David Yates and David Heyman on the Biggest “Crimes of Grindelwald” Twists

In The Empire Film Podcast‘s recent spoiler-filled episode dedicated to Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, director David Yates and producer David Heyman talked about the biggest twists and reveals in the film.

Right off the bat, the Empire interviewer asked Yates and Heyman about that huge twist at the very end of the film, when Grindelwald tells Credence that he is actually Aurelius Dumbledore. Yates revealed that he learned of the twist upon reading the first draft of the Crimes of Grindelwald screenplay.

We were all gobsmacked when we read that first screenplay, that first draft, to see that Credence was actually a Dumbledore.

Yates suggested that Albus Dumbledore is not aware that Credence is his brother.

The thing is, if he knows about Credence being his brother, I think that sort of presents certain issues and certain problems. So there’s a level of discovery. He’s always supposed to be all-knowing, but even the brilliant mind of Dumbledore sometimes can’t see around the corner.

Heyman addressed the question of whether Leta Lestrange dies in the climactic scene with Grindelwald’s magic fire.

When you die, you die. I think death is real in Jo’s universe. I think it’s important in the books and in the films that though Harry can have a vision of Dumbledore and then maybe Nearly Headless Nick in Hogwarts, ultimately, dead is dead. It makes death more painful.

Yates chimed in to say that while death is real and final in the wizarding world, characters who have died may still return to the film series in other ways.

That’s not to say that a sort of spirit form, as happened in the Potter [books and films], people can return with a message. But I completely agree. I think to keep the emotional stakes of the world present, if someone gets killed, they have to stay dead.

Heyman also discussed Queenie’s decision to side with Grindelwald and the implications about Grindelwald as the villain of this series.

I think the fact that even Queenie could go over is really significant. For me, Grindelwald is a much scarier villain than Voldemort. Because Voldemort was pure evil. People followed Voldemort as much because of his power and brute force [as] his power of persuasion. The thing about Grindelwald is, he makes sense. He speaks to the needs that people have. He understands his audience and he gives them what they want to serve his own needs. So I understand Queenie, who wants to be with Jacob but where the magical laws deny her that possibility. You can see why someone who tells her in his world, in the world that he will rule, that she will be able to have what she wants, you understand why she goes over.  To me, Grindelwald is relevant. He speaks to today. But he’s also, because history repeats itself, a timeless villain. I think he’s incredibly scary.

Yates spoke about the skull device that Grindelwald uses to conjure images of World War II.

Grindelwald is a Seer. He has this ability to foresee the future, and that skull device is an opportunity for him, a means [that] allows him to present his visions to the people who follow him. So it’s fundamentally a part of that magic. But he has the gift of forward sight, basically, which is an extra threat to our key protagonists.

Yates also discussed bringing McGonagall into the film, despite the timeline.

McGonagall, I thought, was lovely to have back in the stories. I know some fans have struggled with that. To me, it’s an act of generosity and wonder to have such an iconic character back in this world. It’s generous. And it’s Jo’s world. She can kind of do what she wants.

Yates and Heyman touch on a number of other topics of interest about the film, including the blood pact, who Leta loved, Ezra Miller’s reaction to learning Credence is a Dumbledore, and more. Listen to the full interview and the rest of the podcast about Crimes of Grindelwald here.