(Image credit: Warner Bros.)
Fantastic Beasts 3 is just around the corner – the movie, officially titled Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, is arriving in a matter of months. We finally have a trailer now, too, and you can find a breakdown on the new footage below, along with a list of all the confirmed cast members and characters down below. The biggest change is Mads Mikkelsen taking over the role of villain Gellert Grindelwald after Johnny Depp was asked to leave the franchise.
We’ve also done our best to predict what we might be able to expect from the plot based on rumors and quotes from those in the know, as well as some guesses at where in the world the movie may take us. And that’s just the start of it. So, for all that and more, keep reading to find out everything we know so far about Fantastic Beasts 3: The Secrets of Dumbledore.
Fantastic Beasts 3 release date is April 15, 2022
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)The Fantastic Beasts 3 release date has been brought forward to April 15, 2022, in the US, and slightly earlier on April 8 in the UK. By the time the film hits cinemas, it will have been over three years since the debut of The Crimes of Grindelwald. That’s longer than the two years that elapsed between the first two Fantastic Beasts movies, but it wasn’t all caused by COVID-19…
Instead, Warner Bros announced as far back as April 2019 (via Variety) that the Fantastic Beasts 3 release date would be in late 2021. Why? The company line is “artistry”. “We are incredibly excited about and have confidence in the Fantastic Beasts series,” said Warner Bros Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich. “We all believe this release date will give the filmmakers time and space to allow their artistry to truly flourish and deliver the best possible film to our fans.”
Come March 2020 and Fantastic Beasts 3 was filming and set for cinemas in November the following year. Then, COVID-19 struck. Filming was paused, but then the cameras started rolling again in September.
Warner Bros was seemingly pulling out all the stops to ensure that Fantastic Beasts 3 release date remained in 2021. But then, another blow to production: Johnny Depp was asked to leave the cast following a public court battle with a UK newspaper. The fallout left the studio moving the release date to 2022.
It might be a long time until we see Fantastic Beasts 4, too: Deadline reports that there will be “a break” between the third and fourth movie, and director David Yates is helming another film in the gap.
Fantastic Beasts 3 trailerThe first Fantastic Beasts 3 trailer has been released, which gives us our first proper look at Mads Mikkelsen as the movie’s main antagonist, Gellert Grindelwald. “Our war with the muggles begins today,” he promises ominously in the trailer.
“The world as we know it is coming undone,” says Jude Law’s Albus Dumbledore. “Grindelwald’s pulling it apart with hate.” Aware that he can’t take on the Dark wizard alone, Dumbledore entrusts Newt to lead a team of witches and wizards – and one muggle – on a dangerous mission. Expect encounters with beasts old and new – and Grindelwald’s growing legion of followers. And, of course, there are whatever secrets Dumbledore might be keeping – it looks like we’re set to find out a lot of new information about the Hogwarts headmaster’s backstory and the skeletons in his closet.
Fantastic Beasts 3 plot
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)Following the comparative disappointment of The Crimes of Grindelwald, Warner Bros seemed to acknowledge they had some extra work to do on the Fantastic Beasts 3 plot.
“The second film didn’t perform as well as the first, but I think we know what we need to do to get the third film hopefully even better than the first one,” Warner Bros CEO Kevin Tsujihara admitted to the Los Angeles Times in February 2019. “And J.K. Rowling is really working hard now on that third script, and we’re going to get it right. She has an incredible vision of where she wants to go with this that is incredibly exciting.
“The hardest part of the franchise is you have such a big core fan base. That fan base really knows the lore and they want to go deep into these characters. But what you don’t want to do is intimidate people. You want to be able to create a standalone movie that’s enjoyable for someone who isn’t steeped in the lore.”
This time around, J.K. Rowling’s getting extra writing assistance from Steve Kloves, who scripted all but one of the Potter movies (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the exception). There’s also plenty of experience behind the camera, where David Yates helms his seventh wizarding adventure, after four Potters and the first two Fantastic Beasts.
Story specifics are currently scarce, but we do know that we’re not going to see Newt Scamander’s story resolved in the Fantastic Beasts 3 plot. This was always envisaged as a five-movie arc, set to conclude with an epic duel between Albus Dumbledore and his enemy/former lover Gellert Grindelwald at the end of World War 2. That means Fantastic Beasts 3 is just the middle of the story.
We do know, however, that the film is off to explore new corners of the Wizarding World. With the first two movies having been based in New York and Paris, respectively, this time the destination is Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, as Rowling first hinted on Twitter back in November 2018.
Let’s just say I really ought to be able to spell Rio de Janeiro properly, given how many times I’ve written/typed it in the last few months.November 1, 2018
This was subsequently confirmed by Wizarding World, so there’s a good chance we’ll be enrolling at Castelobruxo, the magical Brazilian school that was mentioned in the Harry Potter novels.
We’ll be able to speculate more about the Fantastic Beasts 3 plot when we know exactly when it’s set. Both Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and The Crimes of Grindelwald took place in 1927 but – seeing as the next three movies have to span the subsequent 18 years to get us to 1945 – it’s reasonable to assume there’ll be a big time jump ahead of the third movie.
So where will we find the characters when Fantastic Beasts 3 begins? Will Queenie still be on Team Grindelwald? How is Credence dealing with the knowledge that he’s actually Aurelius Dumbledore, Albus’s long-lost brother? Will Grindelwald (who has been recast) have trained him to take on Albus, knowing that a blood pact means he can’t take on the older Dumbledore himself? And will Newt, Tina, and Jacob have been able to rally forces to take on Grindelwald and his growing band of followers?
After much of the first two movies’ runtimes were spent on world-building and putting narrative blocks in place, we’re hoping the Fantastic Beasts 3 plot will actually start moving things along, and working towards the prequel saga’s eventual conclusion. That would seem to be borne out by Dan Fogler’s admission that “massive war” is on the horizon.
“I can say I read the script and the character development is really lovely and it’s very similar to the feel of the first movie, which I think is great,” he told CinemaBlend in March 2020. “It’s leading toward this massive war with the backdrop of World War 2, so you can just imagine epic battle scenes are coming.”
Fantastic Beasts 3 cast
(Image credit: Warner Bros)There are a lot of familiar faces in the Fantastic Beasts 3 cast. Unsurprisingly, the movie’s central quartet is all back in action: Eddie Redmayne as magizoologist Newt Scamander, Katherine Waterston as Auror Tina Goldstein, Dan Fogler as Newt’s No-Maj BFF Jacob Kowalski, and Alison Sudol as Legilimens Queenie Goldstein. Callum Turner also confirmed to Yahoo! Movies that he’ll be back as Newt’s older Auror brother Theseus Scamander, while Jude Law is reprising his role as the younger incarnation of Wizarding World mainstay and Hogwarts professor Albus Dumbledore.
The major casualty of The Crimes of Grindelwald was Leta Lestrange, who sacrificed herself to save Newt, Tina, Jacob, Theseus, and more – that means we’re only likely to see Zoë Kravitz in flashback or via magic (if at all).
There are also recognizable figures on the dark side of the Fantastic Beasts 3 cast, with Ezra Miller back as troubled Credence Barebone. We’d also be incredibly surprised if Claudia Kim doesn’t also come back as Nagini, the Maledictus fated to become Voldemort’s snake sidekick ahead of the Harry Potter era.
The biggest change is Grindelwald. Johnny Depp has stepped down from the role following a court battle, and Mads Mikkelsen has been cast as his replacement, while Colin Farrell – who many hoped would return to the series – was not able to take on the part as he’s committed to filming The Batman. The switch, though, is not something Mikkelsen has talked to Depp about, per The Sunday Times.
Mikkelsen said of the casting: “We’re still working [the character] out. There has to be a bridge between what Johnny did and what I’m going to do. And at the same time, I also have to make it my own. But also we have to find a few links [to the previous version of the character] and some bridges so it doesn’t completely detach from what he’s already masterfully achieved.”
Mikkelsen made similar comments to our sister publication Total Film: “This is obviously a more direct comparison because it’s the next film,” he said, referring to his take on Hannibal Lecter following Anthony Hopkins’. “So we have done a few bridges that will allow us to recognize it, but we’ve also said we have to make it our own. I have been a fan of Johnny Depp since I saw him as a young man, and to try to bring his intensity and his way of doing it into my work is a no-go. I have to find my own, because his is unique, and I just have to let that be, and find a different path.”
He also gave an update on the movie’s progress: “We’ve wrapped it up,” then added more generally of the film, “Obviously I have only been part of it for half the time that the rest of the gang has. It was a lovely experience. I think they had a really great script; a great, solid story. So if that is anything to measure on, I think the film will be… you know, as magical as it has to be, with all the wonderful creatures, but also quite beautiful. There are some really interesting, heartbreaking stories in there. And hopefully that will come across.”
Other newcomers are currently thin on the ground, though Wizarding World reported back in November 2019 that Jessica Williams, who played Professor Eulalie ‘Lally’ Hicks in The Crimes of Grindelwald, will have a bigger role in Fantastic Beasts 3. Hicks is a teacher at the Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the US version of Hogwarts.
But as the five-part series progresses and gets closer to its projected World War II finale, the chances of meeting younger versions of other Potter stalwarts increase. Future Hogwarts groundskeeper Rubeus Hagrid was a student at Hogwarts in the ’40s, while Professor McGonagall was already on the school’s staff. And then there’s the not-inconsequential matter of Hogwarts’ most infamous former pupil: Tom Riddle, the kid who’d later restyle himself as the must-not-be-named Lord Voldemort, was also at the school during the war years. Who’d bet against an early encounter with Gellert Grindelwald happening on-screen during the next three movies? Or even a first meeting with Nagini?
Fantastic Beasts 3 controversy
(Image credit: Warner Bros)The Crimes of Grindelwald had the lowest box office in the history of the Wizarding World, and was arguably the least popular with cinema audiences. But the new movie has even bigger challenges to face if it’s going to be a success – there’s so much Fantastic Beasts 3 controversy out there right now that it could put an Avada Kedavra curse on the saga.
J.K. Rowling’s controversial (and much-publicized) Twitter posts and 3,800-word essay about the transgender community have attracted extensive backlash from Harry Potter fans, with Wizarding World stars including Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Eddie Redmayne publicly distancing themselves from the authors’ views. Johnny Depp was involved in a libel case that made lots of unsavory allegations about his private life and was later kicked from the movie.
Meanwhile, the casting of Korean actress Claudia Kim as Nagini was considered by many to be racially insensitive (this is the Independent’s take on the issue), and many are upset that Dumbledore’s much-talked-about romantic relationship with Grindelwald has been (so far) invisible on-screen. The franchise has turned into something of a magnet for negative headlines.
So, if all the Fantastic Beasts 3 controversy stops the movie doing the business at the box office, this could be one five-movie franchise that stops at three… At least we’d have the Harry Potter TV show to look forward to. For more, check out our list of the best Netflix movies.