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Fantastic Beasts 2: Release date, cast, plot and rumors

Do you believe in magic? In the pre-Harry Potter sequel, fans will get to know young Dumbledore.

Possible spoilers for both Fantastic Beasts films ahead.

Harry Potter fans, prepare to dive back into the magical world before The Boy Who Lived was ever born. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the sequel to 2016's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, will take viewers back to the days when Dumbledore and his generation were young(ish).

The second Fantastic Beasts movie has delivered controversy since the beginning, since Johnny Depp and his dark wizard character, Gellert Grindelwald, has a much larger role in this film than in the first. The casting of Depp was criticized because his ex-wife, Amber Heard, accused him of physical and verbal abuse. Heard and Depp later issued a joint statement that implied they'd made peace, but that didn't smooth over Depp's reputation with some Potter fans.

But on the magical side, the film will take the story back to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, that beloved place that taught Harry, Hermione, Ron and so many other would-be witches and wizards. Just seeing the school's exterior in the trailers had some fans rapturous.

Here's what we know about the magical sequel so far. This story will be updated as we learn more.

Release date, production info

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald will be released Nov. 15 in Australia and Nov. 16 in the US and UK. It'll be available in RealD 3D and IMAX 3D. Most of the film was shot at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden in southeast England, with some scenes filmed in London, Switzerland and Paris. David Yates, who directed the last four Harry Potter films as well as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, will direct this one, too.

Author J.K. Rowling has said the Fantastic Beasts series will consist of five movies, though original plans were for a trilogy (there were eight Harry Potter films, so this is nothing).

In the first film, audiences were introduced to Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), a magizoologist who comes from England to America circa 1926 and meets up with a variety of Muggles and magical types. At the film's end, dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Depp) emerges, though he's taken into custody.

In the second film, a young Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) enlists Newt to stop Grindelwald from raising pure-blood wizards to rule over all non-magical beings. The second film is set just a year later, in 1927, and seems to take place in England and Paris.

Cast: Who's who?

Returning characters

Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander

Katherine Waterston as Tina Goldstein

Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski

Alison Sudol as Queenie Goldstein

Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone

Zoë Kravitz as Leta Lestrange

Carmen Ejogo as Seraphina Picquery, MACUSA president

Kevin Guthrie as Mr. Abernathy

Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald

New faces

Jude Law as Albus Dumbledore

Callum Turner as Theseus Scamander

Claudia Kim as an unidentified Maledictus

William Nadylam as wizard Yusuf Kama

Poppy Corby-Tuech as Vinda Rosie, a follower of Grindelwald

Ólafur Darri Ólafsson as Skender, the head of a wizarding circus and sideshow

Brontis Jodorowsky as Nicolas Flamel, the scribe who discovered the Philosopher's Stone

Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson as bounty hunter Grimmson

David Sakurai appears as Krall, a henchman of Grindelwald

Isaura Barbé-Brown as Laurena Kama, Leta's mother

Jessica Williams as Professor Eulalie "Lally" Hicks 

Plot news, rumors and theories

Horsing around: In the first film, evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Depp) is captured by MACUSA, magical America's governing body. The movie's title pretty much gives it away: Grindelwald likely escapes and commits the crimes that send Newt Scamander after him. And a toy maybe gives a clue as to how his escape happens. Digital Spy revealed a photo of a LEGO set that shows Grindelwald escaping from a carriage pulled by a thestral, a rare and creepy skeletal horse that can only be seen by those who have seen death.

Trailer reveals: The teaser trailer that came out in March excited fans by showing the character at Harry Potter's (future) alma mater, Hogwarts. It also reveals that Newt (Redmayne) is working with future Hogwarts headmaster Dumbledore (Law), and must head to Paris and a strange circus.

Creedence Clearwater Revival: Creedence Barebone (Ezra Miller) was thought to be dead at the hands of MACUSA Aurors in the first film, but he's back for this one, as confirmed by author J.K. Rowling's Pottermore site. And sharp-eyed fans think the trailer is hinting at his true parentage.

Dumbledore's personal life: Although Rowling revealed back in 2007 that she always meant for Dumbledore to be a gay man, and that he and Grindelwald had a relationship, director David Yates says Dumbledore's sexuality won't be "explicitly" addressed. "[Dumbledore] had a very intense relationship with Grindelwald when they were young men," Yates told Entertainment Weekly. "They fell in love with each other's ideas, and ideology and each other." But fans should expect a different Dumbledore than they know from his time with Harry. "He's a maverick and a rebel and he's an inspiring teacher at Hogwarts," Yates said. "He's witty and has a bit of edge. He's not this elder statesman."

Sealed with a hiss: Claudia Kim's character is a Maledictus, a person whose blood is cursed, and who will eventually turn into a beast. Fans are theorizing that the beast in question will be a snake, due in part to the scaly tights she is wearing in a cast photo, and also because of a circus poster in the teaser for a snake girl act that is labeled "Maledictus."

Brotherly love: Fans were a little excited by the final scene in the trailer, which shows Newt Scamander fighting alongside his older brother Theseus, a war hero and Head of the Auror Office at the British Ministry of Magic. Scamander brothers, together at last!

What about that Apparating rule? One scene in the trailer footage really stood out: Ministry of Magic officials are seen Apparating (appearing out of nowhere) at Hogwarts, presumably to meet with Dumbledore. In the books, Hermione Granger constantly reminds others that Apparating and Disapparating is not allowed on Hogwarts' grounds. But then again, this is well before Hermione's time there, and maybe the very events of this film create the need for the rule.

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