5 Big Mysteries in ‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’

Evan Killham
Movies Harry Potter
Movies Harry Potter
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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is the latest entry in the unstoppable Wizarding World franchise that started with Harry Potter. The latest opens November 13 and picks up with Gellert Grindelwald continuing his plans for world domination.

So far, the trailers have only raised more questions than they’ve answered, which admittedly is what trailers are for. Here are some of our most burning questions about Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

How does Grindelwald breakout?

Fantastic Beasts The Crimes of Gridelwald Gellert Grindelwald Johnny Depp

At the end of the last movie, we saw the nefarious Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) taken into the custody of the Magical Congress of the United States. But obviously he’s going to escape, or this movie will be pretty short.

The brief shots we’ve seen have an elderly-looking Grindelwald under the watch of two officers whose wands are trained on him, presumably in case he tries anything. But since he’s looking much older in these shots than the rest of the movie, it’s possible that his guards are, in fact, both casting a spell that keeps him under control. And in this case, that apparently means “too old to do anything.”

The first Potter film included spells that required the caster maintain line of sight with the target, so Grindelwald’s escape could hinge on distracting one or both of the guards long enough for him to overpower them. But we also know the dark wizard has amassed some followers during his time in the States, so we aren’t ruling out some outside intervention, either. No matter how he gets away, it’s surely going to be a huge action sequence.

What’s the deal with Nagini?

Nagini Crimes of Grindelwald

Voldemort’s beloved snake makes an appearance in a Crimes of Grindelwald trailer. And even more confusingly, she also shows up as a beautiful woman.

Fan speculation has been all over this reveal, since it’s hard to say how she fits into the plot. Some theories suspect that the woman is Nagini’s true form, and she’s an animagus like Sirius Black in the earlier movies. But we’ve already seen that she can change between human and snake forms, so maybe that’s all that’s happening.

No matter the truth behind Nagini’s nature, we don’t expect this to be a Nagini/Tom Riddle origin story. Since the story takes place in 1927, and the future Voldemort is less than a year old at that point, he won’t be in much shape to do anything.

What happens with Dumbledore and Grindelwald?

Wizarding World fans already know a few things about the brewing conflict between Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald. By the time of the Harry Potter books, the wizarding world considers their showdown greatest duel in history.

But writer J.K. Rowling has provided some insight to their past and relationship, although none of this information has appeared in the books or the movies. But a shot in the trailer of Dumbledore seeing a younger Grindelwald in the Mirror of Erised suggests that Fantastic Beasts 2 will finally make their complicated backstory canon.

What exactly is Dumbledore’s plan?

Fantastic Beasts The Crimes of Gridelwald Gellert Grindelwald Albus Dumbledore Jude Law

While we’re on the subject of Dumbledore, we’re wondering what he’s planning here.

The Harry Potter books show he’s a shrewd tactician who isn’t afraid to withhold crucial information from his agents (even if they’re children). But considering everyone knows that Grindelwald is a criminal, it isn’t clear why Dumbledore can’t openly take him on, as he says in the trailer.

It could be jurisdictional, since we’re pretty sure the US Congress would want to handle the prestigious arrest themselves. But once he busts out and starts gathering a world-domination army, it kinda seems like the most important thing is to get him back into custody.

Even more puzzling is why Dumbledore would employ Newt Scamander as an agent. Sure, it’s the last thing anyone would expect. But there has to be more to it than that, right?

How and why is Jacob Kowalski back?

We’re as happy as anyone to see Newt’s non-magical sidekick back in action in the sequel. But we aren’t sure how it’s happening. The American Magical Congress wiped his memory to keep their world a secret. But that’s getting a reset in the sequel, and Jacob is set to leave his Fantastic Beasts-inspired bakery to help Newt once again.

It’s good he’s coming back, and it makes sense: Newt’s on a secret mission from Dumbledore, and a No-Maj/Muggle will make good backup since they’re not even supposed to know that wizards exist. But there is still the matter of that memory charm.

Since the only canonical cure for an obliviation is torture, we doubt that’s how Jacob is getting his memory back. It’s only the second movie in the series, after all, and they typically wait at least until the third to get super dark.

This could be where Nicolas Flamel comes in. The alchemist creator of the Philosopher’s Stone has received some name drops before, but he’s appearing in the incredibly old flesh for Crimes. It’s possible he’d be a good source of forgotten knowledge — like, say, how to get a person’s memories back without hurting them.

We’ll have answers to all of these mysteries and more when Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald opens November 13.

Evan Killham
Evan is a high-powered supernerd who is sprinkled across the internet like salt. His contributions have appeared at Screen Rant, Cult of Mac, and GamesBeat. When he isn't writing, he plans projects he won't have time to make and cultivates an affinity for terrible horror films.
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