Like many Harry Potter fans, I went into “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” hopeful and bursting with excitement. However, upon leaving the theatre, I couldn’t help but feel the movie wasn’t meant to expand on the intricate universe J.K. Rowling had created, rather a cash grab trying to capitalize on the success of the Harry Potter series. The film incorporated characters from the Harry Potter series that left me wondering if the writers bothered to fact check with the books before throwing characters into the 1920s.
During a scene at Hogwarts that shows Albus Dumbledore teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts (despite the fact that the books said he taught Transfiguration), a young Minerva McGonagall makes a brief cameo as a professor. Although she has little screen time, the scene leaves fans confused and angry. In “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”, which takes place in 1995, McGonagall tells Professor Umbridge that she had been working at Hogwarts for 39 years. That would make her first year of teaching in 1956, but the plot hole digs even deeper. Taking into account facts given about McGonagall’s life throughout the books and from J.K. Rowling herself, fans have worked out her birthday to be October 4, 1935, eight years after the film takes place.
As big as the McGonagall plot hole is, it isn’t even the most glaring one. As Grindelwald works to gather supporters on his mission to establish wizard dominance over muggles, he takes a particular interest in Credence Barebone, an American orphan. Credence is an Obscurial, a wizard who has developed a dark parasitical magical force, known as an Obscurus. An Obscurus can be very destructive and Grindelwald wants to use this to his advantage. The end of the movie leaves fans shocked when Grindelwald reveals that Credence is actually Aurelius Dumbledore, Albus Dumbledore’s brother. Once more, impossible changes have been made to the storyline. Credence could not be who Grindelwald claims him to be, because at the time of his birth Albus’ father was in Azkaban and his mother was already dead. Either Rowling is changing her original storyline, or Grindelwald is lying.
It seems that in order to keep with all of twists and turns you have to have significant knowledge of the Potterverse, but not so much that you notice the plot holes. Overall, I still enjoyed the movie. As a lifelong Potter fan, I take any opportunity to be transported back into this magical world. The visuals were beautiful, and a very exciting storyline has been set up if you ignore the plot holes. However, I am hopeful that Rowling can clean up the mess that has been created. On December 10 a fan tweeted, “I am so loving the Fantastic Beasts films. What can we expect from the next one? Can [you] describe it in three words?”
Rowling’s response was, “Answers are given.” The third installment of “Fantastic Beasts” is due to come out in November of 2020. All that we can do now is wait and see what these answers may be.