Before Voldemort, there was Grindelwald... A magical conflict is brewing in the Fantastic Beasts universe, and while his character doesn't know any spells, Dan Fogler has the scoop on what's coming in the Harry Potter spinoff's upcoming third installment. The actor, of course, plays fan favorite Jacob Kowalski — the bumbling American No-Maj with a heart of gold. Spoiler alert: the wizard-on-wizard violence is only going to get worse, while the Muggles gear up for their own global hostilities.
"I can say I read the script and the character development is really lovely and it’s very similar to the feel of the first movie, which I think is great," Fogler exclusively told SYFY WIRE during a chat about his Heavy Metal comics. "It’s leading toward this massive war with the backdrop of World War II, so you can just imagine epic battle scenes are coming."
"We’re just waiting," he said. "I guess when everybody else starts [back up], when the mechanism starts to move again and everybody starts to get back to work, that’s when we’ll get back to work. Hopefully, sooner than later."
As dedicated Potter fans know, Gellert Grindelwald (played by Johnny Depp on the big screen) terrorized all of Europe before he was defeated by Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law portrays the young Hogwarts professor) in 1945. Their duel became the stuff of legend and was even mentioned on Dumbledore's Chocolate Frog card.
Unbeknownst to the Wizarding World, Dumbledore's victory against Grindelwald also nabbed him the all-powerful Elder Wand — the first of the Deathly Hallows. Before any of that can happen, however, Albus needs to find a way to break the blood pact (a concept introduced in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2) that forbids him from fighting the man he once loved. With the first two movies set in 1926 and 1927 respectively, we've still got a ways to go until that final confrontation in '45 (the same year WWII ended), especially since five Fantastic Beasts films are planned in total.
Despite his limited magical knowledge amid the fomenting magical melee, Jacob still his own set of witchy problems to contend with, mainly the fact that the woman he loves, Queenie Goldstein (Alison Sudol), has turned to the Dark Side. Fogler was a little more hush-hush on the fallout of her allying with Grindelwald, but voiced his excitement at diving back into an ever-expanding genre mythos.
"I love that character so much, man," he continued. "It’s just great to be able to do franchises where you have sequels, or even The Walking Dead, where you get to keep on coming back for different seasons and the character grows. I get to come back and I get to play Jacob as if he has grown and been affected by the last two movies. For an actor, that’s just priceless."
To help himself get into Jacob's headspace, Fogler listens to a lot of music from the 1920s and 1930s, the retro decades in which the Fantastic Beasts movies are set.
"You can find the song that just sums up everything, that will just speak to you and it will just put you in the right place you need to be for the scene," he said. "A lot of songs [are] about heartbreak and that’s at the center of Jacob and Queenie’s relationship."
It doesn't hurt that the actor's grandfather was a New York City baker, just like Mr. Kowalski.
"When I get into the costume, I feel like I’m playing a relative," Fogler admitted. "Any time I get to come back and play the character, it’s almost like Doctor Frankenstein. ‘It’s alive!’ There’s such a pleasure to be like, ‘Oh, my creation is back again!’ It just feels good. Once I’m shaven down and I got that mustache going, it’s pretty easy. I’m just like, ‘Ok, there he is!’ Like I said, he’s in my blood."
J.K. Rowling, who wrote the first two movies by herself, co-wrote the third movie's screenplay with Potter movie alum Steve Kloves. David Yates, another vet of the magical franchise, returns to direct. The story's main action is said to be taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Eddie Redmayne reprises his role of magical zoologist Newt Scamander, leading a band of familiar faces like Katherine Waterston (Tina Goldstein, Queenie's sister), Ezra Miller (Credence Barebone, revealed to be a Dumbledore), Callum Turner (Theseus Scamander, Newt's brother), and Jessica Williams (Eulalie Hicks, a professor at Ilvermorny, the American Hogwarts).
Right now, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 3 is still scheduled to hit theaters Nov. 12 of next year.