New ‘Fantastic Beasts’ movie reuses ‘Harry Potter’ plot unit

  • Warning: Spoilers Ahead “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.”
  • A plot point involving Newt’s briefcase feels ripped from “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”.
  • The slightly altered plot apparatus feels like lazy writing, reusing old material for new audiences.

“Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” is certainly better than the last film, but fans will undoubtedly moan about some derivative writing that feels picked straight from the last “Harry Potter” book in the seven-book saga.

In “The Secrets of Dumbledore”, in the cinemas now, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) gathers a bunch of witches, wizards and a non-magic muggle to thwart Gellert Grindelwald’s (Mads Mikkelsen, who replaces Johnny Depp) plans to start a wizarding war .

The intricate plan to shut down Grindelwald involves Newt’s assistant, Bunty Broadacre (Victoria Yeates), who takes Newt’s magic suitcase to make duplicates of it.

Bunty Fantastic Beasts 3

Bunty gets duplicates of Newt’s case made in “Secrets of Dumbledore”.

Warner Bros.


If you’re a big Potter fan, this scene might have given you a break.

“Fantastic Beasts” was certainly not about repeating the famous scene from “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”, where the Order of the Phoenix (a group of Dumbledore loyalists consisting of Harry, Hermione, Ron and several others) drinks Polyjuice drink, which allows one person to transform into another, to disguise themselves as lure versions of Harry to create confusion for the franchise’s villain, Voldemort.

Harry Potter The Deathly Hallows

Hermione, Ron and several others drink Polyjuice drink in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” to try to confuse Voldemort’s Death Eaters.

Warner Bros.


But that’s exactly what they do.

Late in “Secrets of Dumbledore”, another group of Dumbledore loyalists – the first iteration of Dumbledore’s army – gathers in Hogwarts’ Room of Requirements (the famous room where Harry and Dumbledore’s second army to defeat Voldemort would gather years later). Several copy folders fill the space along with Newt’s real ones.

No one knows which one is the right one, containing a “fantastic beast” that Grindelwald wants to capture.

Like the “Death Regalia”, Newt’s group disperses and hopes to create confusion among Grindelwald and his allies. The only difference between the scene in “Fantastic Beasts” and the original “Harry Potter” books and movies is that no one knows who has Newt’s real case. In “The Deathly Hallows”, everyone knew which Harry Potter was the right one.

Fantastic Beasts 3 - claim room

Everyone grabs a case to create confusion among

Warner Bros.


Still, for those who grew up with “Harry Potter”, this recycled plot unit feels lazy.

If you’re a Potterhead, the revelation is so painfully predictable early on that it’s frustrating.

It’s likely to make fans wonder if franchisee JK Rowling wrote the material himself. And that’s a fair question. According to the film’s credits, “Secrets of Dumbledore” is based on a screenplay by Rowling, then written by Rowling and producer Steve Kloves, who wrote each film in the “Harry Potter” series.

This is in contrast to the last two “Fantastic Beasts” movies, which are written exclusively by Rowling.

The briefcase scene would be almost forgivable if another scene soon after did not feel like a minor iteration of one of the franchise’s most iconic scenes, also from “The Deathly Hallows”.

An emotional moment between Credence (Ezra Miller) and a family member (we do not want to ruin that revelation, but go ahead and click the link if you want to know) is an obvious nod to Snape’s death scene in the previous film.

No one dies in the “Secrets of Dumbledore” sequence, but the exchange of dialogue that ends with the word “always” feels like such a forced reference to “Harry Potter” that the words ring hollow here instead of acting as a sweet nod to the former franchise.

Both moments can make fans wonder why Rowling and Warner Bros. ever thought they could stretch the thin source material from a “Harry Potter” dictionary (yes, “Fantastic Beasts” is a glossary) to a five-movie franchise if they just want to reuse old material and try to show it as new to fans if Rowling lacks new ideas.

Perhaps it’s best for the WB to reportedly wait to see how “Secrets of Dumbledore” performs before continuing with the saga.

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