The beasts in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald are not part of the major plot despite their very prominent placement in the film's title. This time around, it’s not about tracking down Newt Scamander’s escaped beasts or figuring out what creature might be attacking a city; instead, the film focuses on the case of the other titular character, Gellert Grindelwald.
But just because the beasts aren’t front and center in the plot doesn’t mean they don’t play an essential role in its events, and not just because of Newt’s presence. Yes, we see plenty of beasts being taken care of by the magizoologist, but we also see how beasts are a part of the larger magical world from New York to Paris, whether they’re new like the Zouwu or familiar like the Thestrals.
**SPOILER WARNING: This story contains spoilers for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.**
Some of the beasts just have fun, brief moments while others help characters in ways that, without them, wizarding history might look quite different. The recognizable beasts still shine and the news beasts have us hoping we see them again in the next film. All of them are rather memorable, with a few standing out for their weirdness and others for how dangerous they are.
So, which beasts stand out in our memories the most after watching The Crimes of Grindelwald? Here’s how we’d rank all the major beasts in the film, counting down to our favorite appearance!
Shy, spindly legged beasts that only leave their burrows at the full moon, the mooncalves show up briefly in The Crimes of Grindelwald and were slightly more prominent in its predecessor Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. We only see the mooncalves for a bit, but they still make quite an impression thanks to their unique appearance.
Maybe it’s the big eyes, but these might be one of the most adorable beasts we’ve met yet!
We’ve seen what a phoenix is like in all its glory in the original Harry Potter series due to Fawkes. That doesn't mean it's not still a thrill to see one of the beautiful birds in action here!
It’s only toward the end of The Crimes of Grindelwald that it's revealed a creature spotted in the movie is one of these loyal, fiery birds. This phoenix makes a fittingly unforgettable entrance that will just add to the number of questions you want answered in the next installment.
The Thestral is another beast we’re familiar with from J.K. Rowling’s original work. The black, skeletal, winged horses are only visible to those who have witnessed death. We’ve seen them on the Hogwarts grounds, pulling carriages leading to the school, and flying with students on their backs. Now we see them flying with a carriage as part of Grindelwald's transportation at the beginning of the film.
It’s here they go through some impressive action as the captured wizard escapes, and watching them fly through the air during the fight is definitely memorable. They’re a perfect fit for the mood in this scene and it’s interesting to see yet another way Thestrals are used in the wizarding world.
There isn’t much time spent on the Kappa, but we get a decent look at the creature for the first time in a film, which is exciting!
In Paris, this Kappa is part of the Circus Arcanus. The Japanese water demon has been mentioned in Harry Potter before and is known for being quite dangerous. They feed on human blood and can be persuaded not to attack if you take the time to write the person’s name in a cucumber.
The small twig-like Bowtruckles were essential to Newt’s first adventure. Or, at least his friend Pickett was.
We see Newt interacting with the Bowtruckles when he was still at Hogwarts, but it’s mostly Pickett who earns the beasts this spot on the list, as he returns and once again plays a key part in helping Newt. Bowtruckles are quite good at picking locks, a skill that makes Pickett fundamental to helping his wizard friend out of a rather sticky situation when he gets locked up with Jacob and Tina.
These spirit familiars chase Tina, Newt, and Leta Lestrange in a fun sequence in the movie. We learn that they protect the French Ministry of Magic in another fascinating example of how beasts are used in all different ways. The Matagots might mostly look like cats, but their blue eyes, speed, and ability to duplicate make them really stand out from the beasts we’ve met before.
This moose-like creature is seen among the rest of Newt’s beasts and makes an impression as soon as you see him!
The Leucrotta has large antlers and a very big mouth. We get to see a bit of the beast’s relationship with Newt, and Jacob also encounters the beast in the film. While it may not do much else, it’s fun to see another unique beast that's in Newt's life!
One of the first new beasts we see in The Crimes of Grindelwald is a Chupacabra — and it’s on Grindelwald’s side!
The six-legged lizard-like beast seems quite attached to the notorious wizard and dangerous to anyone who might want to stop or hurt him. The Chupacabra puts its teeth to use not long after we meet it!
Unfortunately, that loyalty is unsurprisingly not returned by Grindelwald and just as we were starting to see what this beast could do we were forced to say goodbye as Grindelwald tossed it out the flying carriage.
We’ve heard of Augureys before, but it’s appearance in The Crimes of Grindelwald finally gives us a look at the beast.
The cries of an Augurey were at first thought to foreshadow death, but it was later discovered that the cries only predicted rain. In the movie, we get a good look at the creature with its gray and green feathers and even get a sense of its personality in how it interacts with everything else around it.
These small beasts move around quickly, so it can be hard to get a good look at them. However, they seem to be small lizard-like beasts with tails and wings. Their tails can create sparks that can be quite a fire hazard if you're not careful!
First, we see them in a cage at the Circus Arcanus before they escape and we get to see what they're like free. These beasts are a fun new addition we meet only for a short time but hopefully will see again in the future.
Kelpies are another beast we’ve heard of in Harry Potter before and not seen, which is why it was a fun surprise to see one in The Crimes of Grindelwald. It doesn’t just appear either. It’s part of a really fun scene that shows us the magnificent beast interacting with Newt.
First, we learn they can be rather difficult to handle. That’s no surprise since they lure people onto their backs and then eat them after taking them to the bottom of the body of water they’re in. They’re also shapeshifters. Newt’s Kelpie takes on the most common form of a horse with a bulrush mane and the only way to tame it is to put a bridle on it. We get to watch Newt do this in a great scene that finally shows us just what a Kelpie can do!
The Niffler was in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them a lot, but this time the beast does a lot more than steal things. It helps Newt in a few ways, including at a key point in the end.
The adult Niffler risks its life to succeed in completing an essential mission Newt gives it when listening to Grindelwald’s speech. It’s a success that just might swing things in the favor of those who are standing against Grindelwald!
Of course, the Niffler’s not alone in this film and that helped it earn this second spot on our ranking. Now there are baby Nifflers and they are even more adorable in the film than in the photos you’ve seen online! These baby Nifflers are already stealing stuff when we meet them, but they’re so cute you don't really want Newt to stop them.
The Zouwu is the new beast that is probably in The Crimes of Grindelwald the most and makes such a spectacular entrance that it definitely deserves the No. 1 spot on this list.
The Zouwu is a huge Chinese creature that can travel a 1,000 miles in a day and wreaks havoc in Paris when it escapes the Circus Arcanus. Newt is the only one able to calm it and soon the two become fast friends, with the Zouwu willing to help him and his friends when they need it most. The Zouwu is a breathtaking beast from its looks to its cat-like personality and we hope we see it again in the next film!