San Diego Comic Con has superheroes galore. Comic book movies and television shows dominate the schedule — but not entirely. Fans looking for a little magic were rewarded with a panel for the upcoming Warner Bros film FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD.

HARRY POTTER at 20: A Personal Reflection

The panel, which took place during Warner Bros larger exposition, featured cast discussions, a new trailer, and a surprise visit from Grindelwald himself. Let’s break down what we learned, shall we?


The release of a new trailer was a definite high point. For those of us not #blessed enough to attend SDCC, Warner Bros released the trailer on YouTube soon after. It was the first full-length trailer for FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD; previously,  we had only seen a teaser.

fantastic beasts: the crimes of grindelwald
Image Courtesy of Warner Bros.

We learned a bit about what we can expect from FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD from the new trailer.

The Gang’s All Here

All the major characters make an appearance in the trailer. Obviously, we have Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scamander, the main character of these new movies and a definite fan favorite. Newt’s awkward but kind persona and his magical case of creatures makes him an ideal choice to fill the Boy-Who-Lived-shaped void in our hearts. We also see several of Newt’s beloved creatures.

Other favorites from FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM pop up, including the Goldstein sisters, Tina (Katherine Waterston) and Queenie (Alison Sudol). We see Dan Fogler’s Jacob Kowalski on another adventure with Newt, hinting that his memory erasure at the end of the first film will be somehow reversed. Another character whose fate seems to be reversed is Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone, who was presumed dead at the end of the first movie but looks pretty lively to me.

fantastic beasts: the crimes of grindelwald
Image Courtesy of Warner Bros.

There are also plenty of new characters popping up in the trailer. Zoe Kravitz’s Leta Lestrange makes an appearance. We don’t know much about Leta, except she is a dark part of Newt’s past. In the trailer, she appears haunted, but maybe not evil? We’ll have to wait and see. Also appearing is (I think) Newt’s brother, Theseus Scamander, a war hero who overshadows Newt.

We also see some characters whose names are familiar, even if the faces are new. Jude Law’s Albus Dumbledore looks fantastic, and I can’t wait to see what Law does with the famous role. We also meet the famous Nicolas Flamel, whose Philosopher’s Stone played a major role in the first Harry Potter movie, though we never met him.

And, of course, Johnny Depp’s Gellert Grindelwald appears. More on him later.

Back to Our Roots

We also see another familiar face in the trailer, though it’s less of a face and more of a facade… that’s right, we’re returning to Hogwarts! The magical school of witchcraft and wizardry seems set to appear in at least flashbacks, as we see Dumbledore teaching a young Newt.

fantastic beasts: the crimes of grindelwald
Image Courtesy of Warner Bros.

We see in the trailer Newt facing the famous Boggart lesson that Harry Potter faced in the PRISONER OF AZKABAN. We learn that Newt most fears being forced to work in an office… which is honestly so on point for this character. Personally, I’m unsure why Dumbledore, the Transfiguration professor, is teaching about Boggarts, which was a Defense Against the Dark Arts lesson in Harry Potter. Maybe this is an indication that DADA didn’t exist before the emergence of dark wizards like Grindelwald and Voldemort? An interesting idea.

Other callbacks to the Harry Potter series pop up. As already mentioned, Nicolas Flamel appears. It’s unclear how big a role Flamel will play, as his appearance was a bit of a surprise. We also — finally — see what Dumbledore sees when he looks in the famed Mirror of Erised. Apparently, Dumbledore sees himself side by side with Grindelwald, his one-time friend (and maybe more…?).

More Mysteries

Of course, a trailer wouldn’t be very good if it gave away everything that’s going to happen. Instead, the trailer for FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD gives us a lot of new mysteries that we’ll have to wait for the movie to unravel.

What happened with Credence? The first FANTASTIC BEASTS movie revealed him to be an obscurial, a magical person who oppresses their magic until it becomes dangerous. Credence was presumed dead after losing control of his magic and running afoul of the MACUSA aurors. Now, however, he’s alive and, honestly, looking better than before, running with Claudia Kim’s character. Here’s hoping there are good things ahead for Credence — he deserves it.

fantastic beasts: the crimes of grindelwald
Image Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Also, how does Jacob reintegrate? Jacob was a major part of the first FANTASTIC BEASTS but lost his memory at the end of the film. As a muggle — or no-maj — Jacob fell prey to the memory charm. Now, however, he’s back with Newt. Does he remember everything? Or does Newt seek him out for help once again? More importantly, will he get with Queenie? Their budding flirtation was one of the high points of the first movie.

Speaking of which, what’s up with Queenie? A shot in the trailer shows her gripping her head, as if in pain. Queenie is a legilimens, which means she can hear others’ thoughts. What is Queenie hearing that’s so terrible?

We have to wait until November 16 to find out what happens in FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD. I’m not so sure I’ll make it.


Of course, the trailer is the big thing (and readily available to anyone online), but not the only part of the FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD panel. There was also some Q&A with the cast and a surprise appearance.

Impeachius Maximus

One of the high points came when a fan asked what the cast would do if they had access to real magic. Zoe Kravitz wasted no time in insisting that she would use her powers for good — and impeach Donald Trump. While some fans were not happy with the political spin, most cheered. They cheered even more when Dan Fogler came up with the proper spell: “Impeachius Maximus,” naturally.

Harry Potter and the Order of Equality: A Post-Feminist World?

Ezra Miller took a slightly — slightly — different tack, with a broader effect. Miller answered that he would use his power to “topple the patriarchy.” I leave it to you to decide if Miller’s proclamation is enhanced or detracted by the fact that he was cosplaying as sexy Toadette.

Depp Drama

Of course, Warner Bros had their own ideas about what would be the high point of the panel. Near the end, they brought out Johnny Depp in full costume (and in-character) as Gellert Grindelwald, the titular villain of the film. They probably anticipated that it would be a buzz-worthy moment. It was… but not how they expected it.

That’s because Warner Bros is being obstinately obtuse about Depp. In case you were unaware, Johnny Depp has been the subject of controversy for some time. He had a nasty divorce from actress Amber Heard a few years back. Heard accused Depp of domestic violence and abuse. Though they eventually reached a settlement — which Heard donated to charity — the allegations stuck.

fantastic beasts: the crimes of grindelwald
Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Fans have been upset that Warner Bros and J.K. Rowling kept Depp cast as Grindelwald. Harry Potter has always been a beacon of hope and justice, so having a major character played by a potential domestic abuser doesn’t sit well with fans. So, naturally, having Depp come on stage and give a villainous speech didn’t sit well with them either. Depp was booed as he left the stage. Yeah, Warner Bros, we’ll be talking about it… but not in a good way.

To make matters worse, the panel following the FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD panel was for Warner Bros. AQUAMAN… which stars Heard as Mera. So the two nearly crossed paths. This indicates at best sloppy planning on Warner Bros part and, at worst, a hostile environment for Heard.

And Now We Wait

The SDCC panel for FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD had lots to offer, some of it better than others. Unfortunately, it’s still going to be several months before the movie comes to theaters, so all we can do is wait and speculate about what November 16 will bring!

One Comment

  1. Serendipiteedee (@serendipiteedee)

    July 25, 2018 at 6:43 am

    Hey! Just fyi, as you’re journalists, if you research the situation you’ll find court documents on line proving that Amber Heard only accused Johnny Depp of abuse to try and blackmail him into paying her £50k a month in a divorce settlement. When he refused to give in to her blackmail, she made her accusations public. You can find the black mail letter online, as well as Depp’s long list of witnesses and documented evidence proving that Heard was lying. She dropped the charges against Depp when she realised she’d never win the case and her charges were dropped with prejudice. She did not donate the money to charity, it’s tied up in legal red tape because she refused to allow Depp’s lawyers to donate it directly rather than filtering it through her first. And if you listen to the recording of Johnny’s speech at SDCC, you can hear as much cheering as booing.


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