This coming Thursday, most of TheMovies crew will be meeting up to watch the screening for Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. Yes, Noelle visiting us down here in Cape Town is the main reason for us all corralling ourselves together like this, but it’s also because we’re all really excited to finally watch the hotly anticipated Harry Potter prequel. And of course, after the recent confirmation of Johnny Depp’s role of Gellert Grindelwald and the addition of a young Albus Dumbledore, we’re just as stoked for its sequels.
Said sequels which originally started off as being a trilogy but has since been revealed to actually be a pentalogy, i.e. five films (or a trilogy in five parts, if you want to get all Douglas Adams about it). And it appears that they will definitely all share one united vision as it was revealed that Fantastic Beasts director David Yates will in fact be returning to helm all of them. Yates revealed this massive commitment to THR at the film’s premiere at the end of last week.
I love making films, and I’ve got a great team, all of whom are like family. [The commitment isn’t daunting to me.] I only look at it movie to movie.
Yates’ insouciance about this task more than likely stems from the fact that this is nothing new to him, having previously directed four of the eight Harry Potter films. Of course those were based on JK Rowling’s established novels, whereas these are original tales. But it helps that Rowling herself has penned the script – her first screenwriting credit – for Fantastic Beasts and is planning to do the same for the rest. And as the author revealed to Variety at the premiere, this story is going to be an epic one, even bigger in scope than Harry Potter, as its events play out across nearly two decades. And that’s why a trilogy just wouldn’t cut it anymore.
We’ve set ourselves an ambitious story to tell in five movies, but it’s going to be challenging and exciting — all the things I like. Originally, to tell you the truth, we said a trilogy as a placeholder. We wanted to be honest with people that it was going to be more than one movie, but we were feeling our way. Then, there came a point in the drafting of our story where I said to David [Yates], ‘You know, this feels like five movies,’ and I think I’m pretty certain about that. It’s pretty ambitious to tell it in five to be honest because we’re spanning 19 years, but I can see an arc to five – so that’s how it happened.
We know that Fantastic Beasts is set in 1926 and follows Eddie Redmayne’s magizooologist Newt Scamander as he travels to New York City, and inadvertently causes some huge kerfuffle in the No-Maj (aka Muggle aka people who can’t do magic) world. Harry Potter fans will also know that it was around this time that Grindelwald began terrorizing Europe as he became the most feared dark wizard until Voldemort showed up half a century later. Just how Scamander and Grindelwald’s tales link up is uncertain, but one thing to point out that is that 19 years later is 1945, the year World War II ended, and also the year Dumbledore famously confronted Grindelwald.
Whether the event of WWII also play into the story Yates and Rowling is crafting or not, we know that we’re going to be seeing Grindelwald’s reign of terror in Europe. Specifically, in France, as Yates revealed to Empire Magazine (via Digital Spy) that Fantastic Beasts 2 (or whatever it ends up being called) will see Scamander hopping the pond to Paris.
We next see Newt in another big capital city. It’s not going to be New York. It’s somewhere else entirely.
Yates continued with THR revealing that a geographical jump isn’t the only planned change for the sequel that Rowling has up her sleeve.
[She’s putting the finishing touches on the sequel, which] feels so different from this [first film]. Much more haunting, like a dream. What she’s doing is really interesting; she’s not repeating herself.
So now we when this whole story plays out, where it plays out and even who will be telling it, but there’s one aspect that still needs to be addressed. Ever since it was first rumoured that a young Grindelwald and Dumbledore would be appearing in the new series, fans have on tenterhooks about whether these movies will address one of the biggest details about latter: His homosexuality. Although never mentioned in the books, Rowling revealed during a book reading in 2007 that Dumbledore was in fact gay, and actually that he was in unrequited love with Grindelwald before the latter became a dark wizard.
And during a press conference for Fantastic Beasts, Rowling was asked whether these new movies will be openly revealing this fact, therefore making it cannon.
Well, I’m very comfortable with the question. I would like to say because this is obviously a five-part story, there’s lots to unpack in that relationship. […] You will see Dumbledore as a younger man and quite a troubled man. We’ll see him at that formative period of his life. As far as his sexuality is concerned, watch this space.
So not exactly an emphatic confirmation, but nowhere close to a dismissal either. Now normally, I’m always of the opinion that a character’s sexuality, if it has no bearing on the story, should not be turned into a sideshow. It should be treated in the same nonchalant way heterosexuality is treated. In this case though, it is a big deal, as Dumbledore’s feelings for Grindelwald could actually have clouded his judgement where his friend is concerned, as Rowling explained when she made the original revelation years ago.
My truthful answer to you… I always thought of Dumbledore as gay … Dumbledore fell in love with Grindelwald, and that that added to his horror when Grindelwald showed himself to be what he was. To an extent, do we say it excused Dumbledore a little more because falling in love can blind us to an extent? But, he met someone as brilliant as he was, and rather like Bellatrix he was very drawn to this brilliant person, and horribly, terribly let down by him.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is scheduled for release locally on November 25, and also stars Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, Colin Farrell, Jenn Murray, Jon Voight, Carmen Ejogo, Gemma Chan and Faith Wood-Blagrove.
Last Updated: November 14, 2016