One of the most tantalizing moments in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them came when Grindelwald (then disguised as Colin Farrell’s Percival Graves) reveals that Albus Dumbledore was the only teacher who argued against Newt Scamander’s expulsion from Hogwarts. “I wonder,” said Grindelwald “What makes Albus Dumbledore so fond of you?”
Dumbledore sees Newt as a kindred spirit, an outsider, who is misunderstood. They recognize each other’s strengths and vulnerabilities.
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From what we’ve heard so far, we’re set for a different and yet very familiar Dumbledore in the film: passionate, rebellious and with a mischievous twinkle in his eye. There’s always been a bit of contradiction to the character, presented as consistently anti-authoritarian despite being the headmaster of Hogwarts, and it seems as if this informs Jude Law’s vision of him, who sees something of himself in Newt Scamander’s slightly aloof, warm-hearted, clumsy and talented magical creatures expert.
Given that the action is transferring from New York to Europe, the film has a great opportunity not only to fill in some blank spaces in J.K. Rowling’s magical world, but also to develop the character of Dumbledore beyond what we’ve seen in the books and movies. It’s going to be particularly interesting to see Dumbledore and Grindelwald dealing with the end of their relationship as friends (or perhaps more…), and where Scamander fits into that awkward equation.
Presumably, we should start to learn more as we get into 2018, with the first trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald being attached to at least one of the spring’s major blockbusters before the real deal arrives in theatres on November 16th.