Principal photography began today on David Yates’ untitled Fantastic Beasts sequel, and with it we now have the first official synopsis as well as a list of new and returning characters. Obviously, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) will return alongside Auror Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), her sister Queenie (Alison Sudol), and friendly no-maj Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler). They’ll be joined by Johnny Depp, who plays the sinister Gellert Grindelwald, and Ezra Miller, who returns as the tragic and disturbed Credence. New faces include a young Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law), the woman from Newt’s past, Leta Lestrange (Zoe Kravitz), Newt’s brother, the famed war hero and Auror Theseus Scamander (Callum Turner), and Claudia Kim (Avengers: Age of Ultron) co-stars as a “young woman we first meet as a featured attraction at a wizarding circus.”
The cast also includes “William Nadylam as a wizard named Yusuf Kama; Ingvar Sigurdsson as a bounty hunter named Grimmson; Ólafur Darri Ólafsson as Skender, who runs the wizarding circus; and Kevin Guthrie as Abernathy, whom we met as Tina and Queenie’s boss at MACUSA (Magical Congress of the USA).”
Here’s the official plot synopsis:
J.K. Rowling wrote the screenplay for the film, which opens in 1927, a few months after Newt helped to unveil and capture the infamous Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald. However, as he promised he would, Grindelwald has made a dramatic escape and has been gathering more followers to his cause—elevating wizards above all non-magical beings. The only one who might be able to stop him is the wizard he once called his dearest friend, Albus Dumbledore. But Dumbledore will need help from the wizard who had thwarted Grindelwald once before, his former student Newt Scamander. The adventure reunites Newt with Tina, Queenie and Jacob, but his mission will also test their loyalties as they face new perils in an increasingly dangerous and divided wizarding world.
The film expands the wizarding world, moving from New York to London and on to Paris. There are also some surprising nods to the Harry Potter stories that will delight fans of the books and film series.
It will be interesting to see how the plot moves forward now that we’ve gotten the main introductions out of the way. I enjoyed the first Fantastic Beasts, but it’s a movie that’s overloaded on plot and it feels like Rowling was trying to drastically expand the world while juggling three stories—Newt recapturing his beasts, the obscurus wreaking havoc in New York, and the rise of Grindelwald. Hopefully, Fantastic Beasts 2 is a little more focused and can handle the size of its ensemble.
The untitled Fantastic Beasts sequel opens November 16, 2018.