NOTE: SPOILERS for Fantastic Beats and Where to Find Them follow!
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is now in theaters, and as fans process their first adventurous experience with Newt Scamander and his collection of mystical beasts, we look ahead to where this five-part film series from Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling and director David Yates is headed. Here's Where the Fantastic Beasts Storyline Goes From Here.
A Tale of Two Wizards
One of the big revelations of Fantastic Beasts is that it is a small tale set within a larger piece of Harry Potter history: Grindlewald's Rebellion, or the Global Wizarding War.
Gellert Grindlewald (Johnny Depp) is a famous dark wizard who was once good friends (maybe even lovers) with Albus Dumbledore. The two envisioned a world where wizards didn't have to live in secret from muggles, but rather ruled over them benevolently, using magic to benefit all. Dumbledore and Grindlewald had a tragic falling out, leaving the latter to go forward solo with his planned revolution.
The Global Wizarding War of WWII
Fantastic Beasts chronicles Grindlewald at the beginning of his rebellion in 1926; Rowling has previously revealed that the movie sagas five films will span nineteen years, putting the fifth and final film in 1945, the final year of WWII.
In Harry Potter canon, 1945 is the same year that Dumbledore defeated Grindlewald in their legendary duel - so it seems pretty obvious that Fantastic Beasts is a backdoor entry into telling the story of the Global Wizarding War. Sequels will likely follow a path through the darkening times in Europe (with the rise of fascism mirroring the dark elements rising in the Wizarding World) - leading to the carnage of WWII, which doubles as the battle against Grindlewald and his forces.
The WWII destination is especially interesting, as the Fantastic Beasts series seems to be mixing the history of the Wizarding World with real-world historical events. With Hitler and The Nazis having made a serious investment in The Occult and mysticism during the war, it'll be interesting to see how Rowling fits in the story of Grindlewald's Rebellion into that frame.
Newt's Heroic Tale
On paper, Newt Scamander's story isn't all that exciting: he became a Magizoologist, published Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, in 1927 (a year after the events of the film), eventually married Porpentina, had a family, and worked for the ministry of magic. Of course, there is a big hole in his biography: a twenty-year gap from 1927 to 1947 where this film series may just fit in.
Fantastic Beasts proved that there is much more to Mr. Scamander than meets the eye. Aside from being sensitive, and compassionate - he turned out to be surprisingly brave, taking on Percival Graves / Gelelrt Grindlewald head-on. Between that act of heroism and Albus Dumbledore's endorsement, it won't be surprising if the film series reveals that there's a bigger legend to the Wizard World's most famous Magizoologist than most know.
Sequels will likely show Newt, Porpentina and Co. fighting back against the dark forces of the Wizarding World, and protecting innocent creatures caught in the middle of a growing conflict. By the end, we expect that Mr. Scamander will have a big hand in not only helping to win the Global Wizarding War, but saving the muggle world from Hitler and the Axis threat.
All in all, it sounds like Harry Potter fans are in for a great ride with Fantastic Beasts, don't you think?
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be in theaters November 18th. It is 133 minutes long and is Rated PG-13 for some fantasy action violence.