Johnny Depp was revealed as the real villain of the piece in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, when Colin Farrell’s Percival Graves was unmasked as just a cover for Gellert Grindelwald, the powerful dark wizard with designs on world domination. As such, the Pirates of the Caribbean star will now have a much increased role in the sequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, as is obvious from the title.
But as we only got a brief glimpse of Depp’s character in the first film, it’s hard to say what sort of villain he’ll be in Crimes. CinemaBlend put this question to producer David Heyman while on a visit to the set in London and he teased that Grindelwald will be “scary” because he’s a very charismatic character who can convince people to join his dark cause.
“A really scary one, because he has the power of persuasion. He’s very seductive. He can make people follow him because he is as persuasive as he is. He’s incredibly charismatic. He is wonderfully amoral. Or awfully amoral, depending on which way you look at it. Wonderful for a delicious villain. Awful, in terms of an individual. And he is a fundamentalist, or, he’s an absolutist. He sees only one path. He believes in superiority of wizard kind over humankind. Muggles, you know, and makes a very persuasive case for that. Not one that I am prepared to follow. Not one I suspect you’re prepared to follow. But you can understand why some people do, and that’s really, really scary.”
Heyman’s description of Grindelwald certainly promises a fascinating villain. Perhaps one more believable than Lord Voldemort. It was hard to see why anyone would support ol’ snake-face for any other reason than fear, but Grindelwald clearly knows how to work a crowd, so it’ll be much more chilling to see him turn the Wizarding population towards his beliefs.
You can also see from this how Fantastic Beasts 2 will be much darker than what we’re used to from the franchise. Star Eddie Redmayne previously promised that there’s a significant “tonal shift” away from the lighter fare of the first movie, with the sequel feeling much more like “a thriller” than other Harry Potter universe adventures.
We’ll find out just how dark things get when Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald flies its broomstick into cinemas on November 16th.