It goes without saying that fans of the Potterverse lept at the opportunity to dive once again into the mind of the ever-brilliant J.K. Rowling. Zooming-in on the author of The Monster Book of Monsters, the movie follows Newton “Newt” Scamander (played by Eddie Redmayne) on his trip to a 1920s New York, and the magic that gets unleashed while he’s there.
As with many great film sagas before it, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them takes us through the history of and lead-up to the Hogwarts we came to love. It’s like the Star Wars “go back in time and explain everything” thing, you know? So it’s through Newt Scamander that we begin filling-in some of the gaps that the last few Harry Potter films started addressing, but never really finished, and getting another glimpse into the expansive tale woven by Rowling over the years. However, as she said herself in a press release, there is simply too much to explain in just one movie, so fans can still look forward to (or dread?) another four movies.
The big plus here, of course, is that these movies are original screenplays written by J. K. Rowling herself – in other words, not written by someone else (cough Cursed Child cough), and not adapted from books which risks the inevitable leaving-out of some of our favourite moments.
There has been a significant amount of online debate about whether making another four movies will be genuine in “doing the story justice,” or whether they’ll simply end up being far too obviously over-stretched for the sake of lining pockets with a little extra dosh. Nevertheless, scheduled for a 2018 release, the second film in this franchise will certainly uncover a few more questions that Potterheads are desperate to have answered, and I found some of Alex Leadbeater’s hunches over on heyuguys.com to be particularly sharp, and very likely. I’ll summarise them here, and include some more things I found online, plus some of my own guesses as well…
(oh, and this is a good place for me to say: spoilers ahead, read with caution)
The Deathly Hallows and Grindelwald
No one with any hint of Potter-fandom could’ve missed the necklace Percival Graves flashed in the movie. It’s placement on his character poster (pictured left) may have slipped past some people, but the movie makes it far more obvious.
That said, he is never actually seen wearing it, and rather only passes it on to Credance. This may hint at his plans to obtain all three of the Hallows, however, as we eventually find out his true identity at the end of the film. It also means we’ll be seeing more of Johnny Depp, which can only be a good thing.
I wonder, however, whether Grindelwald had any of the three hallows at this point in Potterverse history? We know he doesn’t have the Elder wand, as we would’ve been able to recognise it quite distinctly, and he had numerous opportunities to use the cloak as well so we can assume he doesn’t have that either… but hopefully the next movie will shed a little more light on his quest for the three hallows. We do know, however, that his obsession with the Deathly Hallows is definitely there.
Interestingly, some authors have discussed the possibility of an alternate explanation being given by Rowling for the world wars, as it has been pointed out that Dumbledore defeated Grindelwald in 1945, which coincides almost too perfectly with actual dates in our history…
Now this one in particular had me really intrigued… In Newt’s briefcase workshop, Queenie finds an old photograph of one of Newt’s closest Hogwarts friends, Leta Lestrange. He doesn’t say much about her just yet, but we get the sense that there was some love and some disappointment involved, and her role in his past might become far more significant in the next few films.
However, right off the bat, the name starts to connect some dots. As part of the most notorious Death-Eater family tree, there has to be some speculation of whether Newt has any place in the gene pool of the Lestrange family. There isn’t anything online just yet, and even Leta seems tricky to trace, but that’s one thing I hope will become clearer in the next movie – especially since Newt seems to be falling for Tina as this point.
Secondly, it seems that Leta had something to do with Newt’s expulsion from Hogwarts. From what I’ve found, Newt took the blame for one of Leta’s experiments-gone-wrong, which is why he was expelled. Does this set up a longer familial line of Lestranges at Hogwarts? Could Newt have kept the Lestranges at Hogwarts, and been one of the reasons for there extended entry in Harry’s life later on? Oooo…
Queenie’s cheeky little comment about Hogwarts hinted at the playful competition between the two schools for witchcraft and wizardry – but it ended almost as soon as it started.
For anyone who spent some time exploring Pottermore before watching the movie (as I did), they would’ve noticed the absolutely vast stash of information and history that Rowling has created behind the Ilvermorny houses. So, when no further reference to Ilvermorny was made, I knew almost immediately – before even Googling – that there would be AT LEAST one more movie.
InsideTheMagic.com already did all the research, so their page on the Ilvermorny houses is a really great summary. But the extensive lore that Rowling has published surrounding Ilvermorny makes it an annoying but guaranteed foreshadowing of the next four films, and I can only speculate and itch at the world of wizarding heroes and villains yet unbeknown to us. We could have an entirely new door opened to us.
Alas! We need wait until 2018. The next Fantastic Beasts movie is in pre-production at the moment, and currently only scheduled for a 2018 release. I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to sit still until then, but I’m definitely going to do some re-reading of the Harry Potter books to see if I can find any more clues left by Rowling for us to discover.
Either way, we are definitely going to have some more answers revealed, and I cannot wait. With each new chapter that Rowling reveals, it only becomes more and more evident just how incredibly dense Rowling’s wizarding world is. She truly has constructed an entire history book and world, which feeds and fuels my ever-present hope that maybe – just maybe – this isn’t fiction at all…
Please feel free to leave your comments below with things you’ve noticed, and things you want answered, and we’ll check this post again once the new movie comes out to see how far we’ve come!