It’s no secret that the Fantastic Beasts movie franchise is at a crossroads, but all is not lost and it can still be saved.
How could you forget seeing the very first teaser trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them? The Dumbledore name drop, the Harry Potter score; after five years audiences would return to the Wizarding World. It was a chance to explore the Wizarding world in different countries, across different time periods. We can now view the past from the point of view of the magic community. But this concept has hit some pretty significant roadblocks. There’s a lot going awry with the follow-up movie franchise to Harry Potter, but maybe Fantastic Beasts could still be saved.
What went wrong?
Controversy Part 1- Johnny Depp
The first major roadblock is the controversy surrounding Johnny Depp. Depp has been asked to step down from his role as Grindelwald in future Fantastic Beasts movies. This comes in response to the Depp-Amber Heard domestic abuse allegations.
It all began when the pair got married in 2015, with nearly a twenty-year age difference. The two divorced after only a year and Heard filed a restraining order against him claiming domestic abuse. Depp denied these claims. He stated that Heard was trying to secure financial compensation through claiming abuse. She withdrew the restraining order request during their deposition. The pair released a statement staying that their “relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but was always bound by love.”
The divorce was finalised in 2017, but in 2018 Heard published an op-ed in The Washington Post saying that she was abused. Depp sued Heard in 2019 over that article for defamation, once again denying those claims. The suit is still ongoing. Back in January, phone recordings were released by the Daily Mail that had Heard admitting that she hit Depp. In those same phone calls, they referred to each other as both being abusers/abused.
Depp himself said that he was afraid that the two of them together was a “crime scene.” In July 2020, Depp sued British newspaper ‘The Sun’ for libel after they called him a wife beater in a 2018 article. He just lost that case, with the course ruling that the claim in the article was “substantially true.” That was the final straw for Warner Bros. and Depp lost his role in Fantastic Beasts.
Here’s the deal, it’s unclear who the abuser is in this relationship. While many fans have rallied around Depp, tweeting #justiceforjohnnydepp, there’s no official news over who the abuser is. Furthermore, several people close to the couple claim that Heard was actually the abuser. There has even been news that Heard cut off the tip of Depp’s finger with a glass bottle.
While Depp has been asked to resign, Heard has not been asked to step down from her role in Aquaman 2. This creates a double standard against men in these cases that’s outraging fans. The truth is, we don’t know who abused who. It’s entirely possible it went both ways. But there is a significant amount of evidence that Heard abused Depp and she is not facing any of the consequences associated with that. Consequences that Depp is facing.
Depp played the key villain. Losing him will really harm the franchise as they lose one of their most important characters and best actors. It’s unclear what direction the story will go when they set Grindelwald up as such a major character. Several Depp fans are also voicing their outrage at the films for asking Depp to remove himself. The films are losing potential movie-goers by engaging in this scandal. It’s all horribly messy and complicated and wrought with controversy.
Controversy Part 2 – J.K. Rowling
J.K. Rowling, famous author of the Harry Potter series and screenwriter for the Fantastic Beasts films, is also under fire. She tweeted in defence of a woman who was fired for believing that there are only two genders. In a tweet, Rowling said “Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill.” She then linked her Twitter to anti-trans merchandise. This has caused some intense outrage in the Harry Potter community. Several fans have started referring to her as “she-who-must-not-be-named” as a riff on Voldemort’s alias in the books.
People love the Harry Potter books, and for some, it is difficult for them to justify loving the books and hating the author. This is especially true for Harry Potter fans who are more on the left or are a part of the LGBT community themselves. They have started to really separate the author from the books, starting a movement to give Harry Potter to the fans.
Now this works with Harry Potter because it has such an emotional weight to so many people. Fantastic Beasts does not have this weight. There really are not raving fans of Fantastic Beasts like there are Harry Potter fans. Fantastic Beasts is sort of viewed as the distant weird cousin to Harry Potter by the fandom. It’s seen as just a cash grab from Rowling, and Fantastic Beasts could seriously suffer from Rowling backlash.
Beyond the controversy that surrounds the films, the story of Fantastic Beasts itself has some serious issues causing a need to be saved. It all felt very disconnected from the integrity of the Harry Potter story. They blatantly created plot holes in some places. Examples being Prof. McGonagall’s cameo as a young teacher, even though she should be a very young child (if she was even born yet) in relation to the timeline. They also apparated into Hogwarts, which was made very clear in the Harry Potter books that you can’t do that. But the biggest one is that Creedence is a Dumbledore. Dumbledore’s history was something that was heavily explored in The Deathly Hallows. It feels unlikely that there would be a whole other Dumbledore that was never mentioned at all in The Deathly Hallows.
There are plenty of examples of the writers seemingly trying to attach Fantastic Beasts to Harry Potter. It’s just done in a way that comes off as weak and desperate. Like Nagini being a person and a character in the movie is a little bit pulling-at-strings-esque. The Black’s being a major presence in the story, which makes a little bit of sense as they are an old wizarding family. But for a story that started in America, they are really doing a lot of maneuvering to get some British Harry Potter relics involved in this story.
Now if Rowling wanted to expand on the Harry Potter arc, there were a ton of better options. The Marauders could have been a massive opportunity. They are a group that has a lot of fan interest with hundreds of fan fiction stories being written about the original Hogwarts trouble makers. Even a story about the founders of Hogwarts would have been more interesting. Perhaps Rowling wanted to expand on the world, or get away from Harry Potter. If that was her intention, then she should not be trying so hard to connect Fantastic Beasts to the Harry Potter storyline. It makes the story much more complicated and convoluted than it needs to be.
How it can be saved?
There are some good things about Fantastic Beasts that mean it can be saved. The cast is great, the concepts are there, the writers just need to get clear on what they want. If the writers can write a good script, the cast can deliver on it. I’d say the easiest move for the franchise to make would be to run away from Harry Potter. Sure, little cameos or connections are cool, but the writers are doing somersaults trying to connect the story to the larger Harry Potter storyline.
This story does not have to be a Harry Potter story. Rowling created an amazing universe through the Harry Potter books, she should just play in that sandbox. If the writers can let Newt Scamander have his own story then it could really shine on its own. It shows that this universe can stand on its own without Harry Potter as its heart. It gives the writers and the actors so much more space to be creative with their art.
Now with the above being said, the writers have sort of written themselves into a corner. They really went hard with making Creedence a Dumbledore. To be honest, who knows where this story is going to go. Now some people think that Grindelwald was lying to Creedence when he told him he was a Dumbledore, which would make sense. It would just sort of be some lame story telling though. For this franchise to do well, it’s going to have to make some serious 180 turns with the story.
The first movie did well because it was just Newt in a new environment (America) in his own story that was fairly contained. Crimes of Grindelwald got much bigger and much more complicated. All of a sudden the story that was just basically about a guy trying to get his pets back in a city that was afraid of magic is alluding to World War Two with complex moral issues following several people over an entire continent. Fantastic Beasts needs to get clear on its story and scale itself back.
Here’s what we know for sure about the third movie. It’s release date is pushed back a year (November 2021) and it will take place in Rio De Janeiro. Which is cool. Estimates also say that the five movies will take place from 1926-1945. We will deal with World War II in these movies in some way or another.
Now here are where the fan theories come into place which might mean Fantastic Beasts can be saved. Almost all of them hinge on Creedence’s true identity. It’s been a long-running theory that Ariana Dumbledore could have been an obscurus herself. Some powerful obscurus can manifest a dark twin… perhaps that’s who Creedence is and how he is related to the Dumbledores?
Also, the math doesn’t work out for Creedence being a Dumbledore. He was born after the Dumbledore mother died (1899) and their father was imprisoned (1891). It’s estimated that Creedence was born in 1908 so… there’s some weird stuff going on here. Either Creedence is at least ten years older than he thinks he is (unlikely) or Grindelwald was definitely lying to him about his parentage. Whatever the case, this plot point sort of feels like a red herring, or just some flat out bad writing.
The deal with Grindelwald
Now with Depp stepping away as Grindelwald, it’s safe to assume that they will replace him. Writing Grindelwald out of the story would be near-impossible, as Crimes of Grindelwald did so much leg work setting him up as the “big bad.” There’s also the very high likelihood that the series will end with the famous showdown between Dumbledore and Grindelwald. That takes place in 1945.
So who will replace Depp? It’s been reported that Rogue One star Mads Mikkelsen will step into the role. Now nothing is set in stone. When asked about it by IGN, he responded with “that is on the rumour basis as we speak. So I know as much as you do from the newspapers. So I’m waiting for that phone call.” It could be that while Warner Bros. wants Mikkelson in the role, official negotiations have not begun yet. The star does have a similar energy to Grindelwald in other roles and would be a good fit to replace Depp.
In short, the Fantastic Beasts films have gotten very messy but can be saved. There’s a lot that has gone wrong both on and off-screen, but there is hope for the franchise yet. The story will follow a five-movie arc, and so there are three movies left to complete the story.
There’s plenty of time for Fantastic Beasts to course correct and become a great franchise. We’ll just have to see if the mistakes they made early on are going to set the table for the rest of the story.
Thank you for reading our article on how the Fantastic Beasts movies can still be saved. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.
Read about 9 Harry Potter plot holes HERE.
Read IMDB information on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them HERE.
Hogwarts Houses For MCU Characters
Since its conception, Hogwarts houses have been a deciding factor in getting to know people. How someone answers “what Hogwarts house are you in?” can tell you a lot about a person. But where do some of our favourite MCU characters shape up when faced with the sorting hat?
Tony Stark/Iron Man- Ravenclaw
While Tony could be argued for almost any of the houses, Ravenclaw suits him best. Most of his development comes from the pursuit of knowledge. Aside from being one of the smartest characters in the MCU, he is constantly learning and improving upon his technology. He tends to approach large problems from a strategic and pragmatic standpoint, especially in his later films. Admittedly he can be brave and somewhat self-servingly ambitious. But who he is at the end of his arc and the way that he solves problems points to Iron Man being in Ravenclaw.
Steve Rogers/Captain America- Gryffindor
Is it even a question? Steve Rogers is definitely a Gryffindor. From day one, he has always strived to do what’s right. And he subtly wants a bit of glory for it too. He’s a natural leader and has always rushed into danger without a thought. He is undoubtedly driven by bravery and righteousness and is through and through a Gryffindor.
Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow- Hufflepuff
Natasha is tricky. She could truthfully swing in any direction. It may seem strange to put a spy in Hufflepuff, but if nothing else, Natasha is loyal. She cares deeply for those close to her and has shown that she’s willing to die for them. Her characterization throughout the MCU has been lacking, but her solo film has shown her to be fiercely loyal.
Bruce Banner/The Hulk- Ravenclaw
Another Ravenclaw. Similar to Tony, Bruce is very intelligent. While he seems to be less inclined to want to fight battles than Tony is, he is constantly learning. His relationship with the Hulk can even be characterized this way. By a desire to learn how to control him, then to understand him, then to become him. His arc is one that is driven by knowledge.
Thor is always looking to prove himself. Even though he can lift the hammer, he is constantly looking for validation that he is worthy. He’s not usually afraid of much, and when he is, he faces it anyway. What makes Thor a Gryffindor though is his desire to be the hero. He’s not in Slytherin because he doesn’t desire to rule. He’s not ambitious, he just wants validation.
Peter Parker/Spiderman- Gryffindor
Peter is another hard one. He’s intelligent like Bruce and Tony, which could throw him into Ravenclaw. He’s loyal to his friends, which could put him into Hufflepuff. But at his core, Peter is in Gryffindor. The proof is in one of his first lines in the MCU. In Civil War, he tells Tony, “if you can do the things I do, and you don’t, then bad things happen because of you. (paraphrased)” He feels that because he’s special, he has to act. And unlike Steve and Thor, Peter is almost always afraid. He faces his challenges in spite of that. And while he wants to have a normal life, and a typical High School experience, he selflessly puts himself on the line. Once again, Peter is not looking for recognition, he’s just trying to do the right thing.
Dr Strange- Ravenclaw
Lots of Ravenclaws in the MCU. For Dr Strange, there really isn’t any other option. He is completely driven by the pursuit of knowledge. And while recognition came with that, we see with his journey into the mystic arts that his true motivation comes from learning. He’s a very similar character to Tony Stark, and both of them are textbook Ravenclaws.
Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch- Hufflepuff
Like Natasha, Wanda is driven by her relationships. She is faithfully loyal to her brother, then Vision, then her family. She is definitely motivated to protect and care for those she loves. Including creating an entire alternate reality to be with them! Wanda is brave and intelligent, but at her core, she is loyal.
Finally, a Slytherin. Once again, was there any other option? Loki is characterized by his cunning and ambition. He wants to rule. And he doesn’t get there by rushing into battle. He gets there by being sneaky and clever. Loki is a Slytherin through and through.
Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel- Slytherin
This may not feel like the obvious choice for Carol, but she definitely portrays characteristics of a Slytherin. She’s the best, and she wants people to know it. She’s confident and clever, and she likes attention. We don’t know her very well yet, but from what we’ve seen, she seems to relish in the attention her efforts provide. She is good, helpful, and ambitious.
T’Challa/Black Panther- Hufflepuff
T’Challa is also driven by loyalty. But while he is protective of those he loves, his true loyalty is to Wakanda. He’s not king because of ambition, he’s king out of duty. Everything he does is through the lens of “what is best for Wakanda?” While it’s a bit unconventional, his loyalty to Wakanda characterizes him as a Hufflepuff.
Scott Lang/Ant-Man- Gryffindor
At first, it appears that Scott would be in Hufflepuff. After all, he is very motivated by his relationship with his daughter. But if he were truly 100% driven by that, he would have made different choices. He would not have betrayed Hope and Hank and teamed up with Captain America without their permission. He also would not have stolen from his company and landed in jail in the first place. But both of those above decisions do characterize him as a Gryffindor. He wants to be in the action, and he doesn’t always consider the consequences. Scott isn’t really looking for recognition and is not that ambitious, but he does want to be involved in the big events. He wants to help people, and he bravely faces battles. Sometimes without discretion.
Do you agree with our picks for these MCU characters in Hogwarts Houses? If not or if we’ve missed any out, leave us a comment below.
Check out our review of Black Widow HERE.
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