, just a little?" So, what does it mean?! And why did he say it to Newt? Retrospectively, we know Grindelwald is regarded as one of the most dangerous dark wizards of all time, and his end game involves dragging the magical community out of the shadows and enslaving muggles. So is the aforementioned "dying" meant as an emotional death due to living in secret? And does Newt secretly harbor these same sentiments?
4. When are we going to meet young Dumbledore?
If you need a more extended refresher on Grindelwald's legacy -- as recalled in Harry Potter -- here's one courtesy of Fantastic Beasts star Ezra Miller:
Essentially, Gellert Grindelwald and Albus Dumbledore were once chums, though it ultimately ended in a legendary duel for the Elder Wand. (Dumbledore won.) With Grindelwald now in play, it's only a matter of time before young Dumbledore arrives on the scene. In fact, director David Yates has already confirmed he will be in the sequel, after being name-checked in Beasts as a Transfiguration professor at Hogwarts. How will Dumbledore be introduced into the mix? And, by the by, is there a gay bar in Hogsmeade?
5. Who will be back in play in Fantastic Beasts 2?
We knew what to expect every time a new Harry Potter movie arrived: Each book (and, later, film) would chronicle a new school year for the Hogwarts Class of '98. That doesn't hold true this time, which could theoretically mean each Fantastic Beasts film could have a different supporting cast in a different location in a different time period, considering where everyone was left at the end of the film.
It does seem that the core four -- Sudol, Fogler (who plays Newt's no-maj buddy Jacob Kowalski), Redmayne and Katherine Waterston (who plays Porpentina "Tina" Goldstein) -- will remain intact for the duration of the franchise. Waterson confirmed that she knows a bit about FB2. "If you were to ask what we are doing in the fourth [film], we have no idea," she added. "Which is what makes it so exciting, because when you get the script it's new to us. There aren't preexisting stories."
6. How much will we learn about the rest of the Scamanders?
In addition to the main quartet, Grindelwald (we're assuming) and Dumbledore, there are bound to be new faces introduced in the next installment. We have a sneaking suspicion they will include certain members of Newt's family. So far, his past has been kept mostly under wraps, but there was mention of his brother being a war hero. Will we meet him? And would we be wrong to assume there is going to be some sibling rivalry? What about Mama Scamander? Papa Scamander?
7. What sort of role with Newt and his beasts play in the global wizarding war?
Grindelwald's presence in Beasts and the references throughout to a potential war between wizards and no-maj are a pretty clear indication that the four sequels will cover the global wizarding war, a conflict in the wizarding community over their presence in the greater world. As far as we know, Newt is just a jolly magizoologist who eventually writes a textbook that is on the syllabus at Hogwarts. How will his journeys intersect with the rising tide of Grindelwald? Will he fight in the war? Will the beasts be militarized?!
8. What sort of beasts will Paris behold? And why Paris?
When Newt left NYC at the end of Fantastic Beasts, it opened up the possibility for each installment to be set in a different city. Where the third and fourth and fifth films will play out is still TBD, but the sequel will take Newt and Co. to Paris in the '20s. What sort of creatures inhabit the City of Lights? Are any of them as adorable as the adorable little niffler? And what importance will Paris hold in Newt's ongoing saga? Will his adventures eventually bring him back to Hogwarts? While the gang is in France, will they visit the Beauxbatons Academy of Magic? And speaking of...
9. When are we going to visit Ilvermorny?
There was much ado about America's school for witchcraft and wizardry ahead of Fantastic Beastsand Where to Find Them's release, including a new quiz on Pottermore to sort fans into various Ilvermorny houses. (Pukwudgie
here!) And then...nothing ultimately came of it, except a passing mention by Tina and Queenie. With the sequel apparently globetrotting back across the pond to Paris and the U.K., are we just never going to visit America's Hogwarts? Or is Rowling saving that for a different spin-off?