Last week was big for Harry Potter fans. At an IMAX fan event streamed live on Youtube, J.K. Rowling revealed that Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them would be the first in a series of five movies. Not only that, but we learned that the series would finally tell the story of Gellert Grindelwald's rise to power, expanding on the vague but curious details we first learned in The Deathly Hallows.
If the confirmation that Grindelwald, the power-crazed Hitler of the magical community (right down his Aryan blond hair, blue eyes and eventual demise in 1945), will be the series' big bad is seriously exciting, a new featurette released for the IMAX event does even more to tease a few aspects of this movie and its sequels. The thrilling featurette is guaranteed to send any Potterhead into a state of intoxication usually reserved for house-elves who happen upon a stash of butterbeer — don't say I didn't warn you!
Check out the video before we take a deeper dive a theory about Newt, memories in a Pensieve and Grindelwald himself.
If you watch and listen closely, I think the featurette is peppered with small hints that the events of Fantastic Beasts (and its four sequels) are being told essentially as flashbacks, taking the form of memories in a Pensieve. Naturally, it would make sense if those memories belonged to Newt Scamander.
At the beginning of the video, Rowling states that we're "learning about a part of history that's talked about in the Potter books, but you never see." The word "learning" suggests an element of being taught, or shown. On the most literal level it could be that, a long time after the movie's 1920s setting, Newt is recounting the events of his life to somebody else.
That's backed up by a recycled line of dialogue from Dumbledore who, talking to Harry while introducing him to the Pensieve for the first time, states that "What you are looking at are memories." There's no apparent reason to include that piece of dialogue if it isn't relevant to what's going on in Fantastic Beasts.
At the IMAX event, Rowling assured the audience "There are ways in which we connect to the Potter books that I think people will find surprising." Clearly, we won't be shocked by the mention or appearance of a character from the world of Harry Potter when Dumbledore is already such a big part of the story — but the Pensieve connection would come as a surprise.
I previously spun a theory that Percival Graves could be an alias of Grindelwald. Like the dark wizard, Graves is convinced that the magical community is superior to the muggle population, and that they should emerge from the shadows and take control. At the time the theory was kind of a wild stab in the dark, but the new footage in the featurette now has me pretty much convinced of it.
The first clue: The movie opens with a shot of Grindelwald (seen only from behind) being attacked by a group of wizards at a Gothic-looking European castle. He wards off the threat with ease, escaping his hideout, and across the pond a newspaper reports on the increasing frequency of Grindelwald's attacks.
Why do we only see him from behind, though? And who is playing Dumbledore's friend-turned-foe — would any actor cast as Gellert really be able to keep their role in the movie a secret? Graves and Grindelwald even have identical haircuts...
J.K. Rowling has stated in past that Dumbledore was gay (the implication being that his feelings for Grindelwald went beyond mere bromance), which, if Graves is Grindelwald in disguise, might explain his line to Newt — "I wonder what makes Albus Dumbledore so fond of you..." could be a suggestion that Dumbledore had ulterior motives for campaigning not to expel Newt from Hogwarts.
But the best and by far the boldest piece of evidence is found in this new character poster for Graves, in the form of the triangular symbol of the Deathly Hallows...
Who sought the immortality that came with being the possessor of the wand, cloak and stone that made up the Hallows? Yup, it was Grindelwald. Of course, as Xenophilius Lovegood pointed out, belief in the Hallows doesn't necessarily indicate a dark wizard — "one simply uses the symbol to reveal oneself to other believers." Still, that's one big coincidence.
Fantastic Beasts arrives in theaters in precisely four and a half weeks, on November 18, so all of these mysteries will come into clearer focus soon. If you have a stronger theory, or a reason Grindelwald can't be Graves, sound off in the comments.
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