The Secrets Of Dumbledore Should Close The Book On Fantastic Beasts
It's time to retire this offshoot of Harry Potter's Wizarding World.
The third installment of the Fantastic Beasts series of films, The Secrets of Dumbledore, is in theaters now. The film, which follows 2018's The Crimes of Grindelwald, makes for a proper ending to this particular offshoot of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter films. With that in mind, perhaps it's time to close the book on the adventures of Newt Scamander.
Warning: The following contains spoilers for the film Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. If you haven't seen the film and don't want to be spoiled, stop reading now.
In the 21 years since the first Harry Potter movie debuted back in 2021, many things have changed. The fanbase has grown up--and in many cases moved on. But more than that, a lot of the magic has seemingly been lost. There are a number of reasons for that, some of which are rather simple. The characters of the Fantastic Beasts movies aren't as engaging or well-crafted as those fans loved in the Harry Potter films or books.
The books are another odd piece of the puzzle. The Harry Potter movies, for better or worse, were adapted from the beloved novels and had an established plan to follow. The same can't be said for Fantastic Beasts, which reportedly does not have any further scripts written at this time, though author and franchise mastermind JK Rowling is still credited as a writer on the films.
However, that's also a sticking point. In recent years, Rowling has continued to incite criticism for her anti-transgender stance and comments, drawing deep division among the Harry Potter fandom. For a deeper look at this issue, you should definitely read Jessie Earl's fantastic piece about Rowling and the real harm her comments inflict.
Of course, there are also the issues with the franchise's cast. Johnny Depp infamously portrayed Grindelwald in the second film, after a last-minute reveal in the first (where he magically replaced a character played by Colin Farrell), before being asked by Warner Bros. to resign from the role, after he lost a libel case against UK newspaper The Sun, which labeled him a "wife beater." Ultimately, he was replaced in the role by Mads Mikkelsen. To say the character Grindelwald doesn't have a real identity in these movies would be putting it lightly.
Beyond Depp, there's Ezra Miller's status in the franchise--and WB's series of DC movies--that seems to be up-in-the-air after his recent arrest in Hawaii. While it's suggested in the film that Miller's character Credence will die sometime shortly after the events of The Secrets of Dumbledore, it's easy to imagine the films could find a way to keep him around. Given his ongoing issues, though, having this final film see him leave the franchise seems very possible--especially since Warner Bros. has reportedly paused the future projects he's involved in.
Of course, none of this stopped the third movie in the franchise from being made, so it's hard to imagine it keeping Warner Bros. from staying the course for future films, even if they don't have the financial or cultural impact of the original Harry Potter franchise.
What could stop it, though, is the story. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore doesn't end on a cliffhanger or a story thread begging to be picked up in the future. Instead, it wraps everything up in a nice little bow. Newt (Eddie Redmayne) is reunited with the woman he loves, Grindelwald (Mikkelsen) is defeated, Credence mends the relationship with his father, Jacob (Dan Fogler) and Queenie (Alison Sudol) finally get married, and it's as close as one could expect to a "happily ever after" type of ending, even if the movie fails to reach the heights of even the first Fantastic Beasts film, let alone the original Potter entries.
While yes, Grindelwald does escape with his life at the end of the film, his story has run its course. In the film, he soars to great heights and is almost elected Supreme Head of the International Confederation of Wizards--essentially making him president of the Wizarding World--before ultimately being defeated by the heroes. There's not much left to his story, but for those truly interested, you can read about his death at the hands of Voldemort in the Harry Potter novels.
Given that this piece of the Wizarding World has yet to capture the imagination of fans the way the story of Harry and his friends did, perhaps it's best to stop trying to force it. After all, it's not as if the Wizarding World is going anywhere. Currently, there are Potter-themed lands at five different Universal Studios theme parks (Hollywood, Japan, Beijing, and two in Orlando, Fl.) and the upcoming Hogwarts Legacy video game will certainly keep fans immersed in the world when it arrives later this year.
It's hard to blame Warner Bros. for wanting another series of films in the Wizarding World franchise once the Harry Potter movies wrapped up. They were such a financial powerhouse and the universe they created seemed too big. Now, though, three films later, perhaps it's time to let that go–or at least explore a different story. If not, Fantastic Beasts is likely going to continue diminishing the excitement created by the Harry Potter movies.
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