The Second, Grindelwald/Dumbledore-Centric ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Movie Gets a Synopsis

In case you still feel you don’t sufficiently know where to find fantastic beasts following Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (though I’d say that film was pretty thorough, maybe too thorough, beast-wise), the just-released synopsis for the second of five films seems to suggest the franchise is veering father from its guidebook-to-magical-creatures source material. The beasts might be harder to find than ever! According to Variety, the second (London and Paris-set) film has begun production, with principal photography being shot in the U.K.; along with the news, Warner Bros offered up a brief but revealing plot summary for the film.

The summary starts in good places — the film takes place in 1927, soon after the first, but seemingly shifs away from Eddie Redmayne’s annoying Newt Scamander and his cutesy critters to focus on the legendary Albus Grindelwald/Gellert Grindelwald rivalry/former friendship/romance (eh, J.K., eh?…though admittedly this seemed more enticing before Grindelwald was introduced as a platinum blond Johnny Depp doing one of his…voice things). But by the summary’s end its makes sure to remind us this is still the story of Newt Scamander. Anyway, here it is:

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 [played by Jude Law]. But Dumbledore will need help from the wizard who had thwarted Grindelwald once before, his former student Newt Scamander.

And Scamander’s gaggle of less annoying new pals — Tina, played by the excellent Katherine Waterston, Queenie, played by Alison Sudol, and the muggle comic relief (and surprising emotional core of the first film), Jacob, played by Dan Fogler — will also be returning, as Scamander brings them along for the adventure that’ll “test their loyalties as they face new perils in an increasingly dangerous and divided wizarding world.” And despite seemingly having evaporated in a swirl of angry dust, Ezra Miller’s character with that troubledness-denoting-bowl-cut, Credence, will also be back.

You may also remember that in the first film, Scamander held a photo of a certain Leta Lestrange — who happened to be played by Zoë Kravitz. The Bellatrix Lestrange relative will figure into this film in a larger capacity. (Presumably giving Kravitz more to do than create mystery within a sepia photograph.) Some new characters have likewise been announced: as Deadline notes, Claudia Kim will play a character the others first encounter as a player in a wizarding world circus; the head of the circus (…so this circus might play heavily into the plot) will be played by Ólafur Darri Ólafsson;William Nadylam joins the cast as someone named Yusuf Kama; there’s a bounty hunter named Grimmson played by Ingvar Sigurdsson; and Kevin Guthrie will play the head of the Magical Congress of the USA (MACUSA).

Like the first film, this one was written by J.K. Rowling, and Harry Potter alum David Yates is directing. It’s set for release on November 16, 2018.