Enormous spoiler warning: 'Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them' appears to contain a huge plot twist which you might not want revealed until you actually see the movie. If so, turn around right now. Read on for an exclusive.
Ever since J.K. Rowling's surprise revelation that Fantastic Beasts would be the first in a series of five movies — and that the franchise's big story arc would concern the rise of the dark wizard Gelert Grindelwald — speculation has been rife about when we'll meet the corrupt wizard and which actor will bring him to life.
That intensified last week with the news that Johnny Depp has been cast in an unknown role from Fantastic Beasts 2 (we don't actually know what it's called yet) onwards, igniting a bonfire of guesswork about whether or not we'll actually meet Grindelwald in this movie.
Thanks to a new interview with Justice League star Ezra Miller (who plays Credence here), we now that we will meet Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts — and that he won't be played by Depp.
Speaking at an event covered by the Harry Potter fansite Mugglenet, Miller dropped a major Bertie Bott's bean-spilling exclusive about Grindelwald, which I imagine Warner Bros. won't be particularly happy about considering how well this movie's secrets have been guarded until now.
Although Mugglenet isn't a mainstream news source and this information should be taken with a pinch of salt, the site seems to have been present at many Fantastic Beasts roundtable interviews and panels over the past few days.
Revealed: Here's Who's Playing Grindelwald In Fantastic Beasts
Here's what Miller had to say — last chance to look away. The interviewer asks the question as though she believes Percival Graves (Colin Farrell) is in fact Grindelwald in disguise, and Ezra's response provides lumos levels of illumination.
Q: "Is Grindelwald Graves the entire movie or is there a point where he becomes him?"
Miller: "That is a fascinating question. I do not know that. It was not scripted. If there is a transitional point we were never told about it but that does not mean that it did not happen because we were not told about a lot of things. [laughs]"
Q: "Do you know where the real Graves is?"
Miller: "No but if this is a Barty Crouch Junior situation he is probably at the bottom of one of those trunks."
You don't have to have passed your NEWTs with flying colors to work out that this essentially confirms that the Graves we meet in Fantastic Beasts is not Graves at all, but Grindelwald impersonating the MACUSA's Director of Magical Security.
It's a twist I'd previously second-guessed, the biggest clue being the presence of the Deathly Hallows symbol in Graves' character poster.
The scenario is almost a perfect mirror to Barty Crouch Jr.'s use of Polyjuice Potion to impersonate Mad-Eye Moody in Harry Potter & The Goblet Of Fire, right down to the coincidence that both Moody and Graves are renowned Aurors.
So, Who The Hell Is Johnny Depp Playing?
So, what does that mean for Johnny Depp — is the Pirates actor playing an all-new character in the sequel? Probably not. If the Graves we meet here is in fact Grindelwald, and given that we know from the history books that Grindelwald does not die any time soon, we'll need to meet the real Grindelwald at some point.
I'd be quite willing to bet my entire life savings of gold galleons on the probability that Grindelwald's real face will be revealed in the final scene of the movie, and that the face in question will belong to Johnny Depp, whose face is so iconic that it would give the film an instant-classic cliffhanger (and, you know, give Depp a hit movie).
That doesn't necessarily mean this movie will be the last we see of Farrell, either. Assuming Graves doesn't die in whichever dark, damp, freezing cell he's been locked in by Grindelwald, the Auror may be back to work against the dark wizard in future movies (which, again, is exactly how the Mad-Eye thing played out).
To be honest, when a twist is that good, you may as well use it twice. With this spoiler, fair to say my hype levels for Fantastic Beasts are through the roof. The David Yates-directed movie hits theaters November 18 in the US.
How do you feel about J.K. Rowling's big Grindelwald-as-Graves twist?