The Murtlap is finally out of the bag: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is here, and it’s a spellbinding return to J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world. Director David Yates’s enchanting and wildly entertaining introduction of awkward magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and his motley crew of magical creatures is a charming adventure that sets itself apart from Harry Potter.
But even with a fair amount of wrap-up and one giant reveal at the end of the film, we still have some burning questions about the future of Newt’s journey — and the Fantastic Beasts series as a whole. With production on the sequel already underway (Rowling has already completed the script), we hope these lingering questions are answered at some point in the next four films.
Spoilers for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them past this point.
Did Newt really come all the way to America to free Frank?
It’s not that I want Newt to have a ~secret~ agenda, but if the main impetus for coming to America was freeing Frank the Thunderbird in the deserts of Arizona, then why did J.K. Rowling spend so much time setting up the history of magic in North America? Sure, it gave us a bit of context as to why the wizarding community is hiding among the No-Majs in 1926, but there was little payoff beyond that. (Queenie and Tina’s rendition of the Illvermorny school song was even cut from the film.) Honestly, it makes more sense to believe that Newt knew more than he was letting on. For example: When Percival Graves (a.k.a. Grindelwald) asked Newt, “What makes Dumbledore so fond of you?” he replied, “I’m not sure.” But what if Newt was in America as a favor to Dumbledore? The future Hogwarts headmaster has to fit into this equation somehow.
If Newt was expelled from Hogwarts, how does he still have his wand?
When Hagrid was expelled from Hogwarts in his third year, his wand was confiscated by the Ministry for Magic and promptly snapped. The same thing nearly happened to Harry Potter in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix — until Dumbledore intervened. So what gives? Since Newt’s backstory is largely a mystery, we’re not entirely sure how he was able to keep his wand, but the most logical reason is perhaps that he was of age when it happened. A wizard comes of age at 17, so if Newt was expelled during his seventh year at Hogwarts, when he was already of legal age, then maybe the Ministry didn’t have any control over his wand — or his magic. Considering that Newt eventually went to work for the Ministry, we’re going to assume that they didn’t really think he was a threat. Maybe there’s even some kind of GED program for expelled wizards.
Does the Niffler just bankroll all of Newt’s expeditions?
It would appear that despite Newt’s best efforts, the Niffler made out like a bandit in Fantastic Beasts. He nabbed anything he could get his tiny hands on: gold, diamonds, gems, cash money. That being said, does Newt ever dip into the Niffler’s stash for some quick cash? It’s not like the advance on his book could fund a worldwide expedition, so Newt has to be using someone’s funds to bankroll his nomadic lifestyle.
Is Credence still alive?
Credence is definitely still alive, right? (Ed. note: He is.) The camera lingered on that wisp of Obscurus residue for far too long for him not to be alive. Plus, I refuse to believe that Fantastic Beasts would hire Ezra Miller, the most delightful Harry Potter fan in existence, and then kill him off in the first movie. Not to mention, Rowling herself has teased that Credence plays a significant role in the Fantastic Beasts films to come. And even though the Obscurus can be eliminated, there’s still a question as to what happens to the host’s body. Or maybe Credence was just symbolically important ...
Does Credence have ties to Dumbledore?
Credence is adopted, and he bears a striking resemblance to the Gaunt family — but he also shares a lot of parallels with Ariana Dumbledore, Albus’s ill-fated sister who was famously killed during a three-way duel between Albus, Abeforth, and Gellert Grindelwald. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it was revealed that Ariana “was attacked by Muggle boys who saw her practising magic, which left her traumatised to the point of rendering her magical abilities uncontrollable.” She was then labeled a squib. That sounds a lot like an Obscurus, doesn’t it? We never found out which of the three wizards was responsible for her death, but what if Albus was trying to help his sister? What if he was trying to free her from the Obscurus, similar to how Newt and Tina tried to free Credence?
Is Credence a Gaunt?
OK, maybe it’s the haircut, but his resemblance to one of the wizarding world’s most nefarious families is striking. Did Marvolo Gaunt have another kid we didn’t know about? Credence was adopted, so anything is possible. If he’s even still alive.
Did the Obliviate serum really work on Jacob?
It’s rather ambiguous in the film, but I think it worked, despite the fact that his entire bakery is full of treats that look like Nifflers and Murtlaps. It’s possible that Obliviate doesn’t erase memories so much as disguise them as dreams, as something that you believe to be made up. At the end of the film, Queenie visits Jacob’s bakery, and for a second, it looks like he knows her — and maybe he does. Or at least he thinks he does. Visions of Queenie, Newt, and that cute little Demiguise probably haunt Jacob’s dreams every night, so it shouldn’t be too hard for Queenie to convince him that magic is real ... again.
How did the MACUSA president plan on saving the world if Newt’s Thunderbird had not been there to save the day?
At the end of Fantastic Beasts, a double-winged illegal immigrant saved the day — isn’t that the most American thing? In all seriousness, President Seraphina Picquery didn’t seem to have much of a plan throughout the film. She refused to listen to Tina. She refused to listen to Newt. She OK’d Graves’s decision to sentence Newt and Tina TO DEATH. And when everything went to shit and the No-Majs became privy to the wizarding community at large, she had no backup plan whatsoever. I’m not in politics, but isn’t the responsibility of the president of the Magical Congress of the United States of America supposed to be coming up with a doomsday plan if the magical community is compromised?! Or maybe not. Like I said: I don’t do politics.
How did Newt know only four beasts were missing?
I’m no magizoologist, but there were a hell of a lot of wild beasts in Newt’s suitcase, and yet it took him all of six seconds to confirm that only four beasts were MIA. How? The most logical answer is that he has some type of magical device that keeps a tally on how many beasts are in the case at any given time. Still, it would have been nice to have a definitive answer. Inquiring minds need to know, Newt!
How long did Grindelwald inhabit Graves’s body?
It’s unclear whether Grindelwald was using Polyjuice Potion to parade around as New York City’s finest auror or if there was more sophisticated magic at play. It’s also unclear how long Grindelwald has been at this con. At the beginning of the film, one newspaper headline read, “Where Is Grindelwald?” But I didn’t catch a date. So it’s possible that he’s been doing it long enough that he created a whole persona. After all, we know that Graves had been after Credence — or who he thought was Credence’s young adopted sister — for a while. But did he create Graves? Or is the real Graves tied up in a closet somewhere?
Who is Leda Lestrange?
Fantastic Beasts introduced a new member of the Lestrange family: Leda (Zoë Kravitz). Based on what Newt told Queenie — or, more accurately, what Queenie told Newt — we know that Leda was a school friend, and given the photo of her that Newt keeps at his desk, maybe something more. “Neither of us really fitted in at school,” Newt said. This makes sense for Newt; he said himself that most people find him annoying. But what does this mean for Leda? She’s a Lestrange, a pureblood family that has a long, complicated history with Dark Magic. Was she ostracized by her peers because they thought she was someone she wasn’t? Wait. Was Leda Lestrange a HUFFLEPUFF? That’s all TBD for now, but here’s what we do know: Newt and Leda no longer talk. “She was a taker,” Queenie said. “You need a giver.”
How long will it take Grindelwald to escape?
Seeing as nothing about MACUSA’s actions in Fantastic Beasts made any logical sense, I’m going to assume Grindelwald escaped within weeks of his capture. You can’t keep a talented Dark Wizard down, you know? Maybe Grindelwald’s escape is what eventually brings Tina and Newt back together.
Can I have a Niffler?
This is more of a personal question, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. The Niffler’s interests strongly align with my own. I, too, like shiny things. Unrelated: I would totally watch a Fantastic Beasts spin-off called Newt and the Niffler Take Manhattan.