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Having trouble recalling where the Fantastic Beasts franchise left its story hanging in 2018? Don't worry, you haven't been Obliviated — it's only the passage of time making you forget. The nearly five-year gap between The Crimes of Grindelwald and The Secrets of Dumbledore (out in theaters everywhere this Friday) was not supposed to be this long. Warner Bros. originally planned to release the third chapter of the Harry Potter prequel series last November, but the COVID-19 pandemic had other plans.
With our minds feeling a lot like a leaky cauldron these days, we thought it might be prudent to dive into the Pensieve for a look at where our heroes (and villains) stand ahead before audiences around the globe return to the Wizarding World.
Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne)
Poor Newt. The guy just wanted to write a simple book on magical creatures and got himself swept up in a global battle between a pair of dueling wizarding factions. The magical zoologist is now the de facto leader of Dumbledore's "First Army" since Albus can't make a direct move against Grindelwald until the whole blood pact business is sorted away. With that said, Mr. Scamander has really come into his own, taking to heart what his brother told him about choosing a side in the current war. Plus, his case full of beasts proves useful in a pinch (let us not forget that it was his Niffler who knicked the blood pact vial off Grindelwald's person in the last movie).
Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law)
Until he can figure out a way to break the magical blood pact he made with Grindelwald (whom he loved when the two were young men years before), Dumbledore can't do much in the way of active combat. A pity because he's the only wizard in existence capable of going mano-e-mano with the Big Bad. Instead, he sends others in his stead to do the dirty work, which is very much in line with what we know about the character in the Harry Potter series. The blood pact is only one part of Dumbledore's dark personal history with Grindelwald, which also involves a fierce duel that resulted in the death of Albus' little sister, Ariana. This will most likely be explored further with the arrival of Albus' estranged brother, the surly proprietor of the Hog's Head pub: Aberforth (Richard Coyle).
Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen)
After trying to destroy Paris with a flaming curse, Grindelwald retreats to the safety of Nurmengard (a remote castle located in the mountains of Austria) alongside his devoted followers — Vinda Rosier (Poppy Corby-Tuech) and Abernathy (Kevin Guthrie) — and a pair of new recruits: Queenie Goldstein and Credence Barebone.
Grindelwald closes out the second movie by gifting Credence a wand of his own and informing the boy that he is secretly a member of the Dumbledore family (how he came by this crucial piece of information is still a mystery). Naturally, Gellert's next move is to continue spreading his message of wizard dominance in an effort to gain more followers and provoke all-out war with the Muggles.
Johnny Depp vacated the role of Grindelwald at the behest of Warner Bros. in November 2020 following a domestic abuse controversy involving his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard. Mikkelsen was cast as Depp's replacement several weeks later.
Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller)
Credence Barebone is dead. Long live Aurelius Dumbledore!
The details surrounding this narrative twist are still a bit hazy and convoluted. As a baby, Credence was swapped with Corvus Lestrange (Leta's half-brother) on a passenger ship traveling to America. The ship sank and Corvus drowned, though no one knew the truth except a guilt-ridden Leta, who swapped the babies when her biological brother wouldn't stop crying.
What were the odds of two wizarding children being on that boat at the same exact time? Were the Dumbledores also traveling to America with their newborn child? Had they given up Aurelius for adoption?
Like we said, things are a bit perplexing when you start wading into the weeds and the Potter books don't offer much insight on the matter. Deathly Hallows contains many shocking revelations about the Dumbledores, but a fourth child is not one of them.
Maybe Grindelwald was just fibbing? He's been known to do that on occasion. In any case, Credence/Aurelius is now operating on the lie that his brother, Albus, seeks to destroy him, which is sure to drive the powerful Obscurial further into the arms of Grindelwald.
Queenie (Alison Sudol) & Jacob (Dan Fogler)
Sick of the backwards laws in America that forbid magical folk from being romantically involved with members of the No-Maj community, Queenie decides to throw in her lot with Grindelwald. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense when you think about it for more than a few seconds, given that Grindelwald wants to subjugate and murder Muggles on a scale hitherto unseen.
But in Queenie's twisted view, overturning the International Statute of Secrecy is the only way she can be with her beloved Jacob, who doesn't think much of this idea. In fact, he tells Queenie, straight to her face, that she's absolutely nuts for joining up with the bad guys. She doesn't listen, of course, and the American baker with an overt lack of magical abilities is left utterly heartbroken. Hopefully, he can bring his partner back from the brink before it's too late.
Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston)
Curiously, Tina's been mostly absent from a great deal of the marketing materials released for the new movie. Like Jacob, the Auror for MACUSA (the Magical Congress of the United States of America) wants to free her sister from Grindelwald's grip. Per official Wizarding World canon, Tina survived the war and ultimately settled down with Newt in the town of Dorset. Fun fact: their grandson married Luna Lovegood. So what's she up to in The Secrets of Dumbledore? We'll just have to wait and see…
Eulalie Hicks (Jessica Williams)
Eulalie "Lally" Hicks, a Charms professor at Ilvermorny (the American equivalent of Hogwarts), made a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo appearance in The Secrets of Grindelwald. The character showed up in the pages of an enchanted book she used to communicate with Nicholas Flamel (Brontis Jodorowsky). Hicks urged the famed alchemist — and sole creator of the Sorcerer's Stone — to join the battle against Grindelwald at the Parisian cemetery where the sequel's climax takes place.
Beyond that, we don't know much about Eualie, who gets a central starring role this time around. In a recent featurette created for Secrets, Williams explains that Professor Hicks has known Dumbledore "for a long time and actually has an easier time trusting him without knowing what the endgame is." The actress continues: "When force won't work, it's about using her brain and really trying to charm out of a situation."
Theseus Scamander (Callum Turner)
An Auror for the British Ministry of Magic, Newt's old brother is still committed to bringing about the defeat of Grindelwald. Except now things are incredibly personal since the dark wizard murdered his fiancée, Leta Lestrange (Zoë Kravitz), in cold blood. The silver lining? Grindelwald's quest for power has brought the Scamander brothers closer than ever before. Theseus even seems to be defying his Ministry superiors by agreeing to be a part of Dumbledore's ragtag collection of fighters.
Yusuf Kama (William Nadylam)
Half-brother to Leta, Yusuf made an Unbreakable Vow with his dying father to kill the person that Leta's father (who used the Imperius Curse to abduct Yusuf's mother) loved most in the world. That person turned out to be Corvus Lestrange who was initially thought to be Credence Barebone. That assumption turned out to be false when Leta reveals that Corvus died as a baby years ago from the result of her own actions (see above). With his lifelong mission now over (and the Unbreakable Vow hopefully nullified), Yusuf joins up with the Dumbledore crew.
Bunty (Victoria Yeates)
There is still plenty to learn about Newt's bestiary assistant, Bunty — last seen applying ointment to a healing kelpie. She's got a more expanded role in Secrets and perhaps we'll see a resolution to the obvious feelings she has for her boss (feelings that Newt doesn't seem to notice, let alone reciprocate).
"She's obsessed [with him], I suppose!" Yeates told Novastream in a recent interview. "She idolizes Newt, she has watched him for most of her life, growing up in Hogwarts. She loves beasts and is happier being in the basement with them. She wants to be as good as him, and there's a lot of different levels of love, a lot of respect, unrequited love. It has been eight years, I hope she'll branch out at some point and get through to him!"
Nagini (Claudia Kim)
While it doesn't look like Nagini is a part of The Secrets of Dumbledore (her inclusion in the last movie sparked a bit of controversy), we do know where the character ultimately ends up.
Stricken with a Maledictus blood curse that will one day turn her into a permanent serpent, she met Credence at a traveling magical circus, where the two became close friends. The pair escaped and Nagini aided the young Barebone in his quest to learn more about his biological family. However, she refused to join up with Grindelwald, whose policies she rightly viewed as backward and sadistic.
Nagini is last seen on the bridge leading to Hogwarts, standing alongside our other heroes.
It's unclear what happens after that, although die-hard Potterheads know her journey ends with the darkest wizard of them all. Decades after the events of the Fantastic Beasts timeline, the character becomes a horcrux and longtime companion to Lord Voldemort who crossed paths with Nagini (now in her eternal snake form) in the forests of Albania during his agonizing years of exile.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore arrives on the big screen this Friday, April 15.
Be sure to check out SYFY's "Wizarding World Week" marathon of all eight Harry Potter films and the first two installments of the Fantastic Beasts franchise through Friday.