• Stephanie Bonifield

Can The Secrets of Dumbledore Save The Harry Potter Franchise?



On February 28, 2022, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore got a new trailer less than two months before its long-delayed release date.


So far, the story of The Secrets of Dumbledore and the Fantastic Beasts series overall remains confusing and muddled. Luckily, the new trailer for The Secrets of Dumbledore hints at an exciting new direction for the series, including some highly-anticipated glimpses into the wider Wizarding World. Could The Secrets of Dumbledore turn around the Fantastic Beasts series and revive the Harry Potter franchise?


Key Takeaways From the New Trailer

The Secrets of Dumbledore already looks much more ambitious – in the right way – than The Crimes of Grindelwald. The new trailer revealed some exciting details that could have major implications for the Wizarding World.


Kowalski’s Wand

Regardless of how well the film turns out, The Secrets of Dumbledore has already changed the Harry Potter franchise in one major way. It is clear in this new trailer that, somehow, Kowalski will be using magic, despite being a muggle. In one scene, Newt hands Kowalski a wand, telling him that Dumbledore wanted him to have it. Perhaps this is one of the “secrets” of Dumbledore the film is named after?


Kowalski became a central character in the Fantastic Beasts story by chance. It seems that the Wizarding World is specifically asking for his help now, though. The new trailer also shows Ilvermorny professor Eulalie Hicks recruiting a reluctant Kowalski at his bakery. Kowalski is clearly more pessimistic now after Queenie joined Grindelwald in the previous film. Maybe the wizards want him to try to convince Queenie to spy for them? Whatever the case, Kowalski will be visiting Hogwarts, fighting off Grindelwald’s supporters, and using magic.


What does this mean for the Harry Potter franchise? How is it possible that a muggle can do what Kowalski will be doing? This will be one of the most intriguing elements of The Secrets of Dumbledore.

Photos courtesy of Warner Bros.

Ilvermorny & Professor Eulalie Hicks

When Potter fans heard that the Fantastic Beasts story would be taking place primarily in the US, everyone was thrilled to see what the American wizarding school would be like. Unfortunately, the closest we got was a promotional animation with vague shots of Ilvermorny and a quick mention of it here and there in the films. There’s a chance that that could finally change in The Secrets of Dumbledore.


One new character coming center stage in the new film is Professor Eulalie Hicks, played by Jessica Williams. Hicks is a professor at Ilvermorny, the first to be featured in any of the Potter films. She will undoubtedly provide a closer look into Ilvermorny, even if only in conversation… hopefully. There is a more concrete hint that we could see more of Ilvermorny, though.


At one point in the trailer, we see a niffler running through some kind of tunnel, carrying a red piece of fabric in its mouth. A closer look at this shot reveals that the fabric is most likely some kind of scarf but, more importantly, bears the crest of Thunderbird, one of the houses of Ilvermorny. Could this shot potentially take place in some kind of tunnel underneath Ilvermorny? At the least, maybe we will get a glimpse at the Ilvermorny uniform.


Grindelwald’s Rise to Power

Grindelwald is no longer a shadowy, on-the-rise villain. In The Secrets of Dumbledore, he is actively taking over the Wizarding World with his charisma and ambitious ideals. The new trailer shows what appears to be some kind of wizarding election, with Grindelwald giving a speech to a large crowd. There are two other candidates who seem to be running against him. Shots of the crowd cheering for Grindelwald and swarming him as he smiles clearly hint that he will win them over with his promises to bring wizards out of hiding and take over the muggle world.


It will be interesting to see how Grindelwald and Dumbledore’s dynamic plays out here. It looks like they sit down and talk face to face at least once, which literally ends in flames. What is really interesting in this trailer is that we see Dumbledore and Grindelwald dueling, which shouldn’t be possible with their blood pact. We know that this blood pact is broken eventually since Dumbledore does ultimately defeat Grindelwald and take the Elder Wand from him. The Secrets of Dumbledore may reveal how exactly that pact ends up getting destroyed.


The Rocky Road Of The Fantastic Beasts Series

It is difficult to say what might happen in The Secrets of Dumbledore because the plotlines of the previous two Fantastic Beasts movies were so rocky. The series started off well with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. While it didn’t break any new ground in filmmaking, this first installment in the Fantastic Beasts series had a fun story and lovable heroes.


Unfortunately, the sequel flopped – big time. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald was quickly pinned as the worst film in the entire Harry Potter franchise. Controversy bubbled around certain aspects of the film, including the revelation that Voldemort’s snake, Nagini, was once a real woman. The film’s big reveal about Credence’s true identity did not sit well with audiences, either.


To make matters worse, The Crimes of Grindelwald had a strangely dark tone that alienated family audiences, a crucial demographic for Potter content. Fans were rattled even more when cast member Johnny Depp made headlines over a domestic abuse case with his former wife, Amber Heard. Depp denied the allegations repeatedly, but Warner Bros. could not allow him to continue on in his role as Grindelwald, especially in light of backlash from Potter fans. Luckily, Depp's replacement, Madds Mikkelsen, has been received well by audiences so far.



What Will It Take To Save The Wizarding World?

The Harry Potter franchise has been declining in popularity over the last handful of years. Between controversial comments from author J.K. Rowling and a lack of new content that lives up to the originals, the Wizarding World is struggling. Fantastic Beasts has yet to rally fans like Warner Bros. was hoping. Fans were briefly excited in 2021 when a streaming series was announced – only for it to turn out to be a corny trivia show. The Marauders series that Potterheads have been wanting for over a decade remains nothing more than a fanfiction.


The result of all this is a fanbase that is growing more indifferent to a beloved franchise. What will it take to revive the Harry Potter world? It needs a story that is fresh and exciting while still serving up a genuinely good story rooted in the ideals that made Harry Potter a success in the first place. Could The Secrets of Dumbledore finally do this? Maybe. It has to overcome the poor performance of The Crimes of Grindelwald first. Still, the new trailer for The Secrets of Dumbledore hints at a film that might just be able to get the modern Potter franchise back on track.

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