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.
9 Bands You Forgot Played Themselves In Movies
There are more bands than you think that played themselves on the big screen. Here are nine bands you might’ve forgotten appeared in movies.
1. Alice Cooper – Wayne’s World (1992)
Being a teenager in the nineties was great for many reasons. Two of those being the release of the Wayne’s World movies. The genius that is Mike Myers created one of the best music-based films of all time. Plus, he convinced one of the greatest rock musicians of all time to be in it. If you’re not a geek like me, you may have forgotten that Alice Cooper was featured in the film. It had the iconic scene of Wayne and Garth meeting, Alice, backstage on bent knees. We’re not worthy, indeed. Alice himself pulls off the diva Rockstar brilliantly, even though he’s a genuine, down-to-earth guy who plays a lot of golf.
2. Primus – Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)
Let’s try and erase the recent Bill & Ted movie from our memory and head back to 1991 for their bogus journey. They come from the future to kill the non-robot versions of themselves and ruin their performance at a Battle of the Bands competition. What’s cool is the band who are playing before them. Californian alt-metal kings Primus. Although the clip is only short, they play themselves and sound as you would expect. Epic.
3. Fall Out Boy – Sex Drive (2008)
You’d be forgiven for forgetting about this one. The teen sex comedy from 2008 is forgettable and won’t really appeal to anyone apart from its teen target audience. If you can sit through all the cringe-inducing moments, you will spot pop-rockers Fall Out Boy. They are performing in a barn in front of some drunk Amish teenagers. There’s a reason for that, but I won’t bore you with it here. What is good, is the soundtrack of the film. As well as Fall Out Boy, it features Airbourne, AC/DC and weirdly, Kenny Loggins.
4. Twisted Sister – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
Paul Reuben’s character Pee Wee Herman made his big-screen outing in 1985. The children’s show star had a scene where he is being chased through a studio parking lot. Unbeknown to him, glam rockers Twisted Sister are recording a music video on a car. Lead singer Dee Snider is always up for a laugh, so it’s no surprise they’re featured. The clip is brilliant. Pee Wee’s prop-laden bike is just about to crash into Twisted Sister and the look on Dee’s face is genius. Go check out the clip.
5. David Bowie – Zoolander (2001)
Who can forget the brilliant Zoolander? Starring Ben Stiller as the dippy model, it’s one of the funniest comedies ever made. One of the best scenes of the film is the walk-off. This involved Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson’s characters doing a catwalk-off. Of sorts. Can you remember who refereed it? The legend himself, David Bowie. It’s not the first time Bowie was in a movie – remember Labyrinth? But this time, he plays himself. And does it with all the cool swagger you would expect.
6. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Clueless (1995)
I can’t say that I was a massive fan of this teen comedy at the time. The plot revolves around Alicia Silverstone’s character giving her friend a makeover. The premise doesn’t sound like it lends itself to a cool band cameo. You’d be wrong, though. There’s a scene where the lead characters go watch a gig. The band that are playing are The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The Boston ska-punk legends are only on stage for a moment, but it’s a slick clip. It certainly brings the film up a level on the cool stakes.
7. Daft Punk – Tron: Legacy (2010)
This sequel to the original sci-fi classic is a cracking movie. The visuals and effects are stunning, as is the atmosphere of the film. The music to the film is also rather special. A futuristic and dystopian movie could only have one act doing the score, and that’s Daft Punk. It works a treat. The music is intertwined into the movie and becomes a part of it. The delicious electronica is the perfect complement to the visuals. The French electronic masters also have a cameo at the end of the movie. They’re spinning the decks in a blink-and-you-miss-it scene.
8. Aerosmith – Wayne’s World (1993)
We’ve already had an appearance from the first film further up our list, and the second doesn’t disappoint either. The plot revolves around Wayne and Garth putting on their own music festival. Book them and they will come, is the advice given. And they certainly did. The headline band for the festival were none other than Aerosmith themselves. They do a sterling effort on stage as performers. And Steven Tyler also shows that he can handle his own on the acting front too.
9. Reel Big Fish – BASEketball (1998)
Trey Parker and Matt Stone star in this bizarre and hilarious sports comedy. Written by the king of spoof David Zucker, it’s become a cult classic. The soundtrack heavily features ska-punkers Reel Big Fish. They do a brilliant rendition of A-HA’s Take on Me, which they also perform in the movie. The band are the entertainment at the stadium where Parker and Stone are competing. You can tell by the footage that the band are clearly enjoying themselves. They add a touch more fun to an already hugely funny film.
That’s our list of nine bands who played themselves in movies. Did we miss any of your favourites? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out our list of actors in bands HERE.
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