Is the Inclusion of Dumbledore Going to Ruin ‘Fantastic Beasts’ 2?

Matthew Loffhagen
Warner Bros
(Photo: Warner Bros)

Fantastic Beasts 2 has now officially started filming, with a much larger scale than the original movie, as the second movie is to take place in London and Paris instead of the original movie’s New York setting – which is to say nothing of the Hogwarts flashbacks we’ll definitely be getting too.

The official logline for the movie, though, raises some questions about who the main character of the movie will be, and how the established characters from the first movie will even fit within the sequel:

“As he promised he would, Grindelwald has made a dramatic escape and has been gathering more followers to his cause — elevating wizards above all non-magical beings. The only one who might be able to stop him is the wizard he once called his dearest friend, Albus Dumbledore. But Dumbledore will need help from the wizard who had thwarted Grindelwald once before, his former student Newt Scamander. The adventure reunites Newt with Tina (Katherine Waterston), Queenie (Alison Sudol) and Jacob (Dan Fogler), but his mission will also test their loyalties as they face new perils in an increasingly dangerous and divided wizarding world.”

Boo.

Yes, boo. It sounds as if the Fantastic Beasts sequel is going in the complete wrong direction.

The main criticism of the original Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was that, for all of the promise of the movie’s title and the footage that made it into trailers, there really aren’t a lot of fantastic beasts to be found.

The answer of “where to find them” is pretty much, “in the case”. A few get out and cause mischief, but aside from a few scenes of Eddie Redmayne wrestling with CGI puppets, the premise of the movie provides a bait-and-switch as moviegoers instead watch (spoiler alert) the evil Grindelwald trying to find a dangerous untrained wizard for the majority of the runtime – something that, by the way, he’s pretty terrible at doing.

This leads to an incredibly tonally confused movie – on the one hand, Newt Scamander and his plucky sidekicks are running around, having wacky adventures, while simultaneously, the kid from We Need to Talk About Kevin is taking out the psychological trauma of years of parental abuse out on people who mock him, by murdering them in a genuinely disturbing fashion.

It’s one scene of Eddie Redmayne doing a magic rhino mating dance, followed by Ezra Miller throwing people around like a rag doll as he morphs into a big evil cloud of anger. It’s such a weird juxtaposition.

The next movie, for whatever reason, is going to focus more on Dumbledore fighting Grindelwald than on the magical creatures that that series is named after. It’s hard to get too excited about what appears to be yet another enormous battle of good versus evil, Gryffindor versus Slytherin (or an analogous evil), in a dark and gritty movie that’s devoid of any wonder and joy.

We already had the Harry Potter series, which got progressively darker with each new instalment. We don’t really need Fantastic Beasts to go the same way.

It’s unclear just how much Newt Scamander will feature in future movies, but one thing’s certain – we’ll be seeing more of Dumbledore, played by Jude Law, instead.

Would it be so wrong for us to get another upbeat, colorful, fun movie set in JK Rowling’s Wizarding World? Does everything always have to be about some dark evil trying to enslave the world?

There’s a great premise for a series of movies based on Newt Scamander’s various travels around the world as he researches the titular Fantastic Beasts. It’s a real shame that, instead of this, we’ll be getting Newt as a side character in the ongoing war between a pale dark wizard and a progressive, Muggle-loving hero.

Hufflepuffs deserve more movie love, and rehashing the Harry Potter movies does a disservice to what should be a rich, varied world filled with unique stories and characters.

 

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