Updating the Crime Files of Gellert Grindelwald

With the release of the name of the second Fantastic Beast film, along with a cast photo featuring our first look at Jude Law’s younger version of Albus Dumbledore, Impact looks at the possibilities this new film has…

We are familiar with the storyline of Gellert Grindelwald, relevant as it was to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. He used to go to Durmstrang, got expelled for performing “twisted experiments” became mates with Albus Dumbledore and went on to be the greatest dark wizard the world had ever known (until Lord Voldemort came along to make everyone else practicing the Dark Arts look a bit silly). And then Dumbledore defeated him in a duel and imprisoned him. That’s all the Chocolate Frog cards want you to know, of course.

Warner Bros. just announced the title of the second Fantastic Beasts film, to be released in a year’s time. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald brings back the major characters we had seen in the first film, including the highly discussed casting of Johnny Depp as Grindelwald and Jude Law as a young Albus Dumbledore.

“we can expect flashbacks … [and] teenage Dumbledore and Grindelwald being best mates…”

This installment of the series is picking up right from the end of the first film when Grindelwald got arrested by the MACUSA. The Pottermore website informs us that he isn’t going to stay captured for long, but do what all dark wizards seem to do – plan on different ways to expose the wizarding community to the muggles, and world domination with the aid of pure blood wizards.

Grindelwald has his own merry band of followers who apparently aren’t all aware of his endgame. This counts as another parallel to Voldemort’s early recruits being unaware of his merciless plans, but it is something baffling. How is anyone with the ideology of ‘my kind is better than yours so I am enlisting followers to take back control’ not obviously planning cruel suppression of human beings?

Other details pertaining to the plot include a new magical curse-carrying being termed a ‘Maledictus’ (played by Claudia Kim) – something to tie in Newt Scamander’s expertise as a magizoologist – and Credence the Obscurus, who was supposedly dead at the end of the last film. There is also a wizarding circus in this film, though whether or not it is yet another way to involve as many of the magical beasts mentioned in the Scamander-authored textbook, or something with actual significance to the basic storyline of Grindelwald’s ascension to power is yet to be revealed.

“the stunning outfits are back, bringing 1920s New York fashion with a magical twist”

Furthermore, there were auditions held for teenage actors of the lead characters. Unless there is some kind of The Cursed Child-inspired time-travelling menace happening here (which would be terrible and annoying because time travel messes continuity in ways that the Potter universe cannot even imagine), we can expect flashbacks. A teenage Dumbledore and Grindelwald being best mates bring us to the story of Ariana Dumbledore – so we might end up seeing who had actually killed her that night, a question that had never been answered in the books.

One interesting inclusion is that of Zoë Kravitz as Leta Lestrange – eagle eyed fans remember her from the photograph in the last film. The surname Lestrange holds great significance in the context of events in the Potter universe, of course. It is quite intriguing to note that Leta is currently engaged to Newt’s older brother, Theseus (played by Callum Turner) which is probably enough reason to cast aspersions on the loving brotherly relationship between Newt and Theseus.

The first cast photo released for The Crimes of Grindelwald, featuring a first look at Jude Law as Albus Dumbledore.

Remember how Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them won an Oscar for ‘Best Costume Design’? Well, the stunning outfits are back, bringing 1920s New York fashion with a magical twist. The ensemble shot of the main cast includes Law looking positively dapper as a young Dumbledore. No flowing robes of the headmaster here, Law wears the muggle attire of a shirt and silk tie with a long corduroy coat over it. It could be the garb to fit in with the American no-maj community (still the most uncreative name in the entire Potter universe), but only time will reveal that.

Depp looks flamboyant in the shot; Grindelwald dresses fancy, nothing like the style choices of his successor-as-Dark-Lord-Supreme, Lord Voldemort, who clearly preferred to look more like a dementor than like the guy on the cover of British GQ. Claudia Kim’s costume is glittery and appropriate since she is supposed to be part of the wizarding circus.

Based on the information we have so far, and knowing the talent of the cast – Jude Law as Dumbledore will be one to look out for and there are no doubts regarding the brilliance that is Eddie Redmayne – the film should be enjoyable. Whether J.K. Rowling still releasing material on the wizarding world is beating a dead horse is a different debate. She has written the screenplay of the film so there are high expectations regarding its quality. Whatever be your opinion on the Fantastic Beasts franchise, this one is worth setting the Remembrall for.

The Crimes of Grindelwald will be released on 16th November 2018.

Anusmita Ray

Featured and article images courtesy of Warner Bros. Studios via IMDb.

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