Since the announcement that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them would not be a stand-alone film but the first entry in a series of five, the fandom plunged into a frenzy of speculation over everything from plot possibilities to film titles. With little to go on initially and no reveal on the horizon, media outlets took to calling the sequel Fantastic Beasts 2.
The widely-accepted placeholder made sense for its recognition value and because it followed the pattern already established by the Harry Potter series, but most fans didn’t seriously think it would be the official title. (How many beasts are there for Newt to find, after all–especially since the series is focused more on Newt’s involvement in the fight against Gellert Grindelwald than his assembly of the magical creatures lexicon.)
We always assumed the film would be named when J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. were good and ready, and now it appears that Rowling has confirmed what we long suspected–the upcoming film will be getting a new name of its own. This came after the following tweet from the fan site SnitchSeeker:
J.K. Rowling, as she is occasionally known to do, responded to the probing statement with a series of her own tweets–and the promise that the sequel’s name will be unveiled soon!
Some fans responded to the SnitchSeeker query by perpetuating the rumor that the second film would actually be a prequel to the first, rather than a sequel, thus “explaining” the rejection of the Fantastic Beasts 2 label. (How this rumor continues to gain traction in the face of the hints already revealed, we don’t know, but Rowling shut it down quickly.)
Hopefully, Rowling’s willingness to engage the discussion of the name means an announcement of the official film title will be forthcoming! As to where this new film will take us, Leaky previously made a thorough analysis of the plot details currently available: how the story may return to Hogwarts and move through Paris, incorporate a wizarding circus, re-introduce Credence Barebone and the existence of Obscurials, include Leta Lestrange, an estranged friend from Newt’s youth, and cross paths with Nicolas Flamel, creator of the Philosopher’s Stone and former student of Beauxbatons, the French school of witchcraft and wizardry.
Now it seems we have discovered another film location–and another hint at the intricate storyline of Newt Scamander’s latest adventure!
Ham&High reported that scenes for an upcoming film were recently shot at the Highgate Cemetery. The secrecy surrounding the shoot and the signs posted for a film titled “Voltaire” have led many to believe it is actually the Fantastic Beasts sequel. Voltaire was a renowned French historian and philosopher, born in Paris, so it is no big leap to make the connection to a film which will prominently feature the city, as well as the aforementioned philosopher, Flamel, to be played by Brontis Jodorowsky.
Highgate also posted the sign seen above, which notified visitors of tour cancellations in the West Cemetery during the weekdays between Oct. 10 and Oct. 27. It is likely, then, that this was the specific area of the cemetery blocked off for filming. Assuming this is indeed a set location for the next wizarding film, we must now consider what storyline could bring Newt and possibly Dumbledore to a graveyard…
We know that Grindelwald has escaped MACUSA custody and presumably returned to his original plan: freeing the wizarding community from the oppressive burden of hiding from the muggle world. This will take him to Paris, where he could seek out Nicolas Flamel or encounter one of the other new cast members–Rosier, for instance, a character portrayed by French actress Poppy Corby-Tuech.
This is an interesting detail of note because we know the Rosiers become Death Eaters, meaning they are a pureblood family and particularly susceptible to Grindelwald’s rhetoric. Grindelwald may not only be searching for means to grow his power, but also recruiting support for his cause –a net which may have already snared Leta Lestrange.
And perhaps there is a twofold reason for his interest in the Lestrange family.
The first, we have already discussed. Grindelwald may be manipulating Leta, in much the same way he did the young Dumbledore, positioning her as a pawn to draw out Newt in the hope of using his unique knowledge of Obscurials and how to separate the raw magical power from the host. This would prove of great use to him and explain the recurrence of Credence Barebone’s arc.
Now to set up the second possibility. (Bear with us!)
From what we know of Grindelwald, he seems far less hindered by personal arrogance and vendettas. Voldemort, on the other hand, was compelled at a young age to murder his disgraceful muggle father, squelch any inkling of his half-blood status by embracing his position as the Heir of Slytherin, and then went on to pursue not only wizarding dominance, but pureblood superiority. Voldemort was also so certain of his abilities that he ultimately relied on no one, resorting to the creation of horcruxes to preserve his power. Likewise, he was so consumed with his own pride that he saw no benefit to the use of magical aids that, in his mind, in no way enhanced his already formidable talent. As Dumbledore said, he saw no need for the resurrection stone, for he loved no one, or for the invisibility cloak, when he could conceal himself by other arts at will
Grindelwald, however, was more strategic, more utilitarian. When confronted head on with his foes, he met them where they stood, confident in his superior prowess and advantage, as he did with the Aurors who tracked him to Nurmengard. When he sought information that could be procured most easily through surreptitious means rather than a direct assault, he employed such a plan, as he did when transfiguring himself into the person of Percival Graves in order to gain access to the highest levels of MACUSA. He believed in the superiority of wizards and in advancing that cause by any means necessary.
He had no compunction over how that occurred, and he was willing to exhaust all recourses for “the greater good.” For this reason, he should be considered at least as dangerous as Voldemort. Where Voldemort was driven by his narcissism; Grindelwald was fueled by his obsessions. Whatever their individual magical capabilities, that was probably Grindelwald’s only notable handicap–the obsessed are more predictable because they are bound by their compulsions.
This means that Dumbledore had a reasonable idea of how to track him. He knew that Grindelwald was pursuing the use of Obscurials as a way to bolster his dark powers. He also knew that Grindelwald dreamed of possessing the Hallows and that he would not be so arrogant as Voldemort in this matter. Grindelwald would want them all. Not because he needed them, but because there was no reason not to possess them. The legends told that the hallows were most powerful, most effective, when used in conjunction with one another. He would want the trifecta.
With the resurrection stone, Grindelwald believed he could raise an army of Inferi to serve as an expendable force. He would have numbers behind him with no need to unnecessarily spill valuable wizarding blood. With the invisibility cloak he would no longer need to expend time or energies on producing a Disillusionment Charm. Though non-essential, it would be immensely useful. Finally, with the elder wand in hand, he would be unmatched.
So, to the graveyard–it is very possible that Grindelwald, and therefore Newt and Dumbledore, are tracing the legacy of the hallows through the family history of ancient wizarding families. The legacy of the resurrection stone lies with the Gaunt family, and Grindelwald may discover this eventually–if not in this film, then maybe in one of the future films. Just because Dumbledore eventually procures it from the family doesn’t mean it was always in their physical possession.
Also, considering there are no coincidences in J.K. Rowling’s world, it must be noted that this film is set in 1926, the year of Tom Riddle’s birth. It is possible that rumors of the dark magic employed by Tom’s mother to seduce his father had spread to those in the know and placed the family on their radar. Maybe Dumbledore knew of Tom Riddle and the family’s proclivities long before he was summoned to investigate an odd child in an orphanage…
It is also possible that we are returning to Godric’s Hollow and another part of the cemetery there. This could be of interest for two reasons. First, we know the graveyard is home to Ignotus Peverell, forefather of the Potter line. The search for the invisibility cloak could bring Grindelwald and others there. As with the resurrection stone, we have no assurance that the cloak did not fall out of the Potters’ possession for a time.
(This would seem less likely, however, since Dumbledore was surprised by its telltale quality when examining the cloak before passing it on to Harry. If he knew of its existence and had a hand in returning it to the Potter family, he would not have kept it as he did, as though it was a new discovery, unless he was so overwhelmed by being near the hallow again that his own compulsion momentarily took over.)
Second, the cemetery in Godric’s Hollow is the site of Ariana Dumbledore’s grave. Dumbledore, along with Newt and friends, may return there to learn more about Obscurials and the ability of older teens to control (or unleash) their power through testimonies of townsfolk who knew her. Dumbledore was away at school during the years when Ariana was most unstable, so he would not have the firsthand knowledge that could prove very helpful to them in understanding Credence, as well as Grindelwald’s intentions. A scene depicting Dumbledore’s visit to her gravesite could be a bittersweet insight into an often enigmatic man.
And now–circling back to the Lestrange family. It makes the most sense the hallows would fall into the possession of esteemed wizarding families of ancient bloodline. The passage of these magical objects through the years would explain the longevity and resilience of their heirs. With the Gaunts and Potters claiming ownership of two–one remains. The Elder Wand. And it could have easily belonged to a Lestrange long before it fell into the hands of Mykew Gregorovitch. Maybe tracking down that lineage verified the rumors that so unfortunately led Grindelwald to his doorstep.
And though the Harry Potter films depict a young Grindelwald stealing the elder wand from Gregorovitch, that casting decision does not necessarily bind the story to a specific timeline, since the film did not make clear when that took place. They may have chosen not to age Jamie Campbell Bower one way or the other to relate an event for which the specific timing was left intentionally ambiguous.
It also seems doubtful that Grindelwald has already found it by the events of the first film, for if he had, it is unlikely the MACUSA Aurors and Newt could have disarmed him. But even if he does have it and simply chose not to use it in order to preserve his cover as Graves, it is possible that he wishes to confirm all the rumors that led him to take it, so that he can be assured, once and for all, that it is the wand he suspects it is.
For of the three hallows, it is the one he would want most, the others being mere compliments to its power. Maybe Leta, anxious to prove herself worthy and devoted to the cause, relayed some relation to the renowned wandmaker or an anecdote from her family history, some seemingly-innocuous detail, that has led Grindelwald to delve deep into her ancestral past for connections to the other Peverell brother–and, thus, to a graveyard.
We’re excited, and a bit overwhelmed, by all the potential twists and turns this story may take! Perhaps the film title, when finally revealed, will give us a hint at the right direction–though we doubt it. Rowling likes to keep the big secrets close to the vest, and we can’t blame her. One thing’s for sure, it will tie together in ways we may not even now foresee, but when revealed, all the threads of the tapestry will be woven seamlessly. As she told a fan, she’s not just writing a new story, she’s incorporating plotlines that took root years ago and are only now pressing through the earth to bear fruit. She’s having a blast–and it’s going to taste so good.