Warning: The following contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald! Make sure you've seen the film before entering this Chamber of Secrets.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald featured jaw-dropping revelations and major twists that left Potterheads feeling like they got hit with a powerful Confundus charm. One of the biggest twists was when Alison Sudol's Queenie, the Legilimens in love with a Muggle, walked through the fire to side with Gellert Grindelwald. It was a shocking move for the loving character, but the twist was decided on for quite some time, as director David Yates explained:
We knew that was going to happen pretty much as we were finishing Film 1. Jo was very excited about that journey for Queenie. She showed that to us really early, even before we'd sort of drafted the script. That Queenie ultimately would be tempted over. Because she was the one character you would anticipate would not do that. And that was really fun to see that switch across. We were all aware of it and we gave Alison a heads up early that she was gonna have quite an interesting journey in the second film.
While Queenie crossing over to the other side might have seemed out of nowhere to her friends and family in the film, as well as some fans, it is clear that this twist has been in the works for some time. As David Yates said on The Empire Film Podcast, J.K. Rowling had Queenie's arc in mind long before the script for the film was finished. We've heard that J.K. Rowling has the whole five-film series in her head, so this is testament to that.
Because she knew in advance, J.K. Rowling was able to give the filmmakers a heads up to let them know what was coming down the pike for Queenie to help them with the storytelling on the screen. Armed with that knowledge, it sounds like they let actress Alison Sudol know that Queenie would have a much different and unexpected journey in the sequel.
Part of what makes the Queenie twist so huge is, as David Yates said, that she would seem to be the least likely character to join the ranks of a dark wizard. Queenie is an empath, deeply aware of other people's feelings, so much so that she seems to feel their love and pain. You would think a character so compassionate and good would never be tempted by Grindelwald, which makes the twist all the more impactful.
On the one hand, it says a lot about how much she loves Jacob that she is willing to go to such lengths to live the life with him she wants. Her decision doesn't make sense logically. After all, intermarriage is legal in Britain, so just move. Problem solved, no need to join the dark side. Also, she leaves Jacob to join Grindelwald so that he can create a world where she can be with Jacob. Perhaps this decision making is attributable to her heart over mind personality.
On the other hand, it also says a lot about Grindelwald's influence on others as producer David Heyman explained:
The fact that even Queenie can go over is really significant. The fact is that for me, Grindelwald is a much scarier villain than Voldemort because Voldemort was pure evil. People followed Voldemort as much because of his power and brute force than his power of persuasion. The thing about Grindelwald is he makes sense.
It is an interesting point and the contrast between the two chief villains of the Wizarding World is a fascinating one to parse out. Voldemort operated largely in the shadows like a puppet master, drawing others to him out of fear and a lust for power. Grindelwald is a demagogue, a captivating speaker who convinces people that his cause is just and that what he is doing is for the greater good.
We know that allowing Muggles and magic folk to marry goes against what Grindelwald believes, but for some reason Queenie doesn't; either that or she is convinced otherwise by the charismatic leader.
We saw how Grindelwald manipulated the Aurors into doing what he wanted to convey the untrustworthiness of wizarding institutions. Couple that with the looming Muggle threat of World War II that he showed his audience in the cemetery, and it is easy to see why this villain proves so convincing and is such a threat.
It will be very interesting to see in Fantastic Beasts 3 how Queenie reconciles her decision with whatever dark moves Grindelwald makes and she gets a better idea of the world he is actually trying to create.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is now playing and Fantastic Beasts 3 apparates into theaters on November 20, 2020. For movies arriving a bit sooner, check out our 2019 release schedule.