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Merlin's beard, we have so many questions about the third Fantastic Beasts movie! For one, what will it be called? It has a title, and the castmembers appear to know it, but it has yet to be announced. So much of Fantastic Beasts 3 is still as mysterious as Credence's backstory, but we do have enough information to get started. So, here's what we know at this point about the movie that will follow Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, and precede the planned sequels Fantastic Beasts 4 and Fantastic Beasts 5. Keep your eye on this guide, because we'll update it with new intel as the owls fly in.
What Is The Fantastic Beasts 3 Release Date?
We are still waiting on a new release date from Warner Bros. Fantastic Beasts 3 was initially hoped / expected to release on November 20, 2020. But then production was delayed from starting to film this July, 2019, to starting instead in late fall 2019. Warner Bros. then gave Dune the November 20, 2020 release date. Dan Fogler (Jacob Kowalski) said filming was delayed because the third movie is "bigger than the first two combined." The "gigantic" movie needed more time to prep, and they didn't want to rush anything. Also, screenwriter J.K. Rowling is said to be re-working the script right now (spring 2019), to try and make the third movie better than Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald after the relative disappointment of the second movie with fans, critics, and the box office.
The first two movies opened in mid-November 2016 and 2018, respectively. But it doesn't sound like Fantastic Beasts 3 is opening in November 2020 anymore, and 2020 seems unrealistic in general. Will Warner Bros. schedule it for November 2021, or perhaps mix it up and go for a spring or summer release in 2021? This is still a mystery.
What Will Fantastic Beasts 3 Be Rated?
The MPAA won't reveal Fantastic Beasts 3's official rating until well after filming, closer to the release date. But it's almost certainly going to be PG-13. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was rated PG-13 for "some fantasy action violence." Crimes of Grindelwald was rated PG-13 for "some sequences of fantasy action." Expect something similar for Fantastic Beasts 3.
What Will Fantastic Beasts 3 Be About?
Ah, the biggest question! When a fan asked J.K. Rowling to describe the third film in three words, she replied, "Answers are given." What answers, though? Since this is the third of five planned movies, we know not everything will be wrapped up in Fantastic Beasts 3. However, we know some things. The first film was set in 1926 in New York, with the second film set in 1927, mostly in Paris. Dan Fogler already revealed they'd be going to Brazil for part of the third movie, but he also said it would be bigger than the previous two movies combined. In late 2018, J.K. Rowling made her Twitter header a photo of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in the 1930s, in what was seen as a big clue on what's to come. She also hinted at seeing more of a professor from Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the North American school of magic, so we have to include that U.S. school as a potential location.
If the movie is set in the 1930s, that would be a bit of a time jump, but it would still leave a long way before the planned ending for the franchise in 1945. That's the end of World War II but also the year of Gellert Grindelwald and Albus Dumbledore's big duel. Speaking of world wars, Grindelwald ended the second movie gathering followers to his cause, partly by using the fear of world war if they kept in the current muggle-led direction. Queenie and Credence joined Grindelwald's cause, for their own reasons. Meanwhile, one of Newt Scamander's Niffler friends stole the blood vial sealing the blood pact between Dumbledore and Grindelwald.
The next film doesn't have a synopsis at this point, but it may follow the team fighting Grindelwald's followers around the world while they search for a way to break the blood pact. That way Dumbledore can fight Grindelwald (which apparently takes a while since they don't duel until 1945). Presumably, there will also be more fantastic beasts in the third movie. And, at some point, Nagini is set to become one of them.
Who Is Directing Fantastic Beasts 3?
David Yates appears to be continuing with the franchise, potentially to the end. He started in J.K. Rowling's magical world with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and continued with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and both Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movies. He returned to direct the first two Potter prequel movies in the Fantastic Beasts series, and it looks like he's at least signed up for the third movie. Two years ago, longtime producer David Heyman told CinemaBlend he'd like to see David Yates continue to direct all five films. But it sounded like it was partly up to Yates himself, and also dependent on how things played out. So, there's still a glimmer of hope for my dream that Oscar winner Alfonso Cuarón will return to the Harry Potter universe to direct one of the final Fantastic Beasts movies. It's just not gonna be this one.
Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne)
The Fantastic Beasts series centers around Newt Scamander, and that is likely to continue. Newt was trying to stay neutral but he ended the second movie by telling his brother Theseus that he had firmly chosen his side -- with him and Auror Tina, against Grindelwald. Newt seems to be Albus Dumbledore's #1 agent / puppet. In typical Dumbledore fashion, he only doles out little bits of information at a time. The movie ended with Newt presenting Dumbledore with the blood vial a Niffler stole from Grindelwald. So, now they can consider how to destroy it and let Dumbledore fight Grindelwald. Newt has a long history in the Harry Potter world that you can catch up on before the third movie arrives.
Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp)
Crimes of Grindelwald started with Johnny Depp's character escaping prison custody and ended with him holding a rally for his followers. He preached for an end to the statute of secrecy protecting muggles from the truth about wizards. He used images of World War II to justify his plans for domination, and had his followers go spread the world. His rally was also attended by Aurors, but he escaped them once again. First, he created a line with blue flame, with his supporters on one side and enemies on the other. Queenie and Credence joined Grindelwald and left with him to his castle in Nurmengard in Austria. That's where Grindelwald dropped the shocker on Credence that he was actually Albus Dumbledore's long-lost brother, Aurelius. Do we believe that? You have to consider the source. Grindelwald appears to want to use Credence to defeat Dumbledore, since he can't face his old more-than-friends buddy himself.
Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law)
Albus Dumbledore made his debut in the second movie and had a relatively small role. That role is expected to get bigger as we approach the big duel between Dumbledore and his former great love, Grindelwald. The second movie ended with Dumbledore saying "maybe" when Newt asked if the blood pact with Grindelwald could be broken. But, it must be broken at some point in the next couple of movies.
In a deleted scene from Crimes of Grindelwald, Newt openly asked Dumbledore why he sent him to New York for the events of the first movie. Dumbledore answered that he knew Grindelwald would try to catch Credence. Grindelwald had had a vision years ago that an Obscurial killed the man he fears above all others, presumably Dumbledore. So, Dumbledore wanted to "deprive Grindelwald of his weapon," not by killing Credence, but by saving him. Unfortunately, that did not work. And now we have the news, according to Grindelwald, that Credence is actually the younger brother of Albus and Aberforth. Is it true? If so, does Dumbledore know? It would be classic Dumbledore to have information that he chose not to share with others, so we'll have to see.
Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller)
A fragment of Credence's Obscurus survived Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, as a sign that his story was not done. In the second film, he teamed up with Nagini in a search for his own history. Who was he? Through Leta Lestrange, he learned that he was (probably? definitely?) the baby who was swapped at the last moment before a shipwreck took the life of her real half-brother. Later, Grindelwald told Credence he was actually Aurelius Dumbledore. Grindelwald could've been lying, or just wrong, but there was a phoenix that emerged, which is said to be a tie to the Dumbledore family. So did Percival Dumbledore have a child while in prison, the half-brother of Albus, Aberforth, and Ariana? Ariana was said to likely be an Obscurial like Credence. The second film ended with Credence casting a very powerful spell with his wand while at the Grindelwald HQ in Nurmengard. Maybe the "answers" J.K. Rowling promised will be connected to Credence.
Queenie Goldstein (Alison Sudol)
Many fans left Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald frustrated with Queenie for deciding to side with Grindelwald. But sweet Queenie started the movie by enchanting Jacob to do what she wanted, to come with her to Europe so they could get married and avoid the muggle / wizard marriage ban in the U.S. So, she's already no stranger to controlling muggles, even if it's coming from good intentions. When Newt lifted the enchantment, Jacob was understandably upset. Queenie left to find her sister in Paris and, while there, she became distraught and was comforted by Grindelwald's followers. He made an argument that she'd be joining him for love, to change the laws that keep wizards separate from muggles.
Actress Alison Sudol defended Queenie's choice by saying her character wasn't turning evil, she was trying to find someone who would give her an option, a cause she could believe in to create a better world. She doesn't know what's actually going to happen, even if Harry Potter fans do. The end of the film showed her advising Grindelwald to be gentle with Credence, since she could read the young Obscurial's mind and knew he wasn't sure he had picked the right team.
Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler)
Jacob is the lone muggle amid wizards in this series, which puts him in a dangerous position. They tried to erase his memory after the first movie, but he retained a vague memory of his beloved Queenie. In the second movie, he was fully part of the team in Paris and then at Hogwarts in the end. Obviously, he has no magic powers to help in the fight, so it's not clear what his role will be from here -- other than trying to help Tina bring her sister Queenie back from the dark side. Actor Dan Fogler revealed that, in his last scene there at Hogwarts, you can see Jacob looking in another direction from the other characters. (See photo above.) Fogler said, in that moment, Jacob was hoping that Queenie would have a change of heart and come back; if she did, he would be able to forgive her, but we'll have to wait to see what the next film holds for those two.
Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston)
Tina is now a MACUSA Auror, and she spent Crimes of Grindelwald looking for Credence. She also got caught up in a silly love triangle when she believed an inaccurate news report saying Newt was engaged to Leta Lestrange, meaning that we had to deal with that awkwardness between Newt and Tina before it was cleared up. Tina is fully part of the team trying to stop Grindelwald, but her sister Queenie is now on Team Grindelwald, which makes things especially difficult. Never mind whether Tina and Newt or Queenie and Jacob will end up together, how are the sisters going to reunite when they are on opposite sides of this wizard war?
Nagini (Claudia Kim)
Harry Potter fans are very familiar with the character of Nagini as villain Voldemort's sidekick Horcrux snake. It was a shock, then, to learn that Nagini was actually a woman -- a seemingly kind, gentle one -- when she was younger. Nagini is a Maledictus, a girl with a blood curse that will eventually turn her into a beast. This means that at some point we're probably going to see how Nagini turns, permanently, into a snake. Since the series reportedly ends in 1945, will we see how she connects with Voldemort or not quite? And how does she turn to the dark side? Nagini's whole role in Crimes of Grindelwald was as Credence's supportive sidekick -- apparently that's her lot in life. They escaped the circus and then went searching for his history together.
Credence went with Grindelwald because Grindelwald promised him answers on who he really is. Nagini was shown at Hogwarts with Newt, Tina, Jacob, Theseus, Dumbledore, and others fighting against Grindelwald. There's a lot of story that needs to be told to explain how Nagini goes from there to Voldemort's slave snake. Hopefully, they don't sideline Nagini in the next film, since she deserves to do more than just show up and comfort Credence.
Leta Lestrange (Zoe Kravitz)
Apparently there's some confusion about whether Leta Lestrange died in the blue flames toward the end of Crimes of Grindelwald or not. Zoe Kravitz was on co-star Dan Fogler's 4d Xperience podcast (via Hypable) and said it was "kind of a last minute change that she got toasted." Fogler, who plays Jacob, said they have to bring her back somehow. She said it would be cool if they did, but she had no idea what they were going to do. Leta is / was engaged to Newt's brother Theseus, but she has a history with Newt, and seemed to be his first love. She shared her tragic backstory in the second Fantastic Beasts film, including her confession that she switched her brother Corvus Lestrange with another baby during a ship voyage; that other baby was supposedly Credence. Corvus died in the shipwreck, while the other baby survived, and Leta was tortured by guilt. Will she be back in the third film, or is her part in this story complete?
Theseus Scamander (Callum Turner)
Newt's older brother was introduced in the second movie. He's a British Auror, and engaged to Leta Lestrange. But if Leta did die, I guess that engagement is pretty much over. Theseus seemed frustrated with Newt for initially not wanting to take a side in the fight against Grindelwald, with Newt wanting to be neutral. The brothers embraced after the loss of Leta and the devastation in Paris, and Newt told his brother he had chosen his side. It's not clear what role Theseus might have in the third movie, but he's an Auror so he'll be wanting to continue the fight against Grindelwald and his followers.
Nicolas Flamel (Brontis Jodorowsky)
Pretty-much-immortal alchemist Nicolas Flamel had a small role in the Paris-set second movie. His name is familiar to Harry Potter fans from The Sorcerer's Stone. He spent time with Jacob in Crimes of Grindelwald, and joined the fight against Grindelwald's curse on the city toward the end. Flamel didn't have too much of a role in the second movie, but he's a friend of Dumbledore's. And, because he's an alchemist, could he be the one who figures out how to break the blood pact between Dumbledore and Grindelwald? We'll have to wait and see.
Eulalie (Lally) Hicks (Jessica Williams)
Lally Hicks, a professor at Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the U.S., had a blink-and-you-missed-her role in Crimes of Grindelwald. Jessica Williams' character was shown briefly when Nicolas Flamel was flipping through a book after seeing a vision of death and destruction. She told him he had to go and try to help stop it. Before that movie opened, J.K. Rowling had teased on Twitter that "You only see a HINT of Lally in Fantastic Beasts 2. Her true glory is revealed in FB3." We know Lally, an American professor, will have a pretty big role in Fantastic Beasts 3. Doing what? And does that mean we go back to the U.S., to visit the Massachusetts-set Ilvermorny, or will she be joining the team in Brazil or Hogwarts, or wherever else we go? There are no hints on that right now, but it should be fun to find out.
What Happens After Fantastic Beasts 3?
J.K. Rowling surprised fans when she revealed that she was actually planning to write five movies for the Fantastic Beasts series. Producer David Heyman later explained that she began by expecting three films but then, as she dug deeper and started writing the first script, she realized there was a lot more story to tell and didn't think she could fit it all in three movies.
The five-film Fantastic Beasts series is expected to span from 1926 to 1945, with the final movie including the big duel between Grindelwald and Dumbledore. The second movie was set in 1927 but, as shown above, Rowling hinted at the third movie being set at least in part in the 1930s. There has been no confirmation about the third movie's timeline. Will it lead up to the start of World War II, or would that real-world war be left to play out opposite the magical one in the fourth and fifth movies? Time will tell. (Get it? Time? #classic)
The Fantastic Beasts franchise is currently taking a moment to step back and reassess plans for the third movie after the significant drop in box office (and fan / critic reactions) after the second movie. Since J.K. Rowling is said to be reworking her script a bit, it's not clear how much could change. As of now, Fantastic Beasts 3 is set to start production in late fall 2019 for a release date most likely to be in 2021, but we're on standby for official updates. In the meantime, keep up with what's actually opening on the big screen this year with our handy 2019 movie schedule.