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Exclusive: Climb aboard the Great Wizarding Express in new 'Fantastic Beasts 3' making-of book

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore: Movie Magic goes on sale Friday, April 15.

By Josh Weiss
Fantastic Beasts 3 Header PRESS

Did you know there are more wizarding modes of travel in Europe beyond the Hogwarts Express and the Knight Bus? Neither did SYFY WIRE until we got an exclusive look inside the making-of book for Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.

Going on sale from Insight Editions the same day the film opens in theaters everywhere (Friday, April 15), this publication gives a whole new meaning to the term "movie magic." Now that audiences have — probably — examined and dissected every last square inch of the new trailer that premiered online Monday, we're excited to present them with five interior pages to pore over for the rest of the week.

"If there’s one constant in the Wizarding World that we’ve seen onscreen — in addition to the fascinating beasts, spectacular magic, and breathtaking challenges to our heroes, of course — it’s the calling Albus Dumbledore has to protect both the magical and non-magical communities in his sphere of influence," author Jody Revenson tells SYFY WIRE. "But Dumbledore’s quite an enigma, isn’t he? We still haven’t figured him out. He’s sad and funny; strong and insecure; suspicious and sentimental. And, as actor Jude Law says about his character in this film, he’s making life-changing decisions that will lead him to become the headmaster we’ll know in the future, while at the same time confronting his past. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore gives fans (like me) an incredible opportunity to gain new and surprising insights into a character we thought we already knew."

Fantastic Beasts 3 The Secrets Of Dumbledore Albus PRESS
Fantastic Beasts 3 The Secrets Of Dumbledore Intro PRESS

Set in the immediate aftermath of The Crimes of Grindelwald, the third chapter in the Harry Potter prequel series finds Albus scrambling to figure out a way to break his blood pact with Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen), the world's most notorious spell-user, before the muggle population is crushed under the boot of witches and wizards who think of themselves as superior. In the meantime, he's going to need a little help.

"Dumbledore assembles a team in an effort to defeat Grindelwald’s bid for power, consisting of Newt and Theseus Scamander; Newt’s assistant, Bunty; Jacob Kowalski; and Lally Hicks, the Charms professor from Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the United States," Revenson explains. "The group gathers together on the Great Wizarding Express, a magical train that appears shabby on the outside, but inside, it’s decorated in the height of Art Deco opulence. Graphic designers Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima created the logo of the Great Wizarding Express, then translated it into the ephemera associated with train travel, including tickets and an onboard magazine — once again so subtly expanding the wizarding culture. And it just couldn’t be a wizarding train without a trolley. This one offers coffees, teas, and perhaps something a little stronger for the adult wizards."

How come we've never heard about this locomotive, which just so happens to be connected to the Floo Network, until now? Did it eventually go out of business once the Knight Bus came along? We need answers!

What's pretty cool about The Great Wizarding Express, though is that it's connected to the Floo Network (an interconnected series of fireplaces that allow wizards and witches to instantly move between locations). As The Rowling Library pointed out on Twitter, this seems to imply that the Floo Network is not only international, but can also be connected to a place that is constantly on the move.

Fantastic Beasts 3 The Secrets Of Dumbledore Express PRESS

Although Potterheads have learned a great deal about Ilvermorny (the American school of witchcraft and wizardry) through online resources like Pottermore, they haven't really seen the place represented onscreen. Luckily, the third movie will change all that by bumping up Professor Eulalie "Lally" Hicks (Jessica Williams) to a major player in the story. Not only does she teach at Ilvermorny, but, like the monster-loving Hagrid, she is also the Keeper of the Keys.

"[She] was seen very briefly in the previous Fantastic Beasts film, but becomes an important part of Dumbledore’s plan to stop Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore," Revenson teases. "She’s funny and dedicated and smart and intuitive — just like the actress who plays her, Jessica Williams. But I think the main reason I like Lally is because she writes books! And she’s got a very cool wardrobe."

Fantastic Beasts 3 The Secrets Of Dumbledore Lally PRESS

Over on the dark side, Grindelwald has amassed quite the devoted acolytes, cultivating an inner circle of confidants who will follow his orders without a moment's hesitation. One of his fresh-faced recruits is Queenie Goldstein (Alison Sudol), who decided to throw in her lot with the villains due to the MACUSA's law against magic folk becoming romantically involved with members of the No-Maj community. Queenie — who was and continues to be in love with Jacob — is in for quite the rude awakening when she learns that Grindelwald wants to rule all muggles, Mr. Kowalski included. 

"She’s realizing that Grindelwald may have not been the answer she needed to make that happen, and it’s about time she did," Revenson concludes. "So, when Queenie sees Jacob again, what will she do? Actress Alison Sudol states it brilliantly when she says that Queenie recognizes that they both still love each other and she doesn’t want to be in a world without this love. Alison says this gives the character her mojo back. And that’s the Queenie we want to see."

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore: Movie Magic goes on sale Friday, April 15.

Fantastic Beasts 3 The Secrets Of Dumbledore Cover PRESS