On Tuesday, Wizarding World fans across the globe celebrated as the long-anticipated first trailer for Fantastic Beasts 2 finally apparated online. And while the sight of wizards apparating onto Hogwarts grounds quickly Accio’d fans’ attention, it was the desire to seek out and share all possible clues about the upcoming plot that led to an explosion of discussion.
As five is the magical number for the Fantastic Beasts series, let’s take a deeper look at five hints about what J.K. Rowling and The Crimes of Grindelwald filmmakers have instore for fandom come November.
Will the Elder Wand Test the Allegiance between Newt and Dumbledore?
One thing I found most curious in the pre-release publicity yesterday, was a Pottermore note on the Elder Wand in the new Wizarding World logo. “Albus Dumbledore secured the Elder Wand, also known as the ‘Deathstick’, during his duel against Gellert Grindelwald in 1945.”
Not only does the new logo emphasize that the Elder Wand is the linchpin uniting the two series, but pay close attention to one curious word in that description: secured. Instead of saying Dumbledore “won” the wand off Grindelwald, he secured it. Which indicates that the ownership may have been in question long before the final duel took place.
Three weeks before the trailer’s release, Rowling Tweeted: “The secret of the elder wand is that it’s more sentient than any other. It can identify the caster of any spell that touches it and keeps tally of which wizard has beaten which, giving its allegiance to the one it judges the victor. Physical possession is irrelevant.”
Throughout Fantastic Beasts, will we see the Elder Wand keeping tabs of various powerful claimants and struggling to determine the victor? Whoever holds the wand now, it seems the allegiance of this symbol of death and power may well be in question as the story arc progresses.
In the trailer, the Minister accuses Dumbledore of directing Newt. Dumbledore tosses back an insightful comeback: “Well, if you ever had the pleasure to teach him, you’d know Newt is not a great follower of orders.” With these words, we see Dumbledore and Newt on opposing ends of St. Paul’s rooftop in London, with Dumbledore’s satisfied smile hinting at manipulation…or delight in being bested. Dumbledore and Newt are being paired up as friendly antagonists.
Finally, if you look at the poster of Dumbledore and Newt released along with the trailer, notice that both men are standing back to back right where the Elder Wand belongs. I believe that a large chunk of this series revolves around the Elder Wand and who controls its power, with that equation perhaps shifting with each film. Perhaps not only is the Elder Wand questioning who’s earned its own loyalty, but these two men are as well. And there may well be a female claimant among them.
Are Tina and Queenie at Cross Purposes?
We briefly catch a glimpse of Tina, possibly in her role as an Auror, stalking an unseen quarry. But, as pointed out by Suvi Holm of Finland, Tina may be the one stalked. Did you, like Suvi, catch the leg movement of the statue she’s hiding behind? A statue coming to life might be a cross-fandom nod to Doctor Who’s haunting and beloved “Blink,” where statues stealthily creep toward the unsuspecting when they blink to send the unwary to a prior time while devouring their abandoned present energy.
Queenie also seems to be acting clandestinely. Wal Does of France, a commenter on my BeastChaser YouTube forum, has pointed out that “…in the trailer released by IMAX, Queenie is in the streets of Paris, and she looks confused. She doesn’t know what to do. A man’s voice says at this exact moment that Newt will have to ‘pick a side.’…It seems that Queenie will have a bigger role and a big decision because the camera turns around her, from one side to another — a camera move which clearly might suggest that she may have to choose her own side in a wizarding world more divided.”
One thing I’m wondering, considering the juxtaposition of the two sisters on the lookout for someone else – are they hiding from each other? It is possible that Queenie is acting upon insight from her Legilimency ability that puts her at cross-purposes with her own sister? Or that Tina must be careful to keep a distance from Queenie so that her sister cannot read her thoughts?
Is Grindelwald Manipulating Prophecy to Gain Supporters?
Sometime after Grindelwald apparently makes his escape from a carriage pulled by Thestrals, he stands on an ancient looking podium, almost like a sundial, facing a crowd. Vinda Rosier flanks his side, holding what Pottermore is calling a prophecy orb, like from the Department of Mysteries. To me, this scene and setting look very much like Grindelwald and his cohort Rosier presenting information to persuade a group of supporters. Perhaps even a secret society charged with protecting whatever knowledge that prophecy contains.
Rosier is a French surname and the actress who plays her is French-English. It is possible that the chateau we see Grindelwald emerging from at the beginning of the first film belongs to the Rosier family, and they have long provided cover for Grindelwald.
Perhaps the orb she holds is related to a French magical prophecy. In Harry Potter, only the subject of a prophecy could touch its orb, but that may not be true in France. Whatever prophecy she holds, I imagine that it somehow relates to her family and is intended by Grindelwald to persuade this roomful of wealthy and influential wizards and witches toward his cause.
Remember, an orb is only a recording of what someone said, something others believe to be a prediction. Most never came true—they were seen as burnt-out bulbs in the Hall of Prophecy. But one could easily be manipulated to present the truth as Grindelwald would have others believe it.
I’m guessing that Rosier’s French lineage is linked to that of Credence’s, and that the prophecy she holds may relate to his powers.
Was Credence’s Lineage Deliberately Hidden Away?
In one of the most curious reveals of the trailer, we see the Obscurus flying from Credence while he remains intact. In fact, the power seems to exit from his upraised palm. It’s possible he has gained even more control over his parasitic infection. An angry Credence is shown breaking apart a cage of magical creatures, apparently as he’s breaking out of the restraints that have bound him for so long.
Credence might be increasing his powers along with knowledge of his heritage. In a scene that appears well hidden underground, a man stares over scattered papers of notes and charts at images and writing covering an old wall. Could someone have previously discovered the trove and scattered the papers in anger?
On closer examination, we see that Credence Barebone is the son of Corvus Lestrange, and apparently Leta’s half-brother (plus a descendant, it appears of both a Gaunt and a Rosier). An explosive sign below Credence’s father’s name may hint that the Obscurus was hereditary… including the ability to control it long enough to pass the power on to offspring.
Credence’s adopted name is also listed, meaning whoever recorded this secret family history was well aware of Credence’s new home. I believe the young boy was sent away because of the powers he possessed, to protect him from those who would use him. Or, to protect others against him.
Tremblay, the name of Credence’s biological mother, is a surname related to a place name in France. Could this mean that Credence has French ancestry on his mother’s side? If so, these underground scenes of secret knowledge of Credence’s family tree may lead to an explosive discovery the Scamander brothers unleash in a graveyard.
Did the Brothers Scamander Just Awaken a Buried Obscurus?
In the ending scene of the trailer, Newt and Theseus team up to cast a spell that seems to break apart the Deathly Hallows. However, that may be purely for dramatic effect. What seems likely to be happening in the film, as spotted by Kelly Loomis of the US, and as evidenced by the storm whipping about the brothers, is that they are looking up at an Obscurus storm. Credence.
But perhaps most curious of all – why did their joined magic require a graveyard to complete? Who’s grave are they standing upon? From fan information released during the filming at Highgate Cemetery, it seems likely that the scene is set in France. Is it related to Nicolas Flamel? Or is there something in Credence’s heritage here that must be dispelled?
The juxtaposition of the brothers’ spell against the Deathly Hallows symbol in the sky is very reminiscent of Voldemort’s Morsmordre. As Voldemort used his Dark Mark to terrorize and show his dominance, could Grindelwald be using the Deathly Hallows to declare the preordination of his New Order?
I believe that Newt and Theseus are releasing power from a very specific grave related to Credence, perhaps his own father’s, to directly confront his Obscurus storm and to combat Grindelwald’s rising claim to world domination.
The Power of Rowling’s Spell
There is so much more that could and is being said about this teaser trailer. And more will be uncovered in the days and weeks to come. Fans are amazed, once again, with how many layers of detail and hidden clues JK Rowling and the Fantastic Beasts filmmakers have woven into such a short trailer. It’s what keep Wizarding World enthusiasts hooked.
While the Fantastic Beasts fandom is not yet as large as the Harry Potter, we’re just getting started. As an analyst of the budding series, I believe Rowling’s decision to release script books along with the films was partially influenced by the need to create this complex web of underlying secrets. Through her storytelling craft, and her minute attention to subtext, she has proven herself once again the enchantress to millions following her carefully-laid trail of clues while trying to avoid the traps of her sly red herrings.