Back in 2018, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald left us with a lot of questions. Like, a lot of questions – and pretty serious ones too relating to the future of J.K. Rowling's 'Potterverse'.
The author-screenwriter is increasingly forging new and surprising connections between the disparate Fantastic Beasts and Harry Potter franchises. So, with Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore due for release this April, here are seven important mysteries we want answering. Actually scratch that – these are mysteries that we need answering...
WARNING: FANTASTIC BEASTS SPOILERS LIE AHEAD...
1. Is Credence Barebone actually Albus Dumbledore's brother?
Amid the flurry of climactic twists and turns in The Crimes of Grindelwald, Rowling's biggest humdinger is reserved for the film's closing moments. As the villainous dark wizard Grindelwald (Johnny Depp, now played by Mads Mikkelsen) retreats to the remote castle hideout of Nurmengard in Austria (the place where he will later be imprisoned), he reveals something extraordinary to new acolyte Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller).
It turns out the latter, introduced as an 'Obscurial' in 2016's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, is in fact Albus Dumbledore's (Jude Law) brother. We learn this when Grindelwald addresses Credence as "Aurelius Dumbledore", in the process unveiling a Phoenix that proves the Dumbledore lineage. And the sound you can hear is a myriad Potter fans throwing up their arms in shock.
Now, we know that Dumbledore already has two siblings: brother Aberforth (played as an older man in the Potter movies by Ciaran Hinds) and sister Ariana, who met a tragic end in a duel between the Dumbledore brothers and Grindelwald. Given Credence is some years younger than Dumbledore, we can't wait to see how Rowling explains this one. Will it turn out that Dumbledore's mother Kendra (who died in 1899) had a child out of wedlock? And why didn't Rita Skeeter dig this up in her tell-all book?
This is especially confusing as the movie led us on a wild goose chase making us think Credence was in fact Leta Lestrange's (Zoe Kravitz) half-brother. In the movie, Leta believes that she caused the death of her half-brother Corvus Lestrange Jr. during a stormy Atlantic voyage to America, having swapped him for another infant in the compartment across the hall (Credence) before fleeing to safety as the boat sank.
Credence's life was therefore inadvertently saved – but why was he, as a baby, on a voyage across the Atlantic in the first place? And what does the threat of the adult Credence mean for Dumbledore? It's established that Grindelwald wants to use his destructive Obscurial powers to help win the war against muggles – is this a sign of the conflict to come?
2. Is Corvus Lestrange Jr. actually dead?
This might seem like a silly question – in The Crimes of Grindelwald, we clearly see baby Corvus Lestrange Jr., Leta's actual half-brother, sinking to the bottom of the freezing Atlantic as she sits in the lifeboat with (unbeknownst to her) the infant Credence. Not to mention the Hogwarts flashback sequences establish Corvus' presence as Leta's boggart – a Defence Against the Dark Arts lesson shows her inner fears manifesting in the form of Corvus' floating body (although we don't learn the significance of that until later in the movie).
So he's clearly demonstrably deceased – or is he? Given Rowling has taken to tinkering with her own timeline, can we rule out a future appearance from Corvus? Maybe in the rush to the lifeboats, he was rescued by another family fleeing to safety and the object sinking to the bottom of the ocean wasn't in fact him?
3. Will Queenie become Grindelwald's apprentice?
One of the interesting things The Crimes of Grindelwald touches on is the power of words and rhetoric. At the beginning of the movie, we discover the imprisoned Grindelwald has had his tongue removed in order to prevent anyone from being seduced to his cause. As it turns out, the authorities are too late – Grindelwald has already switched forms with MACUSA employee Abernathy (Kevin Guthrie) and escapes.
The movie culminates in a showdown beneath a Parisian cemetery as the charismatic Grindelwald lays out his philosophy to a rapt audience of followers. By revealing what lies in the not-too-distant future for mankind (more on which momentarily), Grindelwald is able to play on the fears of the wizards present and rally them to his cause. After all, the fates of wizards and muggles appear to be intertwined, and he wants to defend the future of the pure-bloods at all costs.
One key figure who switches sides to join Grindelwald is witch Queenie (Alison Sudol), sister of Tina (Katherine Waterston). She began The Crimes of Grindelwald as a staunch ally of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), but is ultimately persuaded to become one of the bad guys, joining Grindelwald's side in the final, explosive action scene. What implications does this have for Queenie and her sister in Fantastic Beasts 3?
4. What role will Yusuf Kama play in the next movie?
The mysterious auror Yusuf Kama (William Nadylam) crosses paths with both Newt and Jacob (Dan Fogler) while they're in Paris. As the various characters converge near the end of The Crimes of Grindelwald, it turns out he's Leta Lestrange's other half-brother, and has been on a mission to destroy Credence Barebone.
We learn that Yusuf made an unbreakable vow to his father Mustafa to avenge the death of his biological mother, Laurena. In a flashback sequence, we see that the evil Corvus Lestrange used the Imperius Curse on Laurena, kidnapping her and using her to sire a new child, Leta Lestrange.
Laurena Kama died in childbirth and Leta’s father never loved her. Then Corvus found a new woman, and had a baby with her, Corvus Lestrange Jr. Corvus loved this child, but felt that in order to protect him, he needed to send him away to America and give him up for adoption.
We all know where that goes, and it leaves us with a tangle of questions. Chiefly, if Credence isn't actually Yusuf's half-brother as he thought, will he still feel compelled to kill him? And what does the unbreakable vow to which Yusuf has committed himself mean for his own life?
5. Will Ariana Dumbledore appear in Fantastic Beasts 3?
The tragic death of Ariana in a three-way duel between Albus, Aberforth and Grindelwald is a key part of Potter lore. It's alluded to in The Crimes of Grindelwald but she's only ever appeared on screen in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II (played by Hebe Beardsall).
In that movie, the older Aberforth Dumbledore explains how Ariana was set upon by three muggle boys, causing irreparable psychological damage and leaving her unwilling to use her magic. Her father Percival then attacked the two boys and was locked up in Azkaban, leaving Albus and Aberforth to be sent off to school while Kendra was sent to look after Ariana.
Ariana's history is a key moment lurking in Albus Dumbledore's past that is yet to be dramatised visually on the big screen. And given her eventual death ties into the presence of Grindelwald, can we expect that to make a future appearance too? We see that young Dumbledore's boggart manifests in the form of Grindelwald, alluding to the presumably romantic relationship between them, and perhaps also referring to the shocking role Grindelwald played in Dumbledore's sister's death.
The trailer for The Secrets of Dumbledore clearly gesticulates towards the ultimate battle between Dumbledore and Grindelwald. This plays out against the broiling backdrop of the impending pure-blood/no-maj war, so we're expecting an explosively exciting confrontation in the new movie.
6. Will Theseus Scamander avenge Leta Lestrange?
At the end of The Crimes of Grindelwald, Leta Lestrange is shown to be killed by the evil Grindelwald's magic, as fiancee Theseus Scamander (Callum Turner) watches helplessly. Given the movie makes a big deal out of the three-way love triangle between Newt, Leta and Theseus, we imagine her death won't be glanced over in a hurry in The Secrets of Dumbledore.
Will Theseus turn out to be a key, powerful ally in the future war against Grindelwald?
Tickets for Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore go on sale on Friday 18th March. Don't forget to tweet us with your own burning questions about the movie @Cineworld.