A new installment of the Fantastic Beasts story is set to release this April, serving as the third out of what may be five films from the Harry Potter spin-off/prequel series. It’s been four years since Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald came out (ahem—literally pre-Covid) so some of us may need a little refresher on where we last left our characters.
By the way, you need a pretty firm baseline knowledge of Harry Potter lore in order to enjoy the Fantastic Beasts story, so start binging the films on HBO Max before Secrets of Dumbledore releases this April 15 (April 8 if you’re in the UK).
For those who are new to the Fantastic Beasts films, the Harry Potter prequel series takes place in the 1920s and features magical and “no-Maj” characters from both the European and American wizarding worlds.
The films feature Eddie Redmayne as magizoologist Newt Scamander, a reference from J.K. Rowling’s 2001 HP companion book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Supporting cast members in the series include Jude Law, Katherine Waterston, Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, and Alison Sudol. The second film also featured Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald, but he was replaced for the third film by Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen.
We Said Goodbye To Zoë Kravitz’ Character, Leta Lestrange
The name Lestrange should definitely ring a bell to all Harry Potter fans. At the end of The Crimes of Grindelwald, we see Leta, played by The Batman actor Zoë Kravitz, sacrifice herself in an attempt to let her fellow wizards escape from Grindelwald’s flames.
Of course, you can never know for sure when a character’s death is really permanent in the Harry Potter Wizarding World. It looked pretty permanent though. Kravitz is not set to appear in The Secrets of Dumbledore, so it appears her time in the Wizarding World has come to an end.
The mention of the Lestrange family in the Fantastic Beasts series could mean that we’re getting closer to learning about the Dark Wizards we know from the original HP series. Might we see some ancestors to Voldemort in The Secrets of Dumbledore?
Credence Is NOT Corvus Lestrange
Credence Barebones is the extremely powerful young wizard believed by Dumbledore to be the long-lost missing member of the Lestrange family, Corvus Lestrange V. We discover throughout The Crimes of Grindelwald that Leta’s boggart appears as a vision of her baby brother drowning in the ocean, meaning Credence is not a member of the Lestrange family at all.
We do find out where Credence really comes from (I'll talk about that later), and it’s even more shocking than the thought of him being related to Leta.
Don’t Forget About Nagini
Nagini is introduced in Crimes of Grindelwald as a friend of Credence’s. She’s also revealed to be a Maledictus, a woman who has the power to transform into a snake. I’m sensing that Credence might not be able to completely devote himself to the dark side if he can’t shake his connection with Nagini.
HP fans will remember that Nagini is also the name of Voldemort’s pet snake in the original books and movies. Since we learned in The Crimes of Grindelwald that Nagini will ultimately become stuck in her snake form, we can be sure she eventually becomes the snake that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named uses as a Horcrux. This has to come up in The Secrets of Dumbledore.
Credence And Queenie Joined Grindelwald In His Crusade For Wizard Supremacy
We learn in The Crimes of Grindelwald that Gellert’s arguments are persuasive even to the strongest of wizards. It’s in the Lestrange tomb that Grindelwald announces that anyone who’s willing to commit to him and fight for his cause should enter the circle of fire he’s drawn, at which point Queenie decides she’d like to join.
Remember, it’s revealed early on in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them that Queenie has the power to read minds. Grindelwald only wants her on his team because of her clairvoyant powers, so it’s heartbreaking to see Queenie acting as a close compatriot with Grindelwald at the end of the movie.
Credence, on the other hand, is majorly struggling with his morality after deciding to side with a Dark Wizard. Regardless, Grindelwald now has the help of two very powerful wizards on his side heading into The Secrets of Dumbledore.
Dumbledore MIGHT Be Able To Destroy The Blood Pact Between Himself And Grindelwald
Newt returns to Dumbledore with a vial stolen from Grindelwald, and Dumbledore shares that it’s a blood pact made between himself and Grindelwald that prevents the two of them from dueling each other. Newt asks if it can be broken, and Dumbledore says “Maybe.”
It’s possible that someone in the very powerful Dumbledore family may be the only wizard strong enough to take down Grindelwald, so this blood pact is probably going to have something to do with some of those secrets Dumbledore’s been keeping.
Credence Is Actually Aurelius Dumbledore
Dumbledore tells Newt earlier in the film that supposedly all the members of his family have the ability to summon the phoenix. When we see Grindelwald, Queenie, and Credence at the end of the film, Grindelwald gifts Credence with a wand and a phoenix and fulfills his promise to reveal Credence’s true identity: He’s Aurelius Dumbledore.
Sure, Grindelwald isn’t exactly the most trustworthy guy in the world. But there’s no denying that Credence has the power of the Dumbledore family in his affinity for phoenixes. For now, we’ll mark Albus and Credence down as an “alleged” family members. Let’s wait and see what Queenie has to say about it in The Secrets of Dumbledore.
You can watch Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald on HBOMax or on NBC’s streaming service, Peacock before Secrets of Dumbledore comes out on April 15.
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She/her. Lover of female-led comedies, Saturday Night Live, and THAT scene in Fleabag. Will probably get up halfway through the movie to add more butter to the popcorn.