While last year’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was originally pitched to audiences as its own standalone story set in the Wizarding World, the movie itself was chock-full of wonderful Easter eggs and nods to the Harry Potter books and film. In addition to the little details and nods, this first movie made it perfectly clear that the future movies will have more than just passing references. In placing Gellert Grindelwald at the center of this story, they have, for better or worse, linked it strongly to the original Harry Potter lore.
One of the other key ways they acknowledged the Harry Potter franchise was in a seeming romantic interest for Newt Scamander, our quirky protagonist. While walking around his fantastic beast zoo inside his suitcase, Queenie (a psychic), noticed a photo of Zoe Kravitz nearby. Without Newt mentioning it, Queenie instantly knew her name: Leta Lestrange. While the delivery was little more than a throwaway line, hardcore Potter fans recognized it instantly.
For those unfamiliar, the family name Lestrange also belongs to Bellatrix Lestrange, the deranged Death Eater, murderer of Sirius Black, and lover of Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter series. In the films, she was portrayed by the wonderfully creepy Helena Bonham-Carter, and was likely considered one of the primary foes apart from Voldemort himself. Now, so far, that’s all we really know about Leta Lestrange: her name. In all honesty, a name means very little in and of itself, and that’s not necessarily a mark of insanity for the character, but when speaking with Collider, actress Zoe Kravitz gave us a little nugget about what we can likely expect from her character in future Fantastic Beasts movies — though she admittedly had very little to go on, given the great secrecy surrounding the material.
“The relationship between Leta and Newt Scamander is a complex relationship, so I think there will be a lot of time for that to grow and develop, which will be fun.”
So at least, from the sound of it, this won’t be a tease that culminates in a one-time appearance. We expect to see all kinds of conflicting emotions from Newt and Leta throughout the series. It can certainly make for some great scenes if handled properly. But sadly, Kravitz doesn’t know herself what the future holds, as she hasn’t been able to peek at the script for the upcoming movie.
“I know nothing! I have an idea, based off of when I auditioned, but I know nothing. Even when I went to go do my chemistry read with Eddie, he was trying to help me piece together what was happening in the scene that we were reading. He doesn’t get to see anything either, so he was like, 'I think based off of this line and this line, and what we shot here and here, this is what’s going on.' We had to guess. It was funny to watch him, trying to piece it all together.”
It’s always very interesting to hear all the secrecy that surrounds these types of projects. In this industry, it certainly seems like most actors have lost the power to select their projects based on quality, and a lot of them hop onto project on little more than good faith.
“The script was very under wraps, so even signing onto it, I hadn’t read the script. I just went off of who was involved, and J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter films, so I knew it was going to be incredible, especially with how involved J.K. is. And then, I got to see the film, after I was already signed on, and it exceeded my expectations. That was a really interesting experience, to sit back and watch a movie that you loved, and then get to walk out and say, “I get to be in that!” It’s a very cool thing.”
Let’s hope that Leta Lestrange ends up as a character worth teasing. If there was one big complaint I personally had regarding the film, it had to do with the lack of development and character arc of Newt himself. Perhaps with a skeleton in his closet on full display, we’ll get a proper reaction out of him that can lead to some true depth.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is out in theaters now.
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