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Now that more people have hopefully seen it, let’s talk about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them! This one isn’t spoiler-free, so if you haven’t got round to watching it yet, go do that! Or read our spoiler-free review over here.
First order of business: the most compelling duo of the film. Undoubtedly Colin Farrell and Ezra Miller. J.K. Rowling has never shied away from themes of child abuse, but with the double whammy of his adoptive mother’s physical abuse and Percival Graves’ seedy manipulation, Credence is pretty much the most tragic figure in the Potter universe.
The Obscurial is a really fascinating invention to allegorise the struggle of kids trying to hide their magic. The whole thing resonated heavily as a ‘being in the closet’ metaphor, which is powerful and intriguing and totally not the positive representation we were looking for. Grindelwald and Dumbledore don't exactly present a healthy relationship for LGBT youths to aspire to or feel respected by, even if they eventually make it from subtext to actual text, and the fact that poor Credence gets used and abused and (almost) murdered for the crime of existing doesn’t exactly send out a positive message either.
Anyway, we haven’t seen the last of Credence - the eagle-eyed amongst you surely didn’t miss that little wisp of Obscurial escaping after that final showdown, not to mention producer David Heyman has confirmed to Cinema Blend that Credence as well as Grindelwald being on track to become the leading figures in the second movie. "We actually had a scene, which we cut,” he revealed, “which was Credence going to a boat, to get on a boat somewhere else. But we cut that, because we didn't want to have it be such an, 'Ahhh, here we go.’"
I’ve been doing my best to avoid discussing Johnny Depp’s cameo, but I guess it’s pretty important. Let’s just make it clear right now that I think it’s totally inappropriate for him to be in the film at all after what he allegedly did to Amber Heard, let alone him being the key to the whole franchise. Not only is he suspected domestic issues in personal life, but it’s revealed that the abusive character of Graves has been Grindelwald all along. Classy. Sadly, his reveal also means "There's no plans to bring Colin [Farrell] back for the sequel," according to Heyman.
Okay, rant over, lets think a little bit about how the whole Grindelwald thing actually fits in. At this point, Dumbledore’s a professor at Hogwarts but not Headmaster just yet. Ariana’s already dead and Grindelwald is starting to wreak havoc in America as well as Europe. Producer Heyman has also confirmed that Dumbledore himself will be making an appearance in future films - inevitably we will the epic duel where he wins the Elder Wand off Grindelwald, right?! And what does “Will we die, just a little?” mean anyway? Something to do with immortality? Gaining possession of all the Hallows?
Another mystery left to be solved in future films is that of Leta Lestrange, aka that photo of Zoe Kravitz that Newt was mooning over. Obviously an ancestor of the infamous pureblood family that Bellatrix married into all those years later. This isn’t really relevant to figuring all this out, but I just want to remind you all that Bellatrix officially did the nasty with snake-face Voldemort and had a baby. "The Cursed Child" is wilder than any of the fantastic beasts in this film, that’s for sure. Anyway, we’re sure to get more backstory about Newt and Leta’s seemingly rocky relationship, but rest assured, Newt definitely marries Tina in the end.
That’s another thing that’s odd about this whole franchise - we know where it’s all going to end up. It’s all history to us. What’s sure to be interesting, though, is the engagement with real world history. We got some Salem Witch Trials stuff, and even some mentions of the First World War in this film, but how are they going to tackle World War II? Dumbledore finally beats Grindelwald in 1945, and are Grindelwald’s philosophies are disturbingly Nazi? Is Rowling going to write him as having an active part in the war? And if so, does anyone trust her to handle that with the sensitivity it deserves? Honestly, after the whole “Ilvermorny ignoring Native Americans” and “1920s New York featuring 99% white people” fiascos, I’m going to go with no!