The central confrontation at the heart of David Yates' highly anticipated sequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, is one that devotees to J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World have been anxious to see. There's bad blood between Gellert Grindelwald (revealed to be the true villain in the original Beasts film), and Albus Dumbledore -- an iconic figure in the lore of Harry Potter who we will finally see on screen in the form of Jude Law. What role will Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) play in the coming skirmish? And is there a danger that Newt will be overshadowed in the franchise that he helped launch, as Rowling and Yates shift focus to Dumbledore v. Grindlewald? During a recent set visit to the production of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, CinemaBlend put that question to Redmayne directly, and learned that the unique wizard's powers will play a major part in Dumbledore's efforts. Redmayne explained:
I feel like Newt's skillset is quite unique, and I don't just mean with beasts. I mean with empathy. His capacity to see broken people and to reach out to broken people is a skillset which is pretty unique. And it's one of the things that Dumbledore has always, since he was a kid, seen in Newt. And the complexity of the... if, you know, if it is building to a showdown between these two -- [Jo Rowling]'s created a scenario that's not as simple as the two can just face off. And actually, Dumbledore needs to recruit the skillset of Newt to help.
Even though Gellert Grindelwald (played by Johhny Depp in the first movie, and now the sequel) hasn't played a significant role in any Harry Potter films, his name is very familiar to the devoted fans of the series. Those who have kept up with the stories outside of the Potter books, proper, know that Gellert Grindelwald is an evil and powerful wizard, second on the Horrible Wizards food chain to only He Who Must Not Be Named. And yet, as legend has it, Grindelwald and Albus Dumbledore were friends when each man was much younger. The two men shared an interest in the Deathly Hallows. They also wanted to work together to create a new world order where wizards ruled over Muggles. But they had a falling out (it's a very long story), and Grindelwald set out to complete their mission on his own... Muggles be damned.
Gellert Grindelwald's reign casts a very large shadow over the story of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and the future, planned sequels in this franchise. Because in the moment, Beasts occupies a place on the timeline before Dumbledore has been forced to confront his old friend, and powerful rival, Grindelwald. The confrontation is coming, it will involve an Elder Wand, and now we know that Newt's inherent ability to recognize empathy in given individuals will be extremely important to Dumbledore's move to bring Grindelwald down.
The road to the big battle has only just begun, and the journey will continue when David Yates brings Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald to theaters on November 16. We will have lots more from our set visit in the coming days, so keep checking CinemaBlend and have your wands ready.