The first Fantastic Beasts movie went out of its way to stand apart from the pre-existing Harry Potter films. Not that it could ever separate itself completely from that world. Both are born from the mind of J.K. Rowling, and both occupy corners of the author's vast Wizarding World. But Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them avoided direct references to anything familiar from the Harry Potter world, resting on the shoulders of new characters such as Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller), the No-Maj Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) and the menacing Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp).
However, the strands that connect Fantastic Beasts to the on-screen Harry Potter film series will be pulled tighter this November with the release of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, as the story will cast a younger version of Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) and will take audiences back to Hogwarts. But how? When CinemaBlend flew to London to visit the set of Crimes of Grindelwald, we learned that Hogwarts would be used in crucial flashbacks that would establish Dumbledore's relationship with Newt, and fill in vital historical gaps in the magizoologist's colored past. Longtime Potter producer David Heyman opened up about how excited he knows fans will be to return to the famous school, saying:
Not [just] going back to Hogwarts. Going back to the world of... it's seeing Dumbledore. How great is that? Seeing a younger Dumbledore, and seeing he and Newt's first meeting, I think, will be a thing that the fans will really love. Because here is this character who's so -- you know, we have such a connection to, who is such a central part of the Harry Potter stories. And to see him earlier on, as it were, very much, related to the Dumbledore of... I'd say, 'of old,' but of future. But at the same time, you realize in the Potter films that he was working things to his own end. He knew the path. He knew what was happening. He understood the back stories, and he was working Harry. I mean, in some ways, you could say, responsibly putting Harry into great danger, at times. But he had faith in Harry and his ability. While here, you see Dumbledore, and there are remnants of that and you see echoes of that. But he's also wonderful and colorful and magical and wise, and the character that we know, but younger, and we see slightly different shades.
It was something that evolved in the developing process. Because we were introducing Dumbledore, it felt right to bring that world back into this one. We're there very briefly. You know, right in the middle of the movie, we go back for about 10 minutes to Hogwarts, and see it in 1927. It was a very organic natural part of the development process that took us back there.
But Fantastic Beasts Art Director Martin Foley let it be known that we would visit parts of the school's grounds that audiences have not seen before... including one location that was, personally, his favorite to build on this new set. Foley told us:
It's a part of Hogwarts that we've never seen before. It's like a secret cubbyhole space where Newt keeps some things. And it's just so... it's a tiny set, but it's really cute.
Producer David Heyman clearly was excited to use Hogwarts in flashback scenes to flesh out the past relationships between these characters, because fans know that Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) was expelled from the legendary school... and that Dumbledore went to bat for him at the time. While we will see plenty of action of Newt and Dumbledore in the current timeline of the Fantastic Beasts story, the Hogwarts moments will be used to expand on the history of the characters. And not just these two men... but also of Newt and Leta Lestrange (Zoe Kravitz). On that relationship, Heyman was guarded, but he did offer up the following:
Leta's someone who Newt had a very close relationship with. And I think that at Hogwarts... they were at Hogwarts together, and one of the things I think we will enjoy is, Newt was always -- you know, just like his love of beasts, he always saw the good in people. And Leta is someone who, I think, wrestles with that a little bit, just in her... she's from a family. She's from a pureblood family. And that whole thing of, 'what you're born and who you are' is an element of her character.
So, not only is Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald a return to the adventure surrounding Newt, Tina, Jacob and Queenie, it also will be the first return to Hogwarts since The Boy Who Lived defeated Lord Voldemort on screen several years ago. Does that excite you for the sequel? Then get your ticket, because The Crimes of Grindelwald opens in theaters on November 16.