Given the enormous success of the Harry Potter franchise, it came as little surprise when Warner Bros. announced it would be expanding the Wizarding World saga with a spinoff based upon J.K. Rowling’s 2001 faux textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
What did come as a surprise however was that WB and Rowling were looking to produce a full five movies out of the idea. A cash grab, surely? Well, not according to producer David Heyman, who has explained to Collider how Rowling originally envisioned the project as a trilogy of films, but quickly discovered that the story was much too large for just three instalments.
“While it may look like it to some people, there is nothing cynical about this,” said Heyman. “This is all from [Rowling’s] head. So she begins with three films, because she thinks that’s the story she wants to tell, and then as she digs deeper… and she hadn’t written anything when she said three. Then she wrote the first, and as she was writing the second, actually just before then, but as she says we working on the first, she began to realize there was a whole lot more, and she was trying to figure out, ‘How the hell am I going to squeeze this into three?’”
“I think she knew some of the tentpole, not film tentpole, but some of the structures, the big moments that she was trying to hit,” he continues. “She knows where it ends. She knows where it begins, and she had a lot of the building blocks in her head. But as she was filling out, she realized there was a lot more there than she thought.”
At the end of the first film, the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) was captured by MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America), with the help of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne). But, making good on his threat, Grindelwald escaped custody and has set about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings.
In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) enlists his former student Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald sees David Yates directing a cast that includes Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, Katherine Waterston as Tina Goldstein, Alison Sudol as Queenie Goldstein, Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski, Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone, Zoe Kravitz as Leta Lestrange, Kevin Guthrie as Abernathy, Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald, Jude Law as Albus Dumbledore, Callum Turner as Theseus Scamander, William Nadylam as Yusuf Kama, Ingvar Sigurdsson as Grimmson, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson as Skender, David Sakurai as Krall, Brontis Jodorowsky as Nicolas Flamel, Wolf Roth as Spielman, Victoria Yeates as Bunty, Derek Riddell as Torquil Travers, Poppy Corby-Tuech as Rosier, Cornell S. John as Arnold Guzman and Claudia Kim as Nagini.