Everything to remember about the first ‘Fantastic Beasts’ film

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Everything to remember about the first ‘Fantastic Beasts’ film

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was released two years ago, which in 2018 time may as well have been a lifetime ago. So much has happened since then, it’d be understandable if you mostly forgot what happened in that one.

But now that the sequel is just around the corner, maybe it’s time to revisit that earlier film and reabsorb some of the key details. Here’s everything you need to remember about Fantastic Beasts before The Crimes of Grindelwald.

(Note: While this post contains FULL SPOILERS for 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, it has none at all for 2018’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. For a spoiler-free review of the new film, click here.)

What happens in Fantastic Beasts?

In 1926, British “magizoologist” Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmyane) visits New York with a suitcase full of magical creatures. The animals get loose, leaving Newt scrambling to recover them. 

Meanwhile, the city is being attacked by an Obscurus – a parasitical dark force caused by an individual repressing their magical powers – which turns out to belong to Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller), the abused adopted son of a religious fanatic. 

Oh, and a high-ranking American government official monitoring all of these misadventures turns out to be the disguised Dark Wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), coming back into power 

Where did the key characters leave off? 

Jacob (Dan Fogler), Tina (Katherine Waterston),Queenie (Alison Sudol), and Newt (Eddie Redmayne) fight the good fight in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find  Them.

Jacob (Dan Fogler), Tina (Katherine Waterston),Queenie (Alison Sudol), and Newt (Eddie Redmayne) fight the good fight in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find  Them.

Image: Warner Bros. / Jaap Buitendijk

Newt Scamander: After helping to bring Grindelwald into custody and restore the damage done to New York in the battle, Newt returns to Europe to continue working on his book, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Tina Goldstein: The fired Auror seems to be back on good terms with MACUSA (the American wizarding government) after the fight against Grindelwald. She’s last seen saying an emotional goodbye to Newt.

Queenie Goldstein and Jacob Kowalski: The witch and the Muggle No-Maj fell in love, against the laws of the American wizarding community, but reluctantly separated when MACUSA decreed that all non-wizards have their memories wiped of the battle against Grindelwald. He opens a bakery using valuable collateral that Newt left him anonymously, and Queenie visits his shop in one of the last scenes of the film.

Credence Barebone: Presumed dead after his Obscurus is destroyed in the final battle. But if you’ve seen promos for the sequel, you know he escaped somehow.

Gellert Grindelwald: Taken into custody by MACUSA. 

Anyone else?

Characters mentioned but not seen in the first Fantastic Beasts include…

Albus Dumbledore: A Hogwarts professor who tried to defend Newt from expulsion.

Theseus Scamander: Newt’s older brother, a war hero and Auror.

Leta Lestrange: Newt’s childhood friend, whose photo he carries with him.

Which fantastic beasts did we meet?

Bowtruckle: A small twig-looking creature that can pick locks. Newt generally has one, named Pickett, in his pocket.

Niffler: A rodent-like creature good at sneaking off to find treasure.

Others featured in Fantastic Beasts include the Thunderbird, the Swooping Evil, the Occamy, the Murtlap, the Demiguise, and the Erumpet

Any other details worth remembering? 

Tina and Credence have a history. It’s revealed late in the film that Tina lost her Auror job because she tried to defend Credence from his mother’s abuse, in front of many of the Second Salemers – thus risking exposure of magic – and was subsequently ordered to stay away from the group.

Wizard/No-Maj relations are fraught in the U.S. On the No-Maj side, extremist groups like the Second Salemers (led by Credence’s mother, Mary) are hell-bent on seeking and destroying wizard-kind, and at least some mainstream No-Majs are starting to believe in the existence of magic.

On the magical side, wizards are terrified of exposure, fearing that No-Majs will turn on them. As such, wizards are not allowed to befriend or marry No-Majs in the U.S. – though it seems they can in the U.K., since Newt scoffs that those laws are “rather backwards.” 

Credence (Ezra Miller) gets close to Graves a.k.a. Grindelwald (Colin Farrell) in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Credence (Ezra Miller) gets close to Graves a.k.a. Grindelwald (Colin Farrell) in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Image: Warner Bros. / Jaap Buitendijk

Grindelwald is on the rise. At the start of Fantastic Beasts, the wizarding community knows only that Grindelwald escaped capture after he and his followers launched a horrific series of attacks across Europe. By the end of the film, we learn that while in hiding, he managed to infiltrate MACUSA disguised as Auror Percival Graves.

But Grindelwald hasn’t lost sight of his ultimate goals in that time. While questioning Newt, Grindelwald (as Graves) raises the possibility of exposing the wizarding community in order to start a war between the magical and non-magical worlds. 

Newt’s fantastic beasts are hardly beloved. It’s clear the rest of the magical community does not share Newt’s enthusiasm for these creatures, seeing as he explains to a rather skeptical Tina that he hopes his book will educate his fellow wizards on “why we should be protecting these magical creatures instead of killing them.”

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