The first clue came with the trailer released at the end of September. Seraphina Picquery, President of the Magical Congress of the United States of America, mentioned that similar attacks perpetrated by Grindelwald had been seen across Europe. It took little time for Harry Potter fans to remember that in his youth, Albus Dumbledore’s partner was Gellert Grindelwald, who later took part in the Deathly Hallows search – especially regarding the Elder Wand. Speculation arose from that one sentence – and theories about seeing the famous duel between Dumbledore and Grindelwald in an upcoming movie spread like wildfire through the internet.
The confirmation that Percival Graves – played by Collin Farrell – is the one interested in the Hallows came just at the beginning of October, when Warner Brothers decided to release nine character posters. Auror Graves’ poster was the most talked about, since it revealed a Deathly Hallows necklace – just like the one worn by Xenophilus Lovegood (and the thousands that Warner Brothers has sold in the past years). The pendant, hovering at his side in the poster, is a clear indication that this character will be involved in the story that later will develop into what all we know.
Also, there might be another hint in the trailer that could be related to this. Farrell’s character says “I refuse to bow down any longer?”, in what seems to be a conversation about the war between wizards and No-Majs (muggles in the United States of America). Graves is revealing that he wants to break down the barriers between the magical and No-Maj worlds, but not in a good way – the same goals that Gellert Grindelwald had.
And as if this were not enough, the full synopsis revealed by Warner Bros contained the following: “And the powerful, dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, after wreaking havoc in Europe, has slipped away…and is now nowhere to be found.”
But it seems that Warner Bros (and even J.K. Rowling) doesn’t want us to speculate and base our emotions on rumors. At the Global Fan Event in which the cast, director David Yates and even Rowling took part, we were presented with a new trailer and featurette (mini interviews with cast and Rowling) where it was confirmed: Grindelwald will have an important part in this movie. What we thought would be a three-part movie – now confirmed as a five-movie saga – looks like it will undoubtedly become the story of what is today known in the Wizarding World as “The First War,” that is, the famous confrontation between Dumbledore and Grindelwald.
The fact that Dumbledore’s antagonist will have a brief appearance in the movies is based on what Rowling states: “You’re learning a part of magical history that’s talked about in the Potter books that you never see. I’m getting a chance to tell that now.” This isn’t the first time that Rowling foreshadows herself: It was J.K. Rowling herself who said that Fantastic Beasts movies are “more preview-y than people realize,” when she was asked at the premiere of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
Based on this, what at first was shaping up to be a movie about finding magical creatures throughout New York City and trapping them in a briefcase (which, to be honest, seemed a little dull) is now turning out to be something else. It seems it will be the beginning – and possibly, the evolution – of Albus Dumbledore’s main story in his youth, which stems from his relationship with fellow wizard Gellert Grindelwald, another great wizard that terrorized Europe in the mid 1900’s.
We will have to wait and see if this saga goes up to the 1940’s and shows us the most famous duel in the big screen. Without a doubt, this is where this new story is heading. That is why “And Where To Find Them” may not refer to the beasts at all, but to the Deathly Hallows. Perhaps the clues that Rowling left for us really aren’t about telling Newt Scamander’s story, or at least, not just about him.