Let’s be honest: some work needs to be done to bring the magic back to the Wizarding World. After the disappointment of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald, and all kinds of other behind-the-scenes situations involving the Harry Potter franchise’s creator, the Dark Mark has been hanging around the series for a couple of years now. A lot rests, then, on upcoming threequel The Secrets Of Dumbledore – can it re-enlighten the series, get fans back on board, and provide a compelling continuation of Newt Scamander’s story? Going by the first trailer, there’s a lot to look forward to – and a considerable effort to tie things back into the characters and locations that people loved in the Potter films. Take a look here.
If you’re a long-time Harry Potter fan, there’s plenty in there that might ignite some warm, fuzzy feelings. This trailer spends a fair amount of time in Hogwarts, heads back to the snowy shambles of Hogsmeade village, returns to the Room Of Requirement, introduces the younger incarnation of Aberforth Dumbledore (here played by Richard Coyle), and teases a little bit of Quidditch too. All that, and there’s time for a spot of breakfast in the Great Hall as well – lucky Muggle baker Jacob Kowalski surely being one of the rare non-magic folk to enter the walls of Hogwarts.
Beyond the bits that tie right back into the original Potter tales, the newer elements look pretty dynamic too. Mads Mikkelsen is playing Grindelwald this time, and is one of the most captivating and charismatic actors around – sure to be a great foil for Jude Law’s excellent young Dumbledore. Meanwhile, Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scamander is back on his beast-based bullshit, this time with his brother Theseus (Callum Turner) in tow, shaking their backsides for some tiny crab creatures. There are hints that Queenie’s (Alison Sudol) shock turn to the dark side in Grindelwald might not be the whole truth, there’s fresh footage of Jessica Williams as incoming hero, teacher Lally Hicks, and Jacob is even given a wand. Oh, and we’d still die for Pickett the bowtruckle, the true hero of this saga.
All that, and there’s still the big cliffhanger to resolve from the previous film. SPOILER WARNING! How exactly is Ezra Miller’s Credence Barebone a member of the Dumbledore family? As well as answers, it looks like we can expect a magical showdown between him and Law’s Dumbledore – hopefully set to be a spectacular wizarding duel. In terms of the returning characters, though, there’s curious little of Katherine Waterston’s Tina Goldstein here.
What we do have is more of a sense of what this film is actually about – notably, Dumbledore assembling a rag-tag team of wizards (plus that fun-loving Muggle) to try and combat Grindelwald’s rising darkness. Here’s the official synopsis: “Professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) knows the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) is moving to seize control of the wizarding world. Unable to stop him alone, he entrusts Magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to lead an intrepid team of wizards, witches and one brave Muggle baker on a dangerous mission, where they encounter old and new beasts and clash with Grindelwald’s growing legion of followers. But with the stakes so high, how long can Dumbledore remain on the sidelines?”
It’s a fun, exciting trailer – but what remains to be seen is if the Potter love, for many corners of the fandom, can be repaired in the light of everything that’s occurred in recent years, particularly in regards to JK Rowling’s social media presence. Where Rowling wrote the previous two Fantastic Beasts screenplays herself, Rowling co-writes this one with Steve Kloves (who adapted all but one of the Potter books) – and David Yates is once again returning as director. Here’s hoping they can conjure a little bit of that magic back when this one hits the screen on 7 April.