25 of Our Biggest Questions About ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’

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Dec 01, 2018

Posted by: Emma Pocock | Comments

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Today, December 1st, our lockdown on Fantastic BeastsThe Crimes of Grindelwald spoiler content finally lifts, and Merlin’s beard, have we got theories to discuss! PotterCast’s first episode discussing the series made its debut this week, and we’ve already published a review of the film, a piece explaining why the various (and plentiful) twists of the film shouldn’t be confused for plot holes, as well as an interview with graphic design duo MinaLima and roundtable interviews with the cast of Fantastic Beasts. Now we’re bringing twenty-five of our biggest questions about Crimes Of Grindelwald (was well as answers to some of those questions), to kickstart our discussions of the film!

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1) How is it possible that McGonnagall would be a professor at Hogwarts in 1927 and 1910, when most have assumed she was born in 1935? Hypable published a pretty thorough explanation as to how this might be possible within canon (placing McGonnagall’s birth in 1889). Take a look at their theory here.

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2) Why does Grindelwald throw Antonio out of the carriage?! We’re interested in the history between these two – especially as the Chupacabra is described as ‘part lizard, part homunculus’ (or, part ‘small human’, according to sixteenth century alchemy) in the official screenplay. Antonio didn’t look very human, so what does this mean? The only other reference to ‘Homunculus’ is the Homonculous Charm, used to track the movements of people on a map, used to create the Marauder’s Map. It could just be a light link, but is it possible that Antonio will resurface at some point?

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3) What is Flamel’s magical phone book? We see Ilvermorny’s Professor Eulalie Hicks speak to Flamel through the book, saying ‘we believe in you’, and it appears to be a portrait portrayal of Hicks, seeing as the screenplay tells us ‘Dumbledore’s portrait is blank’. Travers says Dumbledore has built ‘quite a little network of international contacts’, and the book features a Phoenix on the cover — could this be a network of world leaders and professors shared by Dumbledore to help bring down Grindelwald and share information, functioning something like the portraits in his office?

Speaking of Flamel, WHY does he say ‘I’m an alchemist, and therefore immortal’, when we know it’s his creation of the Philosopher’s Stone / Elixir of Life which made him immortal?

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4) Where did Newt meet Bunty? Is she an apprentice? Did they go to Magizoologist grad school? He tells her to ‘clock off’, and we know she’s his assistant… What’s her story, and how long has she been working for Newt? We know she’s ‘hopelessly in love’ with him, and in the issue of Spellbound she’s simply noted as ‘unknown woman’, so probably hasn’t been around very long, or perhaps she doesn’t often venture out in public. It’s possible she helped create Newt’s basement (which, by the way, totally inspired by Hogwarts – the Kelpie environment is definitely the Black Lake!), and that we’ll see more of her in future instalments?

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5) What is a blood pact? What would ‘breaking it’ involve? How did Grindelwald, Albus and Aberforth end up fighting in a three-way duel if they had a pact not to fight each other? When will we see Ariana?

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6) How many deleted scenes will we get? We’ve discovered that there’s a scene with Theseus and Newt in a pub called The Siren’s Tail which never made it into the film (read more about this in our interview with graphic designers MinaLima, where they talk more about the set of the Siren’s Tail, seen in our exclusive behind-the-scenes image). We also know the scene from the trailer with Leta and what looks like Veelas dancing isn’t in the film, as well as the scene where Credence is sending out some of his Obscurus powers on the rooftop in Paris.

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7) Why are we introduced to MACUSA as “American Ministry of Magic”, and ‘Le Ministère des Affaires Magiques de la France’, or simply the ‘French Ministry of Magic’? What happened to official names? Is the ‘French Ministry’ just called the MaM instead of MoM? Is MACUSA not MACUSA anymore?

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8) Is Credence basically immortal? In a press pack we’re told by Rowling, ‘You can’t kill an Obscurial when they’re in Obscurus form.’ Seeing as Credence appears to have control over his Obscurus now, and it doesn’t appear to be killing him anytime soon, is his ability to transform-at-will, as seen in his fight with Grimmson, actually a key to him staying alive?

9) What is Newt’s patronus? Rowling says it’s a BIG spoiler, but how? When will we see it? Will it fuel the story in any way? Is it a Salamander?

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10) What’s Grindelwald’s ‘glowing skull-shaped hookah’? Why does it look like the dark mark? Is it giving Grindelwald visions, or just giving him a means to show them to others? Why does the material coming out of it look so much like an Obscurus? In the screenplay the vision material is described as a ‘technicolour cloak … bearing moving images’ – why are we shown something so different on screen?

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11) Not forgetting Grindelwald’s actual aim is to expose the wizarding community and put Muggles in ‘their place’ for ‘The Greater Good’, the ministry think that Grindelwald wants to use Credence to fuel this mission, and Grindelwald tells Krall he needs Credence to defeat Dumbledore. Are Credence and Newt the pawns of Dumbledore and Grindelwald? Why did Grindelwald need ‘a Dumbledore’ to help defeat Albus Dumbledore? Dumbledore says at the start of the film that if a ‘brother or sister’ could possibly take the place of the Obscurus in Credence, which Dumbledore describes as a ‘dark twin’, then Credence might yet be saved. Assuming Grindelwald isn’t lying, and the brother is somehow Albus Dumbledore, will Albus Dumbledore be expected to take its place? Why would Grindelwald risk this?

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12) Does the ministry really want to employ Newt as an Auror? Were they just asking to keep an eye on him so he couldn’t help Dumbledore?

13) Why doesn’t Grindelwald do any of the killing? He watches as his Acolytes kill muggles, but never seems to do the killing himself.

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14) Dumbledore is first described in the screenplay as a ‘dandyesque forty-five year old wizard with greying auburn hair and beard’. By the end of the book he is ‘hollow-eyed’, his ‘calm has gone’, and we’re told he is ‘a man at the end of his tether’. ‘Bitterly ashamed’ at Newt’s discovery of the blood pact, it appears we’re going to see Dumbledore rapidly progress into the comparatively wizened, colourful-robe-wearing wizard of the Harry Potter series. He goes to Tom Riddle’s orphanage in 1938, seven years before his duel with Grindelwald, so we’ll see a direct overlap with the Harry Potter story. What brings Dumbledore to the orphanage? Could it have something to do with the plot of Fantastic Beasts?

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15) The Thunderbird memory potion from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is revealed by Jacob to have ‘only erased bad memories’. Is this bad memories of the day? Or overall? How did this potion work?! What a risky thing, to assume that seeing the Thunderbird or seeing magic or seeing New York being repaired by magic would have been a ‘bad’ memory for everybody — it’s certainly not fool-proof. Unless Queenie actually lifted the enchantment herself and merely told Jacob this as the explanation to save herself from more of Newt and Tina’s disapproval?

16) While we’re on the topic of Queenie, what happened?! Was there potion in the tea Rosier gave her? In the film we see a slightly abusive teapot hounding her to give her more tea, and in the screenplay we’re told she definitely drinks tea, sets down her empty teacup (which is instantly refilled by Rosier), then she is once again pestered by the teapot. Could there have been something in there to enchant her? Could this all just be wishful thinking?

Jacob tells Queenie to ‘wake up’, and she’s certainly acting oblivious to the atrocities Grindelwald has committed. Either she can’t read his Acolyte’s minds, or she’s being somehow subdued or enchanted by Grindelwald and his followers. We also see that the voices in her head stop as Rosier touches her shoulder, and she stops defending herself with her wand as Grindelwald touches her arm. Could there be more to Queenie’s betrayal than we know? She knows Grindelwald is awful – she saw him try to kill Tina, Newt  and Credence in New York, and knows that her and Jacob could always just get married in England. Why would she, of all people, believe him this much? Read Alison Sudol’s thoughts on the matter in our interview with her.

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17) What’s with The Predictions of Tycho Dodonus? If the predictions actually relate to Albus and Credence, who is the daughter? Ariana? Is Credence supposed to be the returned ‘great avenger with wings from the water’? How does this link to the visions Grindelwald and Flamel have seen? Are there more prophecies to come?

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18) Who’s the guy on the White Cliff’s of Dover? He’s named a ‘Portkey Tout’ in the screenplay – we assume he’s like a wizard trafficker? How did Newt find out about him?

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19) HOW DO THEY GET OUT OF THE FRENCH MINISTRY? We know they can’t apparate, as Newt had already asked Tina this whilst his Theseus Polyjuice disguise was wearing off. It looks like they go through some sort of portal? We actually discovered that the explanation to this is in the screenplay (thankfully), and it appears the Zouwu literally bursts through the ceiling of the Ministry:

“The Matagots give chase as the Zouwu gallops out of the room, leaving them injured and thwarted in its wake. The Zouwu carves a path of destruction through the Ministry. It takes one last leap over the typing pool …

… and its immense magical power propels it up and out through the glass roof.’

So, there we have it. Immense magical power. Rowling’s explanation continues: ‘With one gigantic leap, the Zouwu has taken them to freedom’. Newt did say that Zouwu are capable of crossing the city of Paris in ‘one jump’! We also find out that Matagots turn into kittens in Muggle environments, which explains that scene. However, how the Matagots managed to follow the Zouwu to Père Lachaise is unexplained.

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20) Polyjuice potion is used a few times in this film: in MACUSA and the French ministry by Abernathy (twice), and by Newt. How on earth were they not detected? How were the trio not detected in Deathly Hallows? How is Polyjuice so effective at breaking into places in the wizarding world (even Gringotts, despite the Thief’s Downfall), when literally everybody seems to be able to access it?

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21) How is Grimmson, a ‘beast hunter’, able to shield himself from Credence so easily? Can everybody else (excluding Nagini and Jacob, obviously) not just do whatever protection spell he did?

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22) What was the purpose of Kama using the water dragon? How does he faint just as he manages to imprison Newt and Tina?

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23) Is Grindelwald lying about Credence being a Dumbledore? People assume Albus is the brother mentioned in his speech at the end:

‘You have suffered the most heinous of betrayals, most purposely bestowed upon you by your own blood. Your own flesh and blood. And just as he has celebrated your torment, your brother seeks to destroy you.’ 

‘Destroy’ and ‘celebrated your torment’ doesn’t sound like Dumbledore at all, and if he is supposed to be implied to be Credence’s brother here, who is his Aunt we see die in the shipwreck? It seems there’s more to discover about Grindelwald’s ‘revelation’ in future Fantastic Beasts movies, for sure.

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24) Is Grindelwald pre-empting the war in his vision, or does he have a hand in making World War II happen? In the film we see people queueing for a train – could we be seeing the Holocaust? Will Grindelwald influence or somehow shape the movements of Hitler to further fuel his message about the disgrace and violence of Muggles? His insignia certainly looks like the Swastika used by the Nazi party, and the comparisons between the real-life muggle dictator and this heinous manipulator are clear. Could we see wizarding history overlap with muggle history on screen?

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25) Does Leta look at Newt or Theseus when she says ‘I love you’? The screenplay seems to suggest both:

She looks toward both THESEUS and NEWT, who are watching her, stunned.

LETA: I love you.

Leta’s story was cut all-too-short in this movie, and we’re hoping this isn’t the last we see of her. Unfortunately treated as utterly disposable in this movie, she truly sacrificed herself for the greater good (read David Heyman’s thoughts on her selflessness in our interview), and way more needs to be said about her development, and how in the wizarding world she managed to end up with Theseus and working in the ministry, if she is – as Grindelwald said – ‘hated by wizards’.

What was your number one question after seeing Crimes of Grindelwald? Have you read the screenplay? Be on the look out for more discussion pieces, coming very soon, and let us know your thoughts….

 





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