The wizarding world of Harry Potter seems to have had an Undetectable Extension Charm placed upon it long ago. Now that we know Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will kick off a five-film story arc, it looks like this series will become an enormous adventure through the wizarding world in the 20th century, delving into tons of magical communities around the world.
After announcing the five-film arc on October 13, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling tweeted that she’s “currently putting the finishing touches to the second one,” though there aren’t currently any dates attached to this, or the subsequent sequels.
What we do know about the films so far — confirmed by Queen Rowling herself — is that we’ll be seeing more of Albus Dumbledore and the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald. From the brief flashes of information we got about their relationship in the Harry Potter series, it’s an intense one, making it perfect film fodder and a great topic to explore in the upcoming five films.
Grindelwald has been mentioned briefly in the Fantastic Beasts content we’ve seen so far. It seems he’s a present threat within the minds of the American wizarding society in 1926. The president of the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) at the time, Seraphina Picquery, calls the release of Newt Scamander’s titular fantastic beasts a threat to wizard-kind as serious as Grindelwald’s uprising. We can assume that has everything to do with the wizarding world’s International Statute of Secrecy, which the MACUSA is much more strict about than the British Ministry of Magic.
Grindelwald’s story is intimately intertwined with Dumbledore’s. He and Dumbledore were friends as teenagers, both having a great, natural talent for magic and ambitious plans for their futures. The two became obsessed with becoming the Masters of Death — through the Deathly Hallows, of course — and decided that they could use the power of the Deathly Hallows to make wizards the masters of Muggles after integrating the two worlds. Luckily for the wizarding world, “Grindeldore” had a nasty falling out. When Grindelwald attempted to take over the wizarding world himself, Dumbledore stepped in and defeated him in a battle of epic proportions and imprisoned him. Grindlewald was then later killed by Voldemort. It’s all very complicated.
This history — well-known but not very deeply explored in the Harry Potter series — would make a perfect story for a film. Rowling confirming that the “Grindeldore” relationship will be involved in the upcoming five films could be used as a plot device for a single film, or maybe as a background for five films spread across the 20th century. These films need a connecting theme, after all. But, if the Deathly Hallows aren’t enough for five movies, what else could happen?
Fortunately, there’s a whole slew of wizarding schools around the world that aren’t Hogwarts. Grindelwald was a student at the Durmstrang Institute, the Scandinavian wizarding school. And we’re sure Ilvermorny, the American wizarding school, will be mentioned in Fantastic Beasts.
There’s also Beauxbatons Academy of Magic in France, Koldovstoretz in Russia, the Uagadou School of Magic in Uganda, Japan’s Mahoutokoro School of Magic, and Castelobruxo in the Amazon Rainforest of Brazil. The magical world is just as extensive as Hermione’s charmed beaded bag, and an exploration of the history of wizarding law in conjunction with the different wizard communities around the world could be fascinating.
The series could start with an introduction of those laws — especially the International Statute of Secrecy — in Fantastic Beasts and build out from there. They could use the history that Rowling has already created and bring in a message of international inclusivity, all ending with an off-handed remark from a wizard in 1980s Brazil about “that dark wizard who’s stirring up trouble in Great Britain.”
The new films could act as an entire prequel series to Harry Potter — à la what was done with (to?) Star Wars or The Lord of the Rings — and bring in a whole new generation of Potterverse lovers. Harry Potter thus becomes a fantastic piece of beginning lore to a much wider, more diverse world.