Warner Bros.’ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them performed well at the box office, so it’s no surprise the studio is already busy looking ahead to the sequel. With filming for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2 underway, details about the follow-up have begun to surface.
From casting to new plot specifics, here’s what we’ve recently learned about the next Fantastic Beasts film, including the first trailer (page 8).
1. J.K. Rowling wrote the script
As Fantastic Beasts director David Yates confirmed in summer 2016, J.K. Rowling completed the script for the sequel. “We’ve done the first one, she’s written the second one, she’s got ideas for the third one,” Yates told GSNews. “No one quite has ownership of them quite yet, in terms of having a relationship with the material, other than the relationship they’ll have with the movie when it comes out.”
The screenplay was finished well ahead of the release of the first Fantastic Beasts, but its early completion doesn’t come as a complete surprise, given Warner Bros.’ extensive plans for the future of the franchise.
2. Johnny Depp will play the new big bad
As revealed in 2016, Johnny Depp is set to star in the Fantastic Beasts sequel. Though initial reports didn’t reveal details about his character, Yates has since confirmed that Depp will be playing the iconic dark wizard, Gellert Grindelwald.
As fans of the book will remember, Grindelwald was a teenage friend of Albus Dumbledore’s, who took off with the Elder Wand after the accidental death of Dumbledore’s sister. According to Harry Potter mythology, Grindelwald then went on a reign of terror during the 1920s — the same period of time when Fantastic Beasts takes place. Grindelwald’s eventually captured and later murdered by Voldemort in prison, where the latter tortures him to find out the location of the Elder Wand.
In the upcoming follow-up flick, Depp will portray the big bad during the height of his power. As Yates told The Leaky Cauldron of the casting:
The whole principal of casting the movie was go with the best actor. Go for the most inspired, interesting, right fit for that character. And as we approached Grindelwald we thought, ‘who’s going to take this in an interesting direction?’ In this business, it’s a weird old business. You’re brilliant one week, people are saying odd things the next, you go up and down. But no one takes away your pure talent.
Johnny Depp is a real artist. He’s created several characters who have really resonated in our popular culture. He’s a really brilliant, brilliant actor. We were excited about seeing what he would do with this guy, the character. He’s fearless; he’s imaginative; he’s ambitious. We thought he would do something fun and special. So we went for him, purely on that selfish basis. We don’t care if he’s famous or not famous. We just know he’s interesting.
3. It will return to Europe
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them follows Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scamander to New York, where the divide between wizards and witches, and ordinary citizens is even deeper than it is overseas. But it seems the sequel will bring the story back to Europe. Fantastic Beasts 2 is set to take place in Paris — and according to Yates, future installments will likely hold on to that European setting.
“We do go back to the U.K. in the second film as well — it’s U.K. and Paris,” Yates told Collider. “I’m not sure where Jo is setting the rest of the movies, but they’ll be European-centric. I think it will be difficult to ignore America, but the next one is predominately Europe.”
4. It may feature a pivotal moment in Newt’s wizarding journey
Newt Scamander was still pretty early on in his magical journey in Fantastic Beasts, but it looks the upcoming sequel may feature an important turning point in his career: the publication of his guide to magical creatures — the same one that, as Potter fans know, goes on to become a required text for every young witch and wizard at Hogwarts.
Fans are getting an early glimpse of the invitation for Newt’s book launch (which takes place in 1927, a year after the events of the first film) via a recently released set image. As seen in the image, the launch is reportedly taking place at Flourish & Botts, the famed bookstore on Diagon Alley.
5. It will bring back Dumbledore
Per ScreenRant, a (slightly) younger version of Albus Dumbledore will appear in Fantastic Beasts 2. Jude Law will be playing the character. According to Yates, the young Dumbledore will have several important exchanges with Redmayne’s Newt, who is also expected to return in the sequel.
“In the second movie Dumbledore comes back. He’s got a couple of good scenes with Newt,” the director told ScreenRant. “We’re discussing who would play Dumbledore, any suggestions would be good. [Laughs]”
Dumbledore was played by two different actors in the Harry Potter movies: Richard Harris in the first two films and then Michael Gambon, who took over the role after Harris’s death in 2002.
6. There will be fewer magical beasts
The escape of Newt’s magical beasts will be a huge part of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but the creatures won’t play as big of a role moving forward. Instead, Rowling has said that the sequel will shift focus to exploring the first time that a dark wizard came to power.
Yates reiterated this shift recently, telling The Leaky Cauldron, “Currently the beasts feature slightly less in the second film, and Grindelwald takes more of a foreground. Currently. But we love the beasts so much. There’s an amazing beast in the second movie — a Chinese beast, actually — that is featured. We’re exploring how we can get a couple more beasts into the second film, with Jo.”
7. It’ll be the second of a five-film franchise
As Rowling confirmed previously, Warner Bros. is currently planning a total of five films for the Fantastic Beasts franchise.
The first sequel, Fantastic Beasts 2, will premiere in theaters on November 16, 2018.
The first trailer is here
On March 13, 2018, the first teaser trailer for the film was released. In it, we once again get to see the Hogwarts castle, as well as a look at Law and Depp in their respective roles.
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