Eddie Redmayne’s famed magizoologist Newt Scamander will team up with young Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) on a mission to defeat Johnny Depp’s dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2.
As filming for JK Rowling’s magical sequel begins this Monday 3rd July near London, we finally know more about where Scamander’s adventures will take him next – and it looks like things in the wizarding world are about to become even more fraught and divided.
Pirates of the Caribbean star Depp was dramatically unveiled as Grindelwald at the end of the first movie, but this will be the first time we meet Dumbledore before he becomes Hogwarts headmaster – a moment that has been much anticipated by Harry Potter fans.
Rowling’s screenplay opens in 1927, a few months after Newt seemed to triumph over Grindelwald by exposing and capturing the dark wizard.
But Grindelwald confidently promised he would escape, and guess what: he has. Since then he has been gathering more followers to his cause of wizarding supremacy. The only person who might be able to stop him (with the help of Newt, of course) is Dumbledore, “the wizard he once called his dearest friend.”
That relationship will likely be at the centre of Fantastic Beasts 2. We know from the Harry Potter novels that the pair were close teenagers, before a tragic accident led to the death of Dumbledore’s sister Ariana. We also know from Rowling’s later remarks that the young Dumbledore once had a crush on Grindelwald.
The next chapter in the five-film franchise, also directed by David Yates, will reunite Newt with sisters Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) and Queenie Goldstein (Alison Sudol).
But the cast list is actually pretty intriguing. Dan Fogler will return as “no-Maj” (or “muggle”) Jacob Kowalski, despite having his memories of his magical adventure wiped at the end of the first film – except, that is, for a flicker of recognition when Queenie visited his shop and a sudden inspiration to bake his products in the shape of magical creatures.
Ezra Miller will also make a “mysterious return” as Credence, so his story isn’t over yet – even though the troubled character was seemingly destroyed and reduced to only a tendril of black matter.
Then there are the new additions to the cast. Zoë Kravitz plays Leta Lestrange, who was glimpsed in a photo as a woman from Newt’s past. Callum Turner will play the famous Theseus Scamander, a war hero and Auror, who also happens to be Newt’s older brother; and Claudia Kim will star as a young woman we first meet as a featured attraction at a wizarding circus.
The first Fantastic Beasts film was entirely based in New York. But the sequel, which begins filming at the Warner Bros studios near London, will see a change of location.
The wizarding world will move from the US to London – and then on to Paris.
Producers also have promised “some surprising nods to the Harry Potter stories that will delight fans of the books and film series”.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2 is scheduled for release on 16th November 2018