Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is now open for booking in Cineworld. The movie arrives on the big screen on April 8th and promises to open up yet more exciting corners of the Wizarding World prequel saga.
Here are five very good reasons why you need to book your tickets straight away.
1. It's a continuation of the Fantastic Beasts saga
Released in 2016, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them expanded on the story behind the fabled Hogwarts textbook. The parameters of the Wizarding World expanded as the story went back in time and hopped over to 1920s New York, allowing for a new visual aesthetic, a new clutch of characters and a new set of magical conflicts.
In 2018, the sequel The Crimes of Grindelwald took everything in a decidedly darker direction. Following his capture at the end of the first movie, warmongering wizard Gellert Grindelwald endeavoured to rally more followers to his 'pure blood' cause.
That brings us to The Secrets of Dumbledore. The movie picks up the threads of the previous movie, elaborating on Grindelwald's diabolical plan to enslave and/or wipe out the muggles before replacing them with his pure blood army. It's set to raise the dramatic stakes as we fill in the important puzzle pieces that ultimately lead up to the events of the first Harry Potter movie, The Philosopher's Stone (2001).
At the same time, The Secrets of Dumbledore juxtaposes this brewing global fight with the inter-personal dynamics. It's all to play for as some famous wizarding individuals must reckon with their own past while attempting to save the world. What more could a dyed-in-the-wool Potter fan ask for?
2. It introduces us to Mads Mikkelsen as Grindelwald
Johnny Depp was the original actor to portray the evil Grindelwald. However, he's now been replaced by Danish star Mads Mikkelsen, and lack of continuity aside, we're excited to see what the actor will do with the role.
Mikkelsen has excelled in villainous roles, bringing dramatic shading to the likes of Le Chiffre in Casino Royale (2006) and Kaecilius in Doctor Strange (2016). Mikkelsen's unreadable, enigmatic quality surely makes him the perfect choice for Grindelwald – rampaging though he is, as Potter acolytes know, he harbours a great deal of personal trauma.
This complex mixture of revulsion and unexpected sympathy is catnip for an actor of Mikkelsen's calibre. Outside of the realm of villains, he's portrayed memorably compromised individuals in the likes of The Hunt (2012) and the Oscar-winning Another Round (2021), both for director Thomas Vinterburg. Frankly, we can't wait to see Mads Mikkelsen reinvent the role of Grindelwald.
3. It promises to uncover more of Dumbledore's private life
As the film's title implies, this is really Albus Dumbledore's movie. Jude Law reprises his role as the younger, sprightlier incarnation of the legendary Hogwarts figurehead, and the movie promises to showcase more of Dumbledore in his familiar habitat.
That's sure to get Potter nostalgics excited, but the really intriguing question is this: how far will the new film delve into Dumbledore's past? As per the lore, Albus Dumbledore shares a tortured personal history with Grindelwald, which has been alluded to in the previous movie. Not only were the two men once close friends but, it's strongly hinted, lovers too.
We already know that in the triangular conflict between Albus, Grindelwald and Albus' brother Aberforth (played in this movie by Richard Coyle), there was a devastating escalation that resulted in the death of Albus' sister, Ariana. This caused Dumbledore and Grindelwald to head on their individual paths.
Whether the movie opts to dramatise this tragic event, and put Ariana front and centre, remains to be seen. We already know from The Secrets of Dumbledore trailer that Dumbledore and Grindelwald have one particularly complicated heart to heart, as each individual sets out their stall. Judging from the trailer, it appears that Grindelwald still harbours feelings towards his old friend, to the extent that Grindelwald is keen for Dumbledore to join his cause.
Is this hinting at Dumbledore's rumoured disdain towards muggles, a by-product of his father Percival's attitude? Will Grindelwald exploit this apparent weakness? The personal fireworks in this movie may well be more spectacular than the grandiose battles.
4. It reunites us with Newt Scamander and his allies
It's easy to forget that this franchise began with Eddie Redmayne's enjoyably quirky magizoologist, Newt. The first Fantastic Beasts film gained great mileage out of Newt's mysterious suitcase, essentially an enclosure for all manner of wonderful creatures, big and small, benevolent and dangerous.
However, such frivolity was less apparent in The Crimes of Grindelwald as Newt realised that he couldn't always retreat to the world of his fantastic beasts. Instead, he would have to step up alongside his former Hogwarts mentor Dumbledore to help defeat Grindelwald.
Fortunately, in the new movie, Newt Scamander is able to call on his past allies for help in the upcoming battle with Grindelwald. This includes his brother Theseus (Callum Turner), muggle baker Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), witch Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) and charms professor Eulalie Hicks (Jessica Williams). As per the trailer for The Secrets of Dumbledore, we're also getting another appearance from the young Minerva McGonagall (Fiona Glascott), although her role is unclear at this stage.
And on the side of the villains? Bolstering Grindelwald's ranks is the turncoat Queen (Allison Sudol), who betrayed Newt and his friends at the end of the previous movie, and Brazilian witch turned aspiring politician Vicência Santos (Maria Fernanda Cândido).
Stuck in the middle is the ambiguous Credence (Ezra Miller) whose loyalties between the sides of good and bad have vacillated throughout the series. Given that the previous movie strongly implied that he was Albus Dumbledore's brother, we can't wait to see where his storyline goes.
5. It anticipates the next movies in the Fantastic Beasts franchise
Remember, there are due to be another two movies in the Fantastic Beasts series before we catch up with the events of Harry Potter. As if the battle between Dumbledore and Grindelwald wasn't significant enough within Potter lore, we wonder what could be around the corner?
This movie picks up at the end of the 1920s and we imagine that the Fantastic Beasts movies will morph and change as we move further through the 20th-century. Maybe we'll get one set in the age of 1960s Flower Power? Flippancy aside, this is a rich and dense story that still has a lot of ground to cover. Hence why you need to experience this latest important stepping stone on the biggest screen you can find.
The time has come. Click here to book your tickets for Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore and let us know @Cineworld once you've secured your seat.