Undoubtedly, there’s a lot of potential to be had in the sequels of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The first movie successfully explored a wildly different and dangerous part of the Wizarding World, but there are still plenty references to the events of the Harry Potter series, some of which occur over fifty years later. The Fantastic Beasts sequels look set to follow Newt Scamander (#EddieRedymane), Tina Goldstein (#KatherineWaterston) on their adventures, but it will also tell the story of a younger Albus Dumbledore before he became headmaster of Hogwarts.
But as the two series begin to converge with #Dumbledore present and correct, could this mean that another familiar face will return from the Harry Potter series? Is there room for the origin story of a certain feathered friend?
Ordering One Phoenix, To Go!
I am referring of course to Fawkes the Phoenix, the constant and capable companion of Albus Dumbledore, who we first meet in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Described as a red and gold swan-like creature, some fans — particularly those who have not read the books — may wonder why on earth we’d really want to see him again, but to do so does Fawkes a great disservice. He may not have many appearances throughout the entirety of the saga, but Fawkes is one of the most important — and yes, fantastic — beasts in the Wizarding World of #HarryPotter.
Certainly, Dumbledore reveals to Harry that both his and Voldemort’s wands contain Fawkes’s tail feathers, which meant that they refused to battle each other in the Graveyard scene in The Goblet of Fire. Plus, Fawkes frequently comes to the aid of our protagonists in times of need, such as when he brought Harry the Sorting Hat to fight the Basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets. In fact, he even saves Harry’s life a short while later as Dumbledore says himself:
“They can carry immensely heavy loads, their tears have healing powers and they make highly faithful pets.”
Indeed, it’s kind of implied that he was the inspiration behind the name of the organization that fought to stop Lord Voldemort taking over the Wizarding World: the Order of the Phoenix. And speaking of novel and film that uses that name, Fawkes is also show to be very handy when it comes to quick getaways, as the below clip shows:
But wait, surely Fawkes couldn’t be around at the time of Fantastic Beasts? Surely phoenixes can’t live that long? Well in actual fact, they can! Dumbledore explains that, as the years pass, these mythical creatures become more and more decrepit until they burst into flame and are reborn anew, meaning that they can survive until an immense age. OK, so even if he is alive all the way back in 1926, how could Fawkes fit into the Fantastic Beasts series?
A Matter of Canon
JK Rowling suggests that Dumbledore and Fawkes have been companions for some time, but she gives few other details about their relationship. Apart from the fact that Fawkes has only ever belonged to Dumbledore, she hasn’t confirmed anything else pertaining to how or when they first met. However, we can roughly infer when this meeting may have occurred from the Harry Potter canon itself.
As we know, sometime prior to 1937/8 the wand maker Garrick Ollivander acquired two of Fawkes’s feathers and fashioned them into the two wands which later selected Harry Potter and #LordVoldemort to wield them.
But why the significance of 1937/8? It is revealed that in The Chamber of Secrets, which takes place in 1992/3 that the Chamber was opened 50 years beforehand, when Rubeus Hagrid was in his third year. Naturally this puts in the period of 1942/3. At this time Voldemort was fifteen and a Slytherin prefect, meaning that he must have purchased his wand in 1937/8 upon his acceptance into Hogwarts when he was eleven years old. Therefore Ollivander will have had to have encountered Fawkes sometime beforehand.
Could Fawkes have been a wild phoenix when Ollivander took his feathers? It’s surely possible, but the fact that both he and Dumbledore know precisely just how many feathers have been made into wands suggests that they were both present to monitor the situation. Indeed, it's revealed that Ollivander informed Dumbledore the moment that Harry purchased the second wand, which adds credence to the idea that Ollivander made the wands when Dumbledore and Fawkes were acquainted.
Even if the wizard and bird came together several years beforehand, this still places us sometime around 1926, which, conveniently for us, is when Fantastic Beasts takes place.
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Fitting in Fawkes
Certainly, if we stop and think about it, the sequels of Fantastic Beasts are the perfect time for Fawkes to be brought back into the Harry Potter universe. The timing of it all fits, and the clue is in the very title! Plus, the most magical and memorable scenes of the first movie were when we became acquainted with Frank the Thunderbird, the Bowtruckles, and who could forget that naughty Niffler? Why not add a fiery fowl to the mix? This could really work well, especially if the sequels are going to globetrotting beyond Paris and London. As #NewtScamander reveals in his titular book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, phoenixes are usually found in China, India and Egypt, which could make for even more exotic locations for the series to explore.
But there are also more practical reasons for the series to include Fawkes the phoenix. It’s clear that with the inclusion of #JohnnyDepp as Gellert Grindelwald, JK Rowling is planning to closely integrate the Fantastic Beasts series into that of her original seven novels by filling in the generalized parts of Dumbledore’s past. By ending the series in 1945, the year that Dumbledore defeated #Grindelwald, the stage is set to learn more about the Hogwarts Headmaster than ever before. And what better way to explore these formative years of this great character than including the origin story of one of his greatest allies?
Moreover, in his book Newt Scamander gives the phoenix an XXXX classification, the second highest in his book which usually means that it is a highly dangerous creature. But as he, or rather JK Rowling details:
“The phoenix gains a XXXX rating not because it is aggressive, but because very few wizards have ever succeeded in domesticating it.”
Now wouldn’t that be something really special to witness? The young, uniquely talented and troubled Dumbledore, possibly with Newt Scamander in tow, seeking to tame the formidable bird. In the process, we could see the pair accomplish what few other wizards and witches have ever done, as Fawkes and Dumbledore grow fond of each other and overcome their literal and personal demons.
Marley and Me, E.T., Life of Pi, How to Train Your Dragon. All of these movies are widely beloved due to the strength of the central, burgeoning relationships between man/woman/child and their animal companions. Isn’t that something which Fantastic Beasts could explore in a compelling, and magical manner?
If Dumbledore and Grindelwald are going to be central characters going forwards, it would be lovely to see another, softer side to the heroic and iconic Dumbledore. And wouldn’t it be cool to see both of them working together in their prime? Fawkes has frequently assisted our heroes in their conflicts, attacking the Basilisk head on in The Chamber of Secrets, and in The Order of the Phoenix novel, he even sacrificed himself to save Dumbledore from being hit by Voldemort’s Killing Curse. The bad ass swallowed the spell whole, but don't fret Fawkes fans! He was reborn shortly afterwards!
Could we see more of Fawkes in Fantastic Beasts? It’s certainly a possibility. After all, with #JKRowling penning the movie sequels, she is ensuring that her Wizarding World is more interconnected than ever before, and story wise it makes sense that Dumbledore would seek help — he’s going to need all the help he can get in his final battle with Grindelwald. The most powerful wizard in the world facing off against the second most evil wizard ever, with a phoenix in tow? Now that would be the stuff of legend! And, not only this, it would mean that we get to hear his awesome theme tune again.
Do you want to see Fawkes return in the Fantastic Beasts movies?
[Source: ITV Press Conference Transcript]