New Wizarding World movie Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore has been released after plenty of delays and some behind-the-scenes dramas that have threatened to overshadow the entire film.

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Still, now it’s here – and perhaps the biggest secret (of Dumbledore or otherwise) that has fans confused is the curious case of the missing Tina. After playing a lead role in the first two Fantastic Beasts movies as Auror Tina Goldstein, actor Katherine Waterston is mysteriously absent in the new film. She’s not on any posters or in the trailers, and in the finished film only appears in a glorified cameo towards the end.

So how much is Tina in Fantastic Beasts 3, and why isn’t she a bigger part of the story? We break down the key points below.

Is Katherine Waterston in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore?

Dan Fogler, Katherine Waterston, Eddie Redmayne and Alison Sudol on the poster for the first Fantastic Beasts movie
Dan Fogler, Katherine Waterston, Eddie Redmayne and Alison Sudol on the poster for the first Fantastic Beasts movie Sky

Yes – though not as much as you might expect.

After playing a major lead role in the first two Fantastic Beasts films, Waterston barely appears in the third, with her absence explained as a consequence of her new role leading the American Aurors’ office. Though of course, this sort of responsibility doesn’t stop the British Head of Aurors (Callum Turner’s Theseus Scamander) from joining the fight.

Apart from a brief glimpse earlier on, the only time we really see Tina in the film is at its conclusion, when her sister Queenie (Alison Sudol) marries muggle Jacob (Dan Fogler). Meeting former love interest Newt (Eddie Redmayne) outside Jacob’s bakery, Tina doesn’t say too much, but apparently reconciles with Newt before her sister’s wedding. It’s implied they may have rekindled their relationship – in the “future” of Harry Potter’s history they’re married, so it makes sense.

And that’s more or less it. During the main action of the film, a role similar to Tina's is taken by Jessica Williams’ character Eulalie “Lally” Hicks, an American charms expert and wizard teacher who briefly cameo'd in the second Fantastic Beasts movie.

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Was Tina Goldstein cut from Fantastic Beasts 3?

Katherine Waterston plays Porpentina _Tina_ Goldstein
WB

Many fans have speculated that Waterston’s role was intentionally cut down for the third film after she voiced public support for the rights of trans people. Many took this as a tacit criticism of Fantastic Beasts screenwriter and creator JK Rowling, whose 'gender-critical' views have become more public over the last couple of years.

In 2020, Waterston shared a Guardian article with the headline “Trans women pose no threat to cis women, but we pose a threat to them if we make them outcasts.” She highlighted a part of the article that said: “Sorry, you can’t be a feminist if you’re not for everyone’s human rights, notably other women’s human rights.”

“Because I was associated with Fantastic Beasts, it felt important to communicate my position,” Waterston later told The Independent. “One wondered if they might be grouped in with other people’s views by association.”

Rowling has strongly denied any accusations of transphobia, and fans have wondered whether Waterston’s role in the film was reduced as a result of her comments. It’s hard to say – no-one has spoken publicly about the matter thus far, and Gavia Baker-Whitelaw of The Daily Dot has argued convincingly that Fantastic Beasts’ production timeline doesn’t line up with this course of events.

After all, Warner Bros announced the film’s locations and the fact of Eulalie Hicks' bigger role as far back as 2019, several months before Waterston would comment publicly on any of these matters.

Filming was also scheduled to begin months before Waterston's posts, although it was delayed by the pandemic. With that in mind, it could be that Tina’s role was always meant to be small.

Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston attend Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore's world premiere Mike Marsland/WireImage

Still, there are a few quirks in the tale. While Fantastic Beasts did announce key locations and plans in 2019, the finished film is quite different to what was originally planned. For example, it was announced that the story would take place in Brazil – but the finished movie is largely set in Berlin instead, with a detour to Bhutan towards the end.

Former star Johnny Depp also filmed one scene as Gellert Grindelwald in September 2020 before being replaced by Mads Mikkelsen. Clearly, major changes to the planned film were being made as time went on, so who’s to say Waterston’s role in the film wasn’t another casualty?

The truth is that unless Waterston or someone else opens up about what happened, we’ll probably never know for sure what went on in Fantastic Beasts 3. Maybe Waterston herself wanted to step back from the franchise, maybe she had a schedule clash, or maybe she had a separate storyline that was cut and rewritten for length.

It is worth noting that Waterston still attended the new film's premiere (see image above), suggesting there's not too much bad blood behind the scenes.

Really, all we know for sure is that there’s a Tina-shaped hole in Fantastic Beasts 3 – and that it’s unlikely fans will ever stop wondering how it got there.

Read more: Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore review – Still missing the magic

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is in UK cinemas now. For more, check out our dedicated Fantasy page or our full TV Guide.

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