Four Characters I Would Love to See in “Crimes of Grindelwald” Other Than (Spoilers)
SPOILERS AHEAD: PROCEED WITH CAUTION
The revelation that Claudia Kim would be portraying Nagini in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald came as a surprise to many – although some fans had previously theorized that the Maledictus was Nagini – but J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. had another surprise up their sleeves. The full cast list for Crimes of Grindelwald, which was released by Warner Bros. on Thursday, revealed that Irish-born actress Fiona Glascott would be appearing as a young Minerva McGonagall in the film.
Although I’d previously argued that Rowling doesn’t retcon the wizarding world canon as much as fans think she does, there’s no getting around the fact that the placement of McGonagall in Crimes of Grindelwald is a deviation from what had been canonically accepted previously. According to the Harry Potter Lexicon, based on a conversation she had with Professor Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and her entry on Pottermore, “McGonagall was born on October 4, 1935, and started Hogwarts in 1947, aged 11 years, 11 months.” Unless Crimes of Grindelwald, which begins in 1927, drastically flash-forwards to at least the early 1940s, it seems like McGonagall has been retconned to be much older than we thought she was. Also, since Glascott is 35 years old, we’ll most likely be introduced to McGonagall as an adult rather than a Hogwarts student.
This isn’t the first time that Crimes of Grindelwald has taken liberties with book canon, though. A promotional photo released earlier this year showed Dumbledore teaching Newt the Boggart-Banishing Spell in a classroom we’d previously seen in the Harry Potter films – the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom – and Jude Law himself confirmed that Dumbledore “doesn’t teach Transfiguration, actually, not at this stage.” With McGonagall’s age and Dumbledore’s teaching position seemingly being retconned, is this an indication that fan service is more important to J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. than being faithful to canon? One way I would see McGonagall’s character working in Crimes of Grindelwald, and Fantastic Beasts moving forward, is if they parallel her relationship with Dougal McGregor with Jacob and Queenie’s relationship.
However, if playing on audiences’ nostalgia is more important to Fantastic Beasts than sticking to canon, then here are four characters that I would love to see in Fantastic Beasts other than Minerva McGonagall.
1. Professor Merrythought
Mentioned in passing in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by the time Tom Riddle had completed his seventh year at Hogwarts, the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, Galatea Merrythought, “had been at Hogwarts for nearly fifty years” (HBP 20). This level of longevity as a Hogwarts professor suggests that Merrythought was a remarkably skilled witch (although Dumbledore’s teaching appointments during his tenure as Headmaster might suggest otherwise). If Professor Merrythought were to appear in Fantastic Beasts, then Rowling could explain why Dumbledore, and not she, is the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. From a creative point of view, though, since we hardly know anything about Merrythought, her character is a blank canvas that offers Rowling a lot of creative freedom.
2. The Gaunts
This isn’t a character, but instead, it’s an entire family. I’ve previously argued that Half-Blood Prince is the worst Potter movie. My biggest gripe with that film is that they took my favorite book from the series and removed all the scenes that made it my favorite – namely almost everything we learn about Voldemort’s backstory. Fantastic Beasts represents a chance for Rowling to address those glaring omissions. Since Tom Riddle was born in 1926, it would not make much sense for him to appear in Crimes of Grindelwald. However, I would love to see Merope Gaunt make an appearance, if only to quell the ridiculous theories I’ve seen flying around that Nagini is Merope – which is what happens when the films leave out important information! Rowling could also use the Gaunts to showcase the animosity that wizards harbored toward Muggles during the period in which Fantastic Beasts is set. Morfin’s unjustified attacks on the Muggles of Little Hangleton could be contrasted with Percival Dumbledore’s attacks on the Muggle boys who attacked his daughter, Ariana, to provide some moral ambiguity regarding Grindelwald’s line from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, “Who does this law protect? Us? Or them?
3. Professor Flitwick
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Hermione reveals that Professor Flitwick “was a dueling champion when he was young” (CoS 11), and when asked about this in Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Flitwick says, “It’s true. I can Stupefy and Protego with the best of them. I have a shelf full of trophies to boot.” If McGonagall has been written into Fantastic Beasts, then why can’t Flitwick make an appearance as well? From the Charms lessons that we see in the books, Flitwick is one of the best teachers at Hogwarts, although we hardly know anything about him. His character isn’t as fleshed out as McGonagall, Snape, or even Trelawney. As the Fantastic Beasts series becomes more action-packed, I would love to see Flitwick in all of his dueling glory.
4. Professor Binns
Unlike Flitwick, Binns is a horrible and unengaging teacher. However, like Flitwick, Binns is another Hogwarts professor whom we know almost nothing about. All we know about Professor Binns is that he taught History of Magic and Hogwarts and that he “had been very old indeed when he had fallen asleep in front of the staffroom fire and got up next morning to teach, leaving his body behind him” (SS 8). Similarly to Merrythought and Flitwick, the fact that we know so little about Binns is advantageous for Rowling. She can mold the character into whatever she wants. Since we’re delving into the lore and history of the wizarding world with the Fantastic Beasts films, who better to make an appearance than the History of Magic professor?
How do you feel about McGonagall appearing in Crimes of Grindelwald? Disappointed? Ecstatic? Which other Harry Potter characters would you like to see in Fantastic Beasts?