There are spoilers for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald ahead…
The Wizarding World is filled with fantastic stories (and beasts) that go well beyond the main story of the Harry Potter books and movies. J.K. Rowling, the creator and writer of nearly all things in the Wizarding World, has constantly been filling in blanks and elaborating on events almost since the first book was published. Between her Pottermore website and her social media accounts, I would wager she’s nearly doubled her original word count in this magical world. This brings me to the Fanastic Beasts franchise and the story they’re telling in those films. The first movie was entertaining enough, but it felt like they were trying to put two complete stories in one movie. A story about bad guys and a story about Newt and his animals. The second movie took a long time to build the world and characters for the actual story of the franchise, Dumbledore and Grindelwald. These two have history together before these films, and it’s that history that I think would make a much better story than what we’re getting in Fantastic Beasts. As a matter of fact, the story I wanted would leave room for the story they’re currently telling and would have provided Warner Bros. a chance to make even more movies. Let’s take a look at the history I am talking about.
Albus Dumbledore is loved by many in the stories and in real life. He orchestrated many great things and defeated many bad things. He also loves to keep his hands clean and uses others to do his dirty work… I think he’s kind of an ass for that. However, the happy old man we met in the Harry Potter movies is not who he always was. Dumbledore had a rough childhood filled with a father in Azkaban, a mentally ill sister, and a mother that died leaving him to take care of his family. This led him to become quite angry and resentful and, following a fateful meeting with Gellert Grindelwald, he began a turn towards being anti-muggle.
Dumbledore meets Grindelwald in Godric’s Hollow after graduating from Hogwarts. Dumby and Grindy become quick friends and went after two things together, the three items of the Deathly Hallows and getting rid of the law requiring secrecy for witches and wizards. During this time they became quite close, lovers it seems. Dumbledore’s turn towards the dark side, yes I just said that, caught the attention of his brother Aberforth. A confrontation between the two Dumbledores and Grindelwald resulted in an errant curse killing the young Ariana Dumbledore, who tried to stop the three from dueling. This event shook Albus and ended his relationship with both his brother and Grindelwald.
Now why is this story more interesting than the one about stopping Grindelwald and the Wizarding War? It’s more personal. The stakes are not world wide, magical or non-magical. This means the films would be very character driven and with such deep and interesting history it seems like a shame to only get it in bits of flashbacks or conversations.
I would have done this as a duology with the first film introducing Dumbledore and showing us his childhood, the tragedies, some of his time at school, and him dealing with having to take care of his siblings towards the end. I would have ensured the audience understood his frustrations and vulnerability. This film would have also introduced Grindelwald and his desire to find the Deathly Hallows and it would introduce his motivations for magical supremacy. The end of the film would be them meeting and Grindelwald telling Dumbledore about the Hallows.
The next movie would cover the relationship and search for the Hallows. It would cover Grindelwald’s devotion to his cause and Dumbledore’s roller coaster of belief in it. The first act would be the search for the Hallows, the second the stressed relationship, and the final act would culminate in the fateful duel and its after effects.
This could be easily followed by the story they started in The Crimes of Grindelwald and I feel it would give us a better understanding of the relationship between Grindelwald and Dumbledore. Now some people will say that “we already know that story” and “Fantastic Beasts is a story we don’t know” and they have a point. However, there’s a large amount of people that only know the movies and I am certain plenty of knowledgeable fans that would love to see this story on the screen to go deeper than the writings have.
As for Fantastic Beasts, neither movie has blown me away, but I am interested in seeing this great Wizarding War. I don’t think Newt is the best vehicle to tell the story though, and I don’t know if we’ll be able to connect enough with Albus and Gellert and their history through flashbacks or conversations about the past.
What do you think about this history? Would you have liked a movie or two covering early Grindelwald and Dumbledore history? What are your feelings on Fantastic Beasts? Let us know in the comments below!