‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ – The Big Twist Ending and That Lestrange Family Drama, Explained

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(Huge spoilers here for “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” below. You have been warned.)

So here you are. You’ve experienced all the craziness that “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” had in store for you. And you’re totally confused by all of it because, well, every twist and turn could have probably been explained more clearly.

But it is what it is, and what it is can be really tough to digest — especially if you aren’t steeped in “Harry Potter” lore. And even if you are a lifelong Potterhead it might take a minute for all of it to sink in because of how much lore this new “Fantastic Beasts” movie is dropping on us.

So regardless of what level of “Harry Potter” fandom you’re one, we’re here to help you by distilling down the major revelations in a way that’s perhaps easier to understand than it was in the movie. So let’s get to it.

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So, obviously, the bulk of the twists and turns in “The Crimes of Grindelwald” largely revolve around Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller), the Obscurial from the first movie who we all thought was dead but who actually was not. Don’t get too hung up on his survival, because it’s not explained how he made it out.

So at this point Credence is on a mission to find out who his birth family was. You’ll recall that Credence was adopted when he was very young, and that his adopted mom referred to his real mom as “unnatural.” That term is almost certainly just referring to his mother’s magical abilities — Credence became an Obscurial because his adopted mother hated magic and tried to suppress his use of magic as he was growing up.

Throughout the movie people speculate that Credence is actually Corvus Lestrange, the long lost son Corvus Sr. and brother of Leta (Zoe Kravitz). A mysterious man named Yusuf Kama (William Nadylam) is chasing after Credence on exactly that assumption — Yusuf is angry that Corvus Sr. bewitched his mother Laurena and essentially stole her, and wants to get back at him by killing the person he loved the most: Corvus Jr.

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The truth about Credence’s identity is complicated, because of a weird story that Leta tells everybody. When she was a kid, the Lestrange family was on a ship and baby Corvus wouldn’t stop crying during a big storm. So Leta took baby Corvus out of his crib, carried him across the hall to another cabin and swapped him for another baby — one who was sleeping soundly.

Moments later, while Leta was still holding this other baby, the ship began to sink, and everyone went for the lifeboats. So the Lestranges took this other anonymous baby with this, leaving Corvus with another family. While the Lestranges survived, the other family’s lifeboat capsized, apparently killing baby Corvus.

Credence is that other unnamed baby. So for a time he definitely was Corvus Lestrange, even though he actually was not.

At some point after that, this young Credence was given up or lost by the Lestranges — it’s still not clear why he ended up being adopted by the woman from the first “Fantastic Beasts” movie. That’s a mystery that presumably JK Rowling is holding back for a future movie.

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At the end of the movie, once Credence joins up with Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), Grindelwald tells him that his true name is Aurelius Dumbledore. And that Credence’s brother has been trying to stop him. The implication being that said brother is Albus Dumbledore — the Dumbledore we know from all the “Harry Potter” movies and the only other Dumbledore in this movie.

This is a whole can of worms, of course. Aurelius Dumbledore is a totally new name that we’ve never heard before, and certainly Dumbledore had never mentioned a dead brother. In fact, when the opportunity to mention a dead brother came up he specifically referenced his dead sister Ariana. So it’s entirely possible that Dumbledore didn’t know that Aurelius existed — or that Grindelwald is just making this up.

Some big new mysteries that come up because of this revelation, assuming it’s true. Let’s run through them real quick.

Who was Credence’s mother? Dumbledore’s mother, Kendra, died in 1899. Which would mean that Credence would have to be at least 28 in “Crimes of Grindelwald.” While Credence’s age in the movies hasn’t been established, it seems like a stretch that he would be that old. Ezra Miller is only 26, and he said in an interview back in 2016 that Credence was 18 in the first “Fantastic Beasts” movie. Which would make him way too young to be Kendra Dumbledore’s son.

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Percival Dumbledore is still in play as the father, however. Percival was locked in Azkaban in 1890 for attacking some muggles who were harassing his daughter Ariana, and we know nothing about his life after he was locked up — leaving plenty of room for whatever retcons JK Rowling wants to do with him. So if Aurelius is actually Albus Dumbledore’s brother, Percival would almost certainly need to have fathered him. But with who? It’s really impossible to guess. But if Grindelwald knows Credence’s identity, then the mother may be someone he knows.

The other big question is who was baby Credence traveling with when young Leta absconded with him. Whoever it was died that night. This may be the same thing as the other question, given that “Crimes of Grindelwald” makes a big thing of showing a woman swimming after and reaching for the swapped-in baby Corvus Lestrange as he sank to the bottom of the ocean. But we don’t know who that woman was — if she was Credence’s mom or a nanny or what.

Lastly, we still don’t know how or why Credence ended up being adopted. Whatever the circumstances were, they led most everybody to believe he was dead.

So the short version: Leta Lestrange swapped her baby brother Corvus for a baby supposedly named Aurelius Dumbledore, who was later by some means separated from the Lestrange family and ended up becoming Credence Barebone.

Someday this will all make sense, presumably.

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It seems Remus Lupin took a page out of a young Albus Dumbledore’s book when he had Harry Potter and his classmates line up to take on a boggart in the film “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.”

In the new “Fantastic Beasts” film, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” audiences get to see Jude Law’s much-younger Dumbledore during his teaching days at Hogwarts. In one particular flashback, a young Newt Scamander, played by Joshua Shea, is brought in front of the infamous boggart while in Dumbledore’s Defense Against the Dark Arts class.

The boggart turns into desk, since Newt’s worst fear is being made to work in an office, which makes sense for the famed magizoologist (for you muggles out there, that’s a zoologist, but for magic animals).

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During a Q&A following an early fan screening of the film at Universal Studios Hollywood, attended by TheWrap, Eddie Redmayne was asked what his boggart would transform into. Before he could answer, Kathrine Waterston revealed it definitely wouldn’t be an office.

“You love offices, don’t you?” she prodded.

“Yeah I weirdly love offices because I love stationery,” Redmayne said. “I have a weird obsession with stationery, so provided it’s an office with a stationery cabinet.”

OK, so maybe Redmayne’s patronus could be a tidy desk with well-organized stationery. As for his boggart, it’d be quite the opposite.

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“Jude and I had a bonding moment when we were asked that question, we realized that we both are obsessed with like tidy things, so like a messy room would probably be my boggart,” Redmayne said. “I’m really aggressively tidy.”

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Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore is among the most iconic and beloved characters, not only in J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” book series, but in all of fantasy literature. And that some big robes to fill for Jude Law.

“It was a huge amount of responsibility,” Law said during a Q&A following an early fan screening of the new film “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” at Universal Studios Hollywood on Saturday. “He’s a beloved Potter character. But I thought I was given a little bit of freedom to interpret him myself and I hope I stepped up.”

Law’s fellow cast mate Eddie Redmayne, who plays the film’s lead, Newt Scamander, said during the Q&A that experiencing Law’s turn as Dumbledore for the first time was next to magical.

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“There was — the moment [Newt] sees Dumbledore and — it’s in the trailers — he’s on the ledge of St. Paul’s Cathedral and it starts with just Dumbledore’s back and when he turned and looked at me he somehow managed to encapsulate in one look everything that I’d always — it was that kind of gravitas, a little twinkle in the eye. It was Dumbledore right there in one look,” Redmayne said.

That was all CGI,” Law joked. “I had a word with the guys in post production, I said up the twinkle and a little bit of gravitas.”

Law is the third actor to portray the Hogwarts Headmaster, following the likes of Richard Harris, who died after “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” was released, and Michael Gambon.

In Warner Bros.’ upcoming “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” Law plays a much younger version of Dumbledore, revealing secrets about one of the wizarding world’s most powerful characters — that fans of the books and movies have poured over for years.

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Audiences meet Law’s Dumbledore in 1927, some 64 years prior to the events of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” He is Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor at Hogwarts, but still already at odds with the Ministry of Magic.

Fans of the books and films know Dumbledore to be a mysterious and secretive figure in the story, always keeping his past and how much he knows close to the the vest. “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” launches the long-awaited journey of exploring the events in Dumbledore’s past that made him the wizard audiences fell in love with in initial “Harry Potter” franchise.

Specifically, the film pulls the curtain back a little on the relationship between Dumbledore and the dark wizard Grindelwald, leading up to his famed defeat with alchemist Nicolas Flamel.

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“It’s a defining part of his past,” Law said of Dumbledore and Grindelwald’s relationship. “Those who’ve seen the film know there’s a lot more to be revealed. But clearly this relationship was intense and intimate. It’s some 20 odd years in the past, even from this story and yet the two of them are still, well, traveling in the opposite direction, but carrying certain wounds.”

To be sure he had all the information necessary to properly fill Dumbledore’s robes, Law met with “Harry Potter” creator J.K. Rowling, who also wrote the “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” screenplay.

The cast members who were in attendance after the screening seemed to agree Rowling even imbued Law with Dumbledore’s omniscient quality.

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“Before I started it seemed the obvious thing to do and she was very generous with her time and gave me a kind of recap of, I think, everything we know from the books but with a little more detail and a little sense of where the character was going,” Law said, before Ezra Miller, who plays Credence Barebone in the film, interrupted, saying that Rowling told Law way more than she told the rest of them.

Redmayne chimed in that the rest of the cast was “spuriously jealous.”

“You’re Dumbledore, so you get to be weirdly omnipotent while we all struggle in the dark,” Miller said before Law admitted that Dumbledore is three beats ahead of everyone. “No, he’s three films ahead,” Miller joked.

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Jude Law Didn’t Go to Wand School Before ‘Fantastic Beasts 2,’ So He Practiced With a Twig

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Wands are an integral part of wizards’ daily lives in the Harry Potter Universe, and anyone who has seen the films or read the books knows that wand lore plays a key role in the story, so it makes sense that if you’re going to portray one of the wizarding world’s most beloved and iconic wizards, you’d need to learn to wield a wand, right?

Jude Law, who plays a younger version of Albus Dumbledore in Warner Bros.’s “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” however, didn’t receive the traditional wand schooling some of the other actors on the film did.

“Yeah, I think some things changed between the first and second film. It turns out Jude didn’t get wand school, but the rest of us I think did,” Katherine Waterston, who plays Tina Goldstein, said during a Q&A at a fan screening event TheWrap attended at Universal Studios Hollywood on Saturday. A couple other cast members also confessed to missing out on wand school.

“I like to think it’s because we didn’t need it,” joked Law.

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He may have skipped wand school, but that doesn’t mean Law didn’t put in some swish and flick practice on his own to prepare.

“I found out from Jude just now that when he got the part he was on holiday with his family and he just went and picked up a twig and just spent the entire holiday walking around with a twig,” said castmate Eddie Redmayne, who plays the film’s lead Newt Scamander.

“It was good practice,” Law said. “So Eddie’s right — I did carry around this stick for most of my summer holiday practicing and then I only got to say one spell in the whole of the film.”

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Not all of the new cast members got out of going to wand school. Callum Turner, who plays Redmayne’s brother Theseus Scamander in the film, joked that he had to spend seven months learning how to properly hold and use his wand.

As Turner explained that his biggest takeaway was not going over the top, Redmayne interrupted to tease him.

“I don’t want to throw my brother under a bus here, but he broke his wand on the first test,” Redmayne told the crowd.

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As all Harry Potter fans know, the wand chooses the wizard, but new cast member Zoe Kravitz — who plays the mysterious Leta Lestrange — bemoaned not being able to choose her wand for the film. She also said the worst part, however, is when they took her wand away at the end of filming.

“I was really, really nervous. It was kind of like the first day at school, you know? But everyone was so welcoming,” Kravitz said of joining the cast. “The best moment is when they hand you your wand, and the worst moment is when they take it away at the end.”

“Oh, yeah you can keep one for $75,000,” joked Credence Barebone actor Ezra Miller.

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Jude Law is about to transform into the younger version of one of the most beloved “Harry Potter” characters of all time: Albus Dumbledore. And while fans can expect to see his past relationship with Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) explored heavily on screen in the “Fantastic Beasts” sequel, they won’t be watching that part of their dynamic unfold. You know, how Dumbledore is gay and was in love with Grindelwald in their youth.

J.K. Rowling revealed the big news about Hogwarts’ favorite headmaster over a decade ago, but it’s never been openly addressed on screen in any “Harry Potter” film. And it won’t be in the “The Crimes of Grindelwald” either.

“Not explicitly,” director David Yates told Entertainment Weekly when asked if Dumbledore’s sexuality will finally be made clear on screen. “But I think all the fans are aware of that. He had a very intense relationship with Grindelwald when they were young men. They fell in love with each other’s ideas, and ideology and each other.”

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Yates expanded on what this young version of Dumbledore will be like in the film.

“He’s a maverick and a rebel and he’s an inspiring teacher at Hogwarts,” Yates said. “He’s witty and has a bit of edge. He’s not this elder statesman. He’s a really kinetic guy. And opposite Johnny Depp as Grindelwald, they make an incredible pairing.”

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Ian McKellen on Passing Up Dumbledore Role: Richard Harris ‘Didn’t Approve’

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Ian McKellen is famous for playing Gandalf the Grey in the “Lord of the Rings” films, but could’ve played another famous movie wizard if certain opinions were different.

McKellen was recently interviewed on BBC News’ HARDTalk, and spoke about how he was approached to play Dumbledore in the later “Harry Potter” movies, but declined. According to him, Richard Harris — the actor who originated the role — really didn’t like him.

“When they called me up and said would I be interested in being in the Harry Potter films, they didn’t say in what part,” he said. “I worked out what they were thinking, and I couldn’t… I couldn’t take over the part from an actor who I’d known didn’t approve of me.”

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When Harris died after filming the second movie in 2002, there were a lot of questions as to who would replace him as Harry Potter’s mentor and Hogwarts headmaster.

McKellen was one of the names being passed around, but he ultimately didn’t take the role. According to a post on his own website, the 77-year-old actor praised Harris following his death, calling his style “enviable.” However, just like in the HARDTalk interview, he said Harris didn’t like him.

“When recently he criticized me and others for being passionless actors I supposed he might be a little upset that I had landed the superior wizard on screen,” he wrote.

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At the time, he also wrote that he hadn’t seen the first “Harry Potter” film, but that there was talk anyway from the “Potter camp” about “filching Gandalf.”

“The Grey or the White was not specified,” he added.

The role ended up going to Michael Gambon, who put his own spin on the character and played the part in the next six films.

McKellen is a part of two major franchises, including the X-Men movies, so he’s not missing out. Gandalf (both the Grey and the White) is a great wizard in his own universe. That doesn’t mean McKellen doesn’t consider the alternative.

“Well, sometimes, when I see the posters of Mike Gambon, the actor who gloriously plays Dumbledore, I think sometimes it is me,” McKellen replied.

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Will ‘Fantastic Beasts 2’ Feature an Openly Gay Dumbledore? JK Rowling Weighs In

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“Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling once again tackled the topic of Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore’s sexuality on Thursday, addressing whether the character would be portrayed as openly gay in the upcoming “Harry Potter” spinoff movie series “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

During a press conference, Rowling — who revealed Dumbledore’s sexuality in 2007 — said that “there’s a lot to unpack” in the relationship between Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald, but that the second installment of the “Fantastic Beasts” series will portray “quite a troubled” Dumbledore.

“Well, I can’t tell you everything I would like to say because this is obviously a five-part story, so there’s lots to unpack in that relationship,” Rowling said, according to Screen Crush. “I will say that you will see Dumbledore as a younger man, and quite a troubled man because he wasn’t always the sage. He was always very clever, but we’ll see what I think was the formative period of his life. As far as his sexuality is concerned, watch the space.”

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In addition to leading man Eddie Redmayne, who plays Newt Scamander, Johnny Depp has also been cast in the second “Fantastic Beasts” installment. Depp is also set to appear in a cameo in the first installment, which hits theaters Nov. 18.

David Yates is slated to return as director on the second installment.

Set in the same universe as “Harry Potter,” the inaugural “Fantastic Beasts” movie takes place in 1920s New York and stars Redmayne as a British magizoologist who travels to England to hunt for magical creatures.

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Some characters from the “Harry Potter” films will be featured in the new movie, including Albus Dumbledore, Grendel and Gellert Grindelwald — though it’s not yet known whether actors from the past series will be reprising their roles.

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