The first entry in the Harry Potter spin-off franchise Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was both a critical and financial success and more importantly, was instantly loved by fans, having captured the magic that made the original series so warm and fuzzy, while expanding on the insanely rich universe that is the Wizarding World.
The second film was released in 2018, many saw it as the Squib-like cousin to its magical predecessor - it had plenty of magic to wield, but didn’t possess the ability to do so. While a financial hit, it was panned by critics and fans alike and considered something of a convoluted mess that made little sense in terms of storytelling.
Now, with the third film having undergone delays, along with a whirlwind of controversy that would give Hogwarts a run for its money, it’s hard to see if filmmakers will be able to perform a simple Mending Charm on the franchise, or whether nearly all of its Horcruxes have already been destroyed.
But there’s hope yet. Fans have been salivating for a new installment in the Wizarding World franchise, and the third film in the Fantastic Beasts series does at least seem to be picking up some traction. Whether or not it will be any good remains to be seen, but here’s everything you need to know about Fantastic Beasts 3, and, ahem, where to find all the latest news.
The eleventh entry in the Wizarding World franchise was recently confirmed as The Secrets of Dumbledore via the official Fantastic Beasts Instagram account, and up until now has been dubbed ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 3’, or ‘Fantastic Beasts 3’ for those who don’t have quite as much time on their hands.
The film looks to be following suit with its predecessor, The Crimes of Grindelwald, along with every single Harry Potter movie. Hopefully, this time the subtitle will make a little more sense, considering we never actually got to see any crimes of Grindelwald in the last installment.
Like the first two installments, the third entry in the series will be set decades before the Boy Who Lived (or the Boy Who Could Not Be Killed) ever sets foot inside Hogwarts. It's said to take place several years after the events of the previous film, while spanning locations that include Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Berlin, Germany, although it’s not known where the majority of the film will take place.
It has also been confirmed that there will be an emphasis on the Wizarding World’s role in World War II, which was teased in the third act of The Crimes of Grindelwald, when the titular villain held a rally to promote his cause, showing visions of the coming war among the No-Maj.
In the last movie, our team of heroes has also split down the middle, when Queenie Goldstein became a Grindelwald follower, leaving Magizoologist Newt Scamander, Auror Tina Goldstein, and No-Maj Jacob Kowalski to pick up the pieces, and prepare for an inevitable battle with the dark wizard and his growing army. We also learned that Credence Barebone is actually a Dumbledore, yet another shady notch in the Dumbledore family tree.
And now that we know the title for the new movie - The Secrets of Dumbledore - the film will obviously focus a lot more on the Hogwarts Headmaster than the previous installment.
Though it’s not yet been confirmed if this will be the final film in the series, the Fantastic Beasts franchise was originally touted to be “at least three films”. But the number five has also been thrown around a few times since.
While Harry Potter gave us eight movies, three is likely the magic number here – especially considering Fantastic Beasts isn’t actually based on any robust source material. Not only that, but the films so far seem to be lacking in any real overarching plot, despite desperately reaching for one, not unlike The Hobbit Trilogy.
Like every single entry in the Wizarding World franchise since Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix inclusive, Fantastic Beasts 3 is being helmed by director David Yates. In fact, even though The Crimes of Grindelwald was a bit of a hot mess – which many believe is largely down to Rowling’s screenplay - we can’t quite imagine this franchise surviving without Yates in the high chair.
Unlike the first Fantastic Beasts, though – which was adapted from an A-to-Z listing of the Wizarding World’s magical creatures - the third film will not be based on a book of any kind. The same can be said about the second film, though a screenplay version has been released for each film so far, so you can expect the same thing for the latest entry.
Given all the delays and controversies, there is sadly no trailer as yet. But for fans wishing to get their teeth into anything Wizarding World-related, check out the brand-new trailer for Hogwarts Legacy, an upcoming open-world video game from Portkey Games that takes place in the late 1800s, just a few decades before the Fantastic Beasts series begins.
Returning cast members are Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Callum Turner, Ezra Miller, and Jude Law, who will all be reprising their roles as Newt Scamander, Tina Goldstein, Jacob Kowalski, Theseus Scamander, Credence Barebone, and Albus Dumbledore.
Mads Mikkelsen will be replacing Johnny Depp as dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald. Johnny Depp played the character in the first two Fantastic Beasts installments but was asked to leave by Warner Bros., following his court case with ex-partner Amber Heard.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina actor Richard Coyle is also said to have joined the cast, and will be playing the younger version of Dumbledore's older brother Aberforth.
If you’ve been following the news over the past year, you’ll likely know that Johnny Depp and ex-partner Amber Heard were involved in a lawsuit battle against one another regarding defamation of character. On November 6, 2020, Depp announced that he would not be returning to play the character of Gellert Grindelwald in the third film and beyond after Warner Bros. asked him to resign following his loss in the trial. Less than two weeks later, Mads Mikkelsen was confirmed as his replacement.
The Rogue One and Hannibal actor has been quite gracious in his stepping up to fill the role, admitting that he’s been a fan of Depp throughout his career and that a “bridge” is needed between Depp’s performance and his own, adding that it would be “creative suicide” to try and replicate Depp’s portrayal of the dark wizard. With Mikkelsen’s track record in film and television, perhaps more notably as the cunning and downright evil Hannibal Lecter in NBC’s Hannibal, fans are excited to see him fill the boots of the dark wizard.
As for how they’ll explain why he suddenly looks so different, perhaps they won’t, seeing as recastings happen all the time – after all, let’s not forget the same thing happened with Dumbledore following the death of Richard Harris after Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (and not to mention Dumbledore apparently looked like Jude Law in his earlier years). But should the filmmakers choose to explain the change, they do at least have a plethora of magical plot devices at their disposal, from Polyjuice Potion to Self-Transfiguration.
The character of Gellert Grindelwald was controversial long before the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard fiasco. In fact, he was quite controversial even before his heinous actions in the most recent installment, which sees him claiming some truly innocent lives on his rise to power. Grindelwald was mentioned in the Harry Potter series – both books and films alike - having once owned the Elder Wand, one of the three Deathly Hallows that would ultimately help to defeat Lord Voldemort.
Like Voldemort, Grindelwald was a powerful dark wizard, intent on emphasizing the lines of separation between the Wizarding World and the No-Maj (Muggle) World, due to his belief that wizards, witches, and other magical beings are superior to humankind, and in an earlier life was even close friends with Dumbledore. In the first film, Grindelwald uses Polyjuice Potion so that he can pose as an Auror, in an attempt to locate Credence Barebone. At the end of the second film, Grindelwald reveals Credence’s real identity to him – that he is a Dumbledore.
Production for the film wrapped in late February this year, following delays due to COVID-19 and the Johnny Depp controversy and recasting.
It won’t surprise you to learn that Fantastic Beasts 3 is yet another film that has suffered delays due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as Johnny Depp’s recasting. It was originally scheduled to be released on November 12, 2021 but has been recently announced for April 15, 2022. It might seem like a bit of a wait, but along with the open-world game Hogwarts Legacy, as well as a planned Harry Potter tv series - yes, you read that right - the future looks bright for the Wizarding World.