With Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore set for release on April 8, 2022, many excited Harry Potter fans are wondering whether the third installment in the Wizarding World spin-off series will be the last...
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is the follow-up to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and its 2018 sequel Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, and is a continuation of the Wizarding World prequel series, which takes place several decades before the Harry Potter series.
As such, the likes of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger are nowhere to be seen, and instead, the Fantastic Beasts films primarily follow Magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), Nomaj Jacob Kowalski (Daniel Fogler), and Auror Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston).
Related: Is Harry Potter the Master of Death?
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them takes place in New York City, the other side of the Atlantic Ocean to Harry Potter's Wizarding World, in an attempt to expand the world and mythology first established in JK Rowling's stories, while introducing some fresh faces into the franchise.
The first movie in the spin-off series finds Newt arriving in the Big Apple with a magical suitcase full of fantastic beasts, but when the suitcase is accidentally opened, several of the titular Wizarding World-inhabiting animals escape and begin to wreak havoc throughout the city.
Meanwhile, dark forces are at large, as dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Colin Farrell/Johnny Depp) is on the run from the MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America). At the end of the film, however, Grindelwald is recaptured and brought to justice.
Its sequel Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is set in numerous locations throughout Europe, largely Paris, as Newt, Jacob, Tina, and Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) attempt to thwart the world-threatening plans of dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, who has managed to escape from prison.
Grindelwald attracts several new followers at a rally, who join him in his quest to create a divide between the Wizarding World and the human world, which will ultimately culminate in a war between the two. Despite the efforts of Newt, Jacob, Tina, and Dumbledore, the war is already set in motion.
And now, after four years, the third movie in the series is underway, with only weeks before it hits theaters. Like many other major blockbusters, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore was delayed significantly due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
However, we've now seen two official trailers to the upcoming sequel, both of which promise to be more of a return-to-form for the series, with 2018's Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald having been met with harsh criticism, following its incredibly convoluted and incoherent plot.
While the new film will of course follow the first two, continuing the battle between Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald (who is now played by Mads Mikkelsen, following the dismissal of Johnny Depp after the Amber Heard controversy), fans are hoping it will also retcon elements of its predecessor.
Related: How Rich is Harry Potter?
This time, it looks like the Wizarding World is on the precipice of war, as Grindelwald has amassed an army of followers, while Dumbledore and his allies race against the clock to find a way to take on the dark wizard and keep their world a secret from the Muggles.
And then there's the subplot with Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller), who, at the end of the previous film, was revealed by Grindelwald to be Dumbledore's long lost brother (Dumbledore's known siblings are Aberforth and Ariana, who, at the time these films are set, is long dead).
But will Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore be the final movie in the series? Does Warner Bros Pictures intend to round it off as a trilogy, or are there more installments planned? Following the release of the original film in 2016, Warner Bros announced that it intends to make five films in the series.
While this came as a surprise to fans, given that the movie is based on a short encyclopedia, it was still in line with the Harry Potter series, which has eight films under its belt. Not only that, but it's plain to see that Warner Bros has already turned the Fantastic Beasts series into a prequel to the main films.
As such, we wouldn't be surprised if the Fantastic Beasts movies reach the point where the Harry Potter movies begin, which is a similar approach Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema took with The Hobbit movies, which felt more like prequels to The Lord of the Rings than they should have been.
The Hobbit novel is also a fairly short affair, and seeing it expanded into three bloated movies was one of many complaints from fans of the JRR Tolkien novel and Peter Jackson's well-received The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. And it seems like Warner Bros has taken the same approach with the Harry Potter spin-offs.
With all that said, it's possible that between the negative reception to Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, and the COVID-19 pandemic, some course correction has been applied to the Fantastic Beasts series. On the other hand, the trailers for the new movie certainly don't suggest a finale of any kind.
Whether or not Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is the final movie or not, there's no denying that the Wizarding World will continue to grow, especially with the highly-anticipated open-world RPG Hogwarts Legacy also set for release this year.
If we were to hazard a guess as to whether Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is indeed the last film, we'd probably lean more towards the fact that Warner Bros has no intention of stopping, at least not until they've churned out two more installments as previously promised.
It's likely that the movies may even lean into Gellert Grindelwald's successor Lord Voldemort, who, at the time of the Fantastic Beasts series, is, in the famous words of Tom Riddle himself, "very much alive"...