It seems that we may learn a little more about Newt Scamander’s sordid past in “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”.
A new photo, revealed by Entertainment Weekly, shows Newt as a young Hogwarts student, proud in his Hufflepuff colors, performing some kind of spell while Jude Law’s Dumbledore watches on earnestly.
This, it can be assumed, is a hint at some of the scenes we’ll get to see when the movie arrives. Presumably, this flashback to Newt’s past will do something to shed light on the reason why he was expelled from Hogwarts in the first place.
I’m not sure that this is a good idea. As much as I enjoy Newt as a character – particularly thanks to Eddie Redmayne’s performance – I don’t really want too much of his backstory revealed.
There’s a benefit to a vague backstory, and I worry that making everything clear now could end up damaging Newt’s character arc.
What Happens in Hogwarts Stays in Hogwarts
We don’t have a lot of details about why Newt Scamander was originally expelled from the world’s finest school of Witchcraft and Wizardry (sorry, Ilvermorny fans!).
All the first “Fantastic Beasts” movie tells us is that Newt was in love with Leta LeStrange, and that she did something very naughty which he ended up taking the blame for.
It’s a pretty solid piece of backstory. Newt is shown throughout the film as kind, caring, and more than a little gullible. He’s a Hufflepuff through and through, and that means that he’s going to make some poor life decisions when it comes to people he cares about.
Especially if they’re from the Evil House (sorry, Slytherins!).
It makes sense that part two of this story will fill in some of the blanks, but it’d be better if things didn’t get too clear. We don’t need to know every single detail of what went wrong, because part of the fun of the next few movies is to see this mystery unfold slowly over time.
Think of the backstory to Snape, another lovesick Hogwarts student whose time at school makes a big impact on the “Harry Potter” franchise.
We learn tiny snippets of Snape’s story over the course of seven books. Snape’s rivalry with James Potter; his affection for Lily; his family life and his alter-ego as the Half-Blood Prince.
It’s only right at the end that all falls into place, and we see just how much Snape cares for Harry in spite of his belligerent demeanor.
With five “Fantastic Beasts” movies on the slate, I’d rather that Newt’s past be similarly revealed little by little. Otherwise, there’s no mystery. No speculation. The story is simply stated, exposition is delivered, and the plot moves on.
The Slow Reveal
I get the feeling that JK Rowling has some tricks up her sleeve in store for Newt’s past. I’m just hoping that they’re not all pulled in a single movie.
This feels especially important considering the pervasive rumor that Newt will be less and less important as the series moves on. Rowling is expected to shift the focus onto Dumbledore instead, which is fine and all, but I want to see more Newt.
I don’t want this character’s adventures to come to an end simply because Rowling didn’t properly pace the reveal of his origin story. It’s better to see Newt, Jacob, and their friends carry this series to its conclusion, because they’re genuinely enjoyable characters who deserve the spotlight a lot more than anyone who’s being played by Johnny Depp.
So while I’m excited to see young Newt messing around at Hogwarts, I really hope we don’t see too much of this.
There’s plenty of stories to tell about a more grown-up Newt that I’d much rather see first.