Prior to today, my excitement level for Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them was something like an "Exceeds Expectations" on the N.E.W.T. scale, but the drop of today's new trailer has upgraded it firmly into "Outstanding" territory.
The trailer takes all of the exciting stuff from the previous two — outlandish magical creatures, the threat of something sinister afoot in NYC, and the hint at a war between the No-Maj and the wizarding community — and ramps it up to 11, giving me all kinds of "Accio November!" feels.
But the really big news is the mention of Gellert Grindelwald, the young genius whose brief but intense friendship with Albus Dumbledore eventually resulted in the rise of the Dark Arts across Europe. What's the significance of that little easter egg? Before I dive into my theory, check out the new trailer below in all of its beastly glory. (And yes, that's 'Hedwig's Theme' on the soundtrack. Join me in freaking out a bit.)
Colin Farrell's mysterious character has the most tantalizing line in the trailer: "We've lived in the shadows for too long. I ask all of you: Who does this protect? Us — or them?", adding later: "I refuse to bow down any longer." It seems that Newt and his suitcase enter New York City just in time to bring simmering tensions between the wizarding and no-maj communities to the surface.
Enough talk, though — what's my theory? Farrell is ostensibly playing Percival Graves, MACUSA's Director of Magical Security, whom it seems has gone rogue and deserted his brief. Graves seems to want the magical community to emerge from the shadows and display its superiority. Doesn't that sound like pretty much exactly like the M.O. of a certain dark wizard?
I could be wildly wrong, but I reckon J.K. Rowling has a major twist in store for us. What if Percival Graves is in fact Gellert Grindelwald? It's easy to assume another wizard's identity (Barty Crouch Jr. impersonated Alastor Moody for an entire school year) in order to infiltrate an organization and bring it down from within, and a dark wizard like Grindelwald would certainly know how to create Polyjuice potion.
If Grindelwald wanted to start a war with the muggle community, the best way to do that would be to create chaos inside the Magical Congress of the United States of America. It seems Newt releasing his fantastic beasts by accident in a city populated by millions of muggles could be the trigger for Grindelwald, in the mask of Graves, bringing his scheme to fruition.
Ultimately we know that Grindelwald's reign of terror was ended during the legendary duel of 1945 with Dumbledore, so if Farrell is playing Albus's nemesis, we know he'll make it out of the movie alive. It also opens up the possibility that the second movie in the Fantastic Beasts trilogy could jump forward in time a few years and introduce Dumbledore... neatly setting up that big duel as the climax to the final movie. Considering J.K. Rowling plants seeds and follows through with the harvest years later, leaving nothing to chance, I wouldn't bet against it.
If there's a flaw to the theory, Colin Farrell doesn't look particularly like the younger or older Grindelwald we saw in the Harry Potter movies, but that feels like a minor detail, and everything else fits like a glove.
You can bet your Gringotts vault of golden galleons that J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. will be sitting on any twists they have lined up like a dragon on an egg until Fantastic Beasts hatches on November 16. Until then, we're in the dark without a lumos. Tell me what you think of the theory in the comments below.