The original Harry Potter movies and books created a beloved world full of magic and adventure for many fans. But it’s important to note that Hogwarts and the whole Wizarding World goes well beyond Harry Potter and his story, and that world is about to get a lot darker. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald might be the tenth Harry Potter universe movie overall, but, according to one star, Fantastic Beasts 2 is more like The Empire Strikes Back — a moody, dark sequel — than just another installment.
“It reminds me a lot of The Empire Strikes Back,” Dan Fogler, who plays no-maj Jacob Kowalski, told Entertainment Weekly for the magazine’s new cover story. “The first movie is so positive. It’s sweet and lovely. But this time everybody is really put under fire. People are gonna see this like a 100 times just to get everything. They’re going to be going nuts that they have to wait for the next one.” The Empire Strikes Back, of course, was George Lucas’ second installment in the Star Wars series, and it’s a movie fans largely credit with deepening the conflict and mythology of the Star Wars universe.
Just as The Empire Strikes Back helped solidify the villainous threat of Darth Vader, so too, it seems, will Fantastic Beasts 2 explore Grindelwald, as played by Johnny Depp. Other than Voldemort, Grindelwald is the most dangerous and evil wizard of all time, so it’s understandable why he’d be compared to the likes of Darth Vader. As noted on Pottermore, Grindelwald was a regular wizard growing up, fascinated with the Deathly Hallows legend. He attended Durmstrang Institute, where Viktor Krum went, but then got expelled for “twisted experiments.” He went on to befriend Dumbledore in their teen years, and the two bonded over the idea of wizarding supremacy — a world where muggles were subservient to those with magical abilities.
As revealed in the original Harry Potter series, Grindelwald and Dumbledore had a falling out after a three-way duel with Aberforth, Dumbledore’s brother, ended in the death of Ariana Dumbledore. but as was revealed at the end of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, he’s back and wanting to continue with that plan of conquering the muggle-world.
Whereas in the first film, Grindelwald remained mostly on the periphery of the action, the second film will feature him as a main villain. This time around, Grindelwald is way more powerful, with a lot more firepower behind him, and he’s waging a full rebellion against the non-wizarding world.
What this means is that, like The Empire Strikes Back, The Crimes of Grindelwald will be more intricate and intense than the film that came before it. “The script is labyrinthian,” Eddie Redmayne, who stars as Newt Scamander, told EW. “It’s like you’re going down this maze and Jo is weaving the stories together with such intricacy. Along the way these connections to Harry Potter and secrets are falling at your feet. And there is one… I got to the end and my jaw dropped. There was one thing I didn’t see coming.”
Redmayne may have stopped himself from giving a spoiler, but whatever happens, it’s clear that things in the world of Fantastic Beasts is going to get very dark before it gets light again.