SDCC News: Cast of ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ Opens Warner Bros. Theatrical Panel

Jul 21, 2018

Posted by: Dawn Johnson

BigNews, Events, Fan Events, Fandom, Fans, Fantastic Beasts, Fantastic Beasts Movie, Films, Fogler, Interviews, Kravitz, Law, Miller, Movies, News, Potter News, Redmayne, Sudol, Trailers, Warner Bros., Waterston

The Warner Bros. Theatrical Panel opened to spectacular effect Saturday afternoon at San Diego Comic Con 2018.

As guests entered Hall H, they received custom wrist-bands inscribed with the Deathly Hallows insignia. Then, as the lights dimmed, curtains, which had completely covered the walls, drew back to reveal screens wrapping around the room. They encircle the audience, which numbered over 6,000. Our own Melissa Anelli, today’s 20th anniversary Scholastic Panel moderator and founder of LeakyCon was in attendance and called the effect “REMARKABLE.”

The screens then filled with a trailer cut from several Warner Bros. films, including Fantastic Beasts and Harry Potter, before Newt’s briefcase appeared to wild response from the crowd. According to Anelli, fans went “completely insane.” She reported that being surrounded made audience members feel they were inside the case!

Suddenly, Newt’s voice erupted and instructed the crowd, “Settle down, please, we have quite the journey ahead of us” before casting the spell, “LUMOS!” To the surprise and delight of all, the wrist-bands then LIT UP.

Anelli remarked in awe that Newt was “carrying the WHOLE THEATER with him to Paris.” The screens then revealed stained-glass-like depictions of the characters, perhaps symbolizing the idea that dynamics have changed this time around. Everything is more complex and multi-faceted–nothing is straightforward.

Next, Eddie appeared onscreen, wand in hand, illuminating the wrist-bands again before responding to a fan in Newt Scamander cosplay at the mic. The Scamander look-alike asked: “Which character would Eddie Redmayne play in the other Harry Potter movies?”

Redmayne replied that he’d “love to be Hagrid. He loves those creatures almost as much if not more than Newt does; I’d have to eat a lot of protein and go to the gym continuously.”

The cast members were then called onstage: from left to right we spied Jude Law (Albus Dumbledore), Claudia Kim (Maledictus), Zoe Kravitz (Leta Lestrange), Callum Turner (Theseus Scamander), Ezra Miller (Creedance Barebone), Alison Sudol (Queenie Goldstein), Dan Fogler (Jacob Kowalski), Katherine Waterston (Tina Waterston) and, of course, Eddie Redmayne (Newt Scamander) himself!

And, finally, after the requisite introduction to the waiting audience, the big moment arrived–Warner Bros. unveiled the new official trailer, which was announced by Leaky here and analyzed shot-by-shot here!

After that incredibly intense experience, the lights were back up and all attention returned to the panel where Miller gushed about his love for Harry Potter. (We’re with you, Ezra!) Jude Law, carrying himself with much the same gravitas as Dumbledore, brought the audience back to the film at hand and how J.K. Rowling has raised the stakes. He observed:

“It’s very much a whose-side-are-you-on story…The wizards within the wizarding world are asked what side are they are and which side of the line do they join. The depths and the darkness in this story are possibly the darkest that this story has plumbed before.”

After Law’s description of the central tensions of the dark story, the questions took on a more light-hearted tone as the cast was asked what they would do with the ability to conjure magic.

Zoe Kravtiz called out: “Impeach trump.” 

Dan Fogler then threw out the spell: “Impeachius Maximus!” 

And Ezra Miller chimed in: “I’d destroy the patriarchy. Just imagine, it would suddenly be such a fallout!”

They were also asked to describe to film in just one word–a tall order given Law’s earlier synopsis!–but the cast was game and gave it a go.

Eddie Redmayne jumped in first with a word of his own making: “Labyrinthine.”

Ezra Miller joked: “Gimme a break, where’s the Minotaur!?” (We get you, Ezra, but we’re assuming he’s searching for a way to explain the mysterious, dark, other- and under-worldly twisting and turning nature of the story. See, we can’t do it in one word, either!)

Then Miller also added: “Epic. It’s everything that’s great about the previous film and more.”

This caused Dan Fogler to muse: “My SAT tutor is turning over in her grave.”

Allison Sudol simply observed: “Bananas!”

Sticking with the upbeat line of questioning, moderator Aisha Tyler interjected, “Let’s just talk about Hot Dumbledore, shall we?” before returning the platform to Jude Law. Asked how old Dumbledore is supposed to be in the film and how similar he is to the man we’ve come to know in the Harry Potter series, he replied:

“He’s a very sprightly 45. I love the fact that he’s called Young Dumbledore because I’m 45, and I’m not feeling very young anymore…. But you’ve got to remember that the Dumbledore that we know and love from the Potter films is nearly 100 years older…he develops a penchant for caftans and loses his razor along the way. David Yates, our wonderful director, really let me free on establishing him in his own right. There’s really many familiar character traits, he’s still mischievous…and he’s got secrets, which I think is one of the things that all the characters that JKR creates are. There are chasms to him and all of those will be explained over time.”

Tyler then directed the audience’s attention to the film’s antagonist and Dumbledore’s antithesis with a foreboding voiceover that invited the crowd to talk about “the crimes of Grindelwald” as new footage rolled. With the sign of Grindelwald in the background, two “Gs” back-to-back overlaying the Deathly Hallows symbol, Johnny Depp appeared onstage in full costume to address the hall.

Never breaking character, Depp delivered the following speech:

“My brothers, my sisters, my friends, the great gift of your applause is not for me, but for yourselves. Therefore, applaud yourselves. It has been said that I hate the non-magique…the No-maj’s, the Muggles. I say the Muggles are not less than but other. Not worthless, but provide a value. Magic blooms only in rare souls…What a world we will make for all of humanity. We who live for freedom, for true freedoms. The moment has come to rise up and take our rightful place in the world.”

As Depp spoke, presumably giving the same speech depicted with select sound-bites in the trailer, the screens filled with images of the Wizengamot, wands at the ready. All were surrounded.

Then, as mysteriously as he appeared, Depp as Grindelwald was gone, ushered away, and the crowd was left to ponder his words. How charismatic. How persuasive. How non-threatening. And yet, the audience could sense the danger and darkness lurking beneath.

It all leaves us breathless and still, somehow, eager for more – we never tire of seeing new material. Though the panel also unveiled an incredible new cast poster, it’s just not enough. Roll on November 16th!

The Fantastic Beasts portion of the panel closed out with signings for the lucky fans in attendance. Photos were shared by James McKnight, Chief Creative Officer of the Wizarding World, The Blair Partnership.


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Whose side are you on, Potter fans? Choose wisely.

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.