What I Hope to See in “Fantastic Beasts 3”
by Darcie Gray
News has started to make its way online this week regarding the third Fantastic Beasts movie. So far, we know that David Yates is back as director, the film will be set in Rio, and the movie is set to begin production in spring 2020. So the big question on my mind is “What’s next for the wizarding world?” I have so many theories and ideas surrounding this question that I’ve decided to share them with you instead of just letting them swirl around my head. I am a huge Harry Potter fan (Harry Potter is the reason I pursued film at college), but I am not a huge fan of the Fantastic Beasts films. When production on these films was first mentioned, I was confused – a story about Newt Scamander seemed so strange, and I felt that any storylines involving him would be forced, and so far, I think I’ve been proved right. I saw glimmers of Harry Potter magic in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, and I hope the third film builds upon these glimmers.
There are a few fundamental flaws with the Fantastic Beasts series.
The most glaring issue from which the series suffers is the beasts. Personally, I just do not think five whole films should be based around beasts. In the first movie, there were far too many beasts, but the second film had significantly less, which was an improvement. Hopefully, there will be less as the series progresses. I love learning about the wizarding world, but this story could have been told without beasts.
I also think the story of Grindelwald could have been told without Newt (Eddie Redmayne) being the central character. I like Newt well enough, but I feel no magic or chemistry from him. He would have been better as a background character.
The tone, especially in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is just too PG. (I will never forget that awful mating dance scene.) Most of us grew up with the Harry Potter films, and I expected the Fantastic Beasts films to be dark in tone, like the last four to five Harry Potter films. If you listen to the first 30 seconds of Crimes of Grindelwald‘s soundtrack, that is the dark mysterious tone I need.
So how can the third Fantastic Beasts film improve from the first two films?
Links to historical events is a definite must. In Crimes of Grindelwald, we got to see premonitions of World War II, and as Dumbledore (Jude Law) defeats Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) in 1945, these films will take us through this war. I have always wanted to see what involvement wizards and witches had in Muggle wars. However, it would have been great if the boat sinking that caused Leta (Zoë Kravitz) to think her brother was dead was the Titanic. That was a missed opportunity. So more links to history would be great.
We need a stable location. I love the fact that these films are opening up the wider wizarding world. However, I feel like we need one place to come back to at the start and end of each movie – a place featured in Harry Potter. Maybe Hogsmeade? This would create narrative stability whilst invoking nostalgia. I also think that it was a shame we never saw Beauxbatons in Crimes of Grindelwald.
There were a few moments in Crimes of Grindelwald that I loved. One of these is the scene where Grindelwald walks onto the stage to start his rally. This scene is so powerful, and you feel the strength of his character. This scene – the way it’s shot and acted – should be the style inspiration for the next three movies. This scene stands out because of Grindelwald’s conviction and allure, and I want more of that.
Grindelwald is not the only character we need more of. Dumbledore is great (just make him look like Dumbledore and drop the suits). I love both Jacob (Dan Fogler) and Queenie (Alison Sudol), so more focus on them would be great. But the lacking leading duo Newt and Tina (Katherine Waterston) cannot hold the screen, and that is why we ended up with an overstuffed second movie. We needed new characters to make up for their lack of presence and intrigue. One character that I wish had lived to see out these movies is Leta. She is my favorite character of these movies so far, and I think she added so much to the film. (She could easily have been the main character.)
Then we have Credence (Ezra Miller). It’s pretty obvious he is not a Dumbledore, so I cannot wait to see where his journey leads. Nagini (Claudia Kim) is slightly problematic on many levels; I think she’s a great character, and again, she was captivating, but when we think of the snake she becomes in the Harry Potter series, questions are raised. Hopefully, the future films answer them.
McGonagall’s cameo is also an issue since her working at Hogwarts in 1908–1915 throws out the whole timeline. (She should have started in the 1950s.) These films need to make sense going forward, and there are other ways to connect Fantastic Beasts to Harry Potter, which we know these films proved with Nicholas Flamel’s (Brontis Jodorowsky) cameo.
The second scene I loved in Crimes of Grindelwald is the scene where Flamel helps to destroy Grindelwald’s magic. That scene had me saying, “Now, this is what I want.” It was full of magic, emotion, and filled me with hope, and this is what the next three films need to be filled with.
I could list more, but we would be here for a week. If I could, I would love to take these films back to the drawing board and begin again. I have even considered writing my own version. I think that Crimes of Grindelwald was a great improvement on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but it was limited by a poor premise. I seriously hope that a rethink has taken place – hence the delay in production – and that I am able to give the third Fantastic Beasts movie a rave review.