Thanks to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, we can all see the future. We may not know how the adventures of Newt Scamander will turn out, but thanks to the Harry Potter films and books, we know what happens to many of the famous characters seen or mentioned in the prequel. Connecting the dots between these two time periods can be tough, but it’s part of the fun, and we’re here to help.
The main players in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. All Images: Warner Bros.
Below, we’ve compiled several important links Fantastic Beasts has to the world of Harry Potter, and we speculate how it might all play out. It involves spoilers, though, so don’t read until you’ve seen the film.
The back of the head of Grindewald, played by Johnny Depp.
At the start of Fantastic Beasts, we’re taken through a slew of newspaper headlines that make it pretty clear Gellert Grindelwald (played by Johnny Depp) is the villain of this time period. Later, it’s revealed that Grindelwald was posing as the auror Graves to acquire an Obscurus that had been terrorising New York. Why? We don’t exactly know, except that it’s not good.
What we do know is that Grindelwald is a famous dark wizard who was eventually captured by Albus Dumbledore in a legendary duel. This happens about 20 years after the events of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, though, so we know Grindelwald doesn’t stay captured for very long. It’s also pretty obvious things are leading up towards a showdown with Dumbledore. That rivalry has many, many layers, one of which is an argument that’s at the heart not just of Fantastic Beasts, but Harry Potter, too — the divide between the magical and non-magical worlds.
Michael Gambon as a much older Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films.
Though Dumbledore, the iconic headmaster of Hogwarts in Harry Potter‘s time, isn’t seen in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, he is mentioned. When interrogating Newt Scamander, Graves explains Newt was kicked out of Hogwarts but one professor defended him. “What makes Albus Dumbledore so fond of you?” he asks.
We don’t know the answer to that question, though we’ll certainly find out as Dumbledore has been confirmed to appear in the second film in the prequel series. We can speculate, however, that it had to do with Dumbledore’s uncanny ability to see the good and potential in people. No matter how many times Harry Potter did something bad, Dumbledore stood up for him; he stood up for Hagrid when he was expelled as a kid as well. He knew the importance of those students and if Newt is the star of these stories, he must have a similar importance.
Also, that one line lets us know something that some Potter-novices may not realise: Dumbledore is old. He has been teaching at Hogwarts since the 1910s, 80 years before the birth of Harry Potter. He’s in his 40s at the time of Fantastic Beasts, teaching transfiguration at the UK wizarding school.
Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange in the original Harry Potter films.
The Lestrange Family
The name “Lestrange” is familiar to Harry Potter fans as that of Bellatrix Lestrange, the evil witch who stood by the side of Voldemort and killed Sirius Black and the parents of Neville Longbottom. She hasn’t been born yet in the time of Fantastic Beasts but someone with her surname, Leta Lestrange, is mentioned.
Leda was a good friend of Newt’s at Hogwarts and may have been responsible for the event that got him expelled (an event that’s reportedly mentioned in Rowling’s original screenplay, but not in the final film). Either way, he’s very much in love with her and carries her picture in his briefcase, even though they haven’t spoken in some time. We don’t know how she’s related to Bellatrix, or if she’s going to end up as evil as the rest of the family, but she will be playing a bigger role in the films going ahead.
[Note: The end credits of Fantastic Beasts list the character played by actress Zoe Kravitz as “Lestrange”. We’ve checked with Warner Bros. to confirm the first name is Leta.]
A still from The Tale of the Three Brothers sequence in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.
The Deathly Hallows
The Deathly Hallows, the three legendary objects in the wizarding world that make one invincible (the Elder Wand, Resurrection Stone and Cloak of Invisibility), are not mentioned in Fantastic Beasts, but Credence Barebone does hold onto a necklace with the Hallows’ very recognisable symbol. This makes sense because Credence is a non-magical person who is obsessed with magic. Him believing in the stories of the Deathly Hallows is a subtle but important character trait.
However, it’s much more than that. We know from the seventh book in J.K. Rowling’s series that the Deathly Hallows were also crucial items in the time of Fantastic Beasts. Nothing good comes of people who seek them, which we know in large part because Grindelwald is obsessed with acquiring the Hallows. They’re one of the main things he and Dumbledore first bond over, although they also tear the two apart. At some point, Grindelwald acquires the Elder Wand, only to lose it years later in that aforementioned duel with Dumbledore. Again, these are likely events we will see in the next few films.
Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone, a major player in Fantastic Beasts.
We’re first introduced to the idea of an Obscurus in Fantastic Beasts. It’s a powerful, untamed force created when young wizards are forced to repress their magical powers. Most people who create them die before the age of 10, but somehow Credence not only lives longer than most, he survives its extraction (in a scene deleted from the movie).
What does this have to do with Harry Potter? Well, Screencrush points out that the idea of the Obscurus sounds very much like what Dumbledore said killed his sister Ariana — she tried to repress her magic, but she couldn’t control it and “it exploded out of her”. That means not only does the Obscurus play a major part in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them, but it will continue to take a significant and tragic role in shaping Dumbledore’s life — and therefore the entire wizarding world.
In Fantastic Beasts, Queenie Goldstein is revealed to be a Legilimens, the wizarding world term for a mind-reader. She’s a natural born one, in fact. This is odd, because in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, we saw Snape need to cast a spell to get inside someone’s head. Queenie just seems to just read minds accidentally; she picks up on most people’s thoughts, and when there’s strong emotion involved, it’s even easier for her to do it. The reason Snape used the spell in the book was to teach Harry how to keep Voldemort, who was an accomplished Legilimens, out of his mind. The question is whether Voldemort was so good at it from practise, or if he was naturally gifted like Queenie. And how prominent are natural Legilimens like Queenie in the world?
Newt and his Hufflepuff scarf.
The Harry Potter movies are basically all about two of the four houses of Hogwarts, Gryffindor and Slytherin. It seems that Fantastic Beasts will at least somewhat explore one of the others, Hufflepuff. Though it never comes up explicitly in the film, Newt wears the yellow and black scarf of his house as he heads back to England. (Actor Eddie Redmayne even released a pro-Hufflepuff video online.)
Those are far from the only connections either. Several of the spells that became so popular in the Harry Potter films are used in Fantastic Beasts. House elves are just as prominent in the US wizarding world as they are in the UK, and I’d imagine if you freeze frame that opening sequence, the newspapers are loaded with more references. What did you notice? Tell us in the comments!