Week of Geek: First impressions of Fantastic Beasts sequel

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Happy March Break Geeklings!  Hope you’re having a ton of fun, but if not I’ve got something fun for you today; our first trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

At barely 2 minutes, there is certainly a lot to unpack here.  But first… AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!

OK, fangirling over, let’s discuss.

One of my favorite sites, Nerdist, does a great deep dive on this, but there’s a few things I’d like to point out.  First, how awesomely amazing was it to see Hogwarts again?  It’s like coming home!

Second, Newt as a sort of secret agent?  Certainly seems that way, as he’s working with Jude Law’s Dumbledore.  What could they be working on?

Third, a Wizarding World divided.  Again.  Or… before.  This was several decades before the whole mess with Voldemort divided the wizarding community, so this thing with Grindelwald came first.

Fourth, favorite characters are back.  Newt of course, and Tina (love Tina’s new look), Goldie and Jacob (LOVE Jacob <3).  Even Credence is back, and he’s apparently run off with the circus (it was the 1920s, you could do that back then).

Fifth, new characters.  Credence has a friend at the circus named Maledictus.  We got a look at Leta Lestrange, who with that last name and her complicated relationship with both Newt and his brother, you know is probably going to be trouble.  And the final scenes of the trailer feature Newt and his brother Theseus battling side by side (that last shot of them creating the fire wall together… beautiful.)

Sixth, beasts aplenty, including Thestrals and maybe a Hippocampus.

Seventh, two words: WIZARDING CIRCUS!  What is that even?  How amazing is that going to be?  They even have cotton candy!  And I bet it’s somehow magic!

Finally though, we’ve got to address the Erumphant in the room.  Two of them actually.

First, Johnny Depp, who plays our lead villain Gellert Grindelwald.  Many fans are not happy he’s still in this movie, considering how he’s been accused of domestic violence by his ex wife Amber Heard.  Though he hasn’t been officially charged or convicted of a crime there is still quite a bit of discomfort with this.  What makes this such a touchy subject for fans is that many, many people have seen the Wizarding World as a haven from abuse, considering how that was one of the big themes of Harry’s saga; an abused kid who finds his home at Hogwarts.  And the idea that the creators of these films would rally behind a potential abuser is not sitting well with people.  And as Nerdist pointed out, the fact that we only see Grindelwald twice in the first trailer of the film that bears his name, could be telling.  It could mean they’re saving it for later, or it could mean that the studio, though still on board with Depp being there, has heard the outcry and are trying to downplay it.

The other issue is that apparently we are not getting one solitary hint about Dumbledore’s sexuality in this new film, even though the entire story centers around him and Grindelwald, which Rowling has confirmed Dumbledore was in love with.  It’s a huge plot point, but we’re not going to get any mention of it.  This is a common problem for mainstream movies.  They cost so much to make that the studio wants to make a profit on them, and since in many places homosexuality is still very much taboo, a studio runs the risk of scaring off international markets if they show their characters as gay.

The thing is fans are getting tired of not having any representation in their favorite franchises.  They’re tired of everything being ‘implied’ and not outright stated.  One of the big plot points in the first Fantastic Beasts film was how destructive and awful it can be when you have to hide and suppress who you truly are.  The studios are undermining the messages of their own source materials by casting potentially abusive people and making sure a main character stays ambiguous.  Fans are not happy.

Anyway, there’s a lot of time between now and when the film comes out this December.  We’ll see what happens.  But what do you guys think?  Post away in the comments section below or write your thoughts over on WriteIt.

In the meantime, watch the first Fantastic Beasts film, or read the book, or check out the Harry Potter series if you haven’t yet.  Or again.  Have a great rest of the week Geeklings, and until next time, End of Line.

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