Eddie Redmayne says Fantastic Beasts 2 will be a darker sequel

You don’t often hear people boasting that their sequel is lighter and less intense than the first film; everyone wants to go THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK route and raise the stakes. The next installment of Warner Bros.’ FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM franchise won’t be quite as light-hearted as the first as Eddie Redmayne, who plays Newt Scamander, told Entertainment Weekly that FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD will be telling a “darker” story.

The most riveting aspect is the tonal change. It’s darker and more rigorous and weaving in the Potter lore we’re much more familiar with. So these characters you met in the first film are now in the wizarding world you understand more thoroughly. When I read [the script] it had these cryptic elements to it and it played like a thriller that made it a page-turner.

Given that the sequel deals with the dark wizard Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), pretty much the Hitler of the wizarding world, that’s not overly surprising. After being captured at the end of the last film, Grindelwald is being sent back to Europe to be tried, but, as usually happens, the dark wizard manages to escape, and Dumbledore (Jude Law) enlists Newt (Redmayne) to track him down. “What’s happened is Grindelwald’s belief that purebloods should reign over all non-magical beings is a political thing,” Redmayne teased. “He’s rallying more and more people and it causes divisions across families. He’s pretty hypnotic.

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FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD will open in 1927, a few months after the events of the first film in which Newt Scamander helped to capture the infamous dark wizard Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), and, as he promised he would, 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 (Jude Law). But Dumbledore will need help from the wizard who had thwarted Grindelwald once before, his former student Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne). The adventure reunites Newt with Tina (Katherine Waterston), Queenie (Alison Sudol) and Jacob (Dan Fogler), but his mission will also test their loyalties as they face new perils in an increasingly dangerous and divided wizarding world.

In addition to the returning characters from the first film, which includes Ezra Miller as the enigmatic Credence, the sequel will also star Claudia Kim as a Maledictus, the carrier of a blood curse that destines her ultimately to transform into a beasts, Callum Turner as Newt’s older brother, Theseus Scamander, a celebrated war hero and the Head of the Auror Office at the British Ministry of Magic, and we’ll also be properly introduced to Leta Lestrange, played by Zoe Kravitiz, who had once been close to Newt but is now engaged to his brother.

FANTASTIC BEASTS: CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD will hit theaters on November 16, 2018.