In 2016, Warner Bros. announced that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – the Harry Potter spinoff set in a 1920s iteration of J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world – would become a series consisting of five films. Now we’re only six months away from seeing the second, and fans have questions. We know the story will take place over two decades of the early 20th century, culminating in 1945, when Albus Dumbledore famously defeated the dark wizard Grindelwald. We also know that the sequel will see characters visiting London, Paris, and New York, and that we’ll see a young Dumbledore played by Jude Law. But we don’t know much else.
Last week, we at BuzzFeed had the opportunity to meet with the film’s stars, Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston, to get some info about the upcoming sequel. We asked them your nerdiest questions, and their answers were definitely interesting…
Aside from Dumbledore, can we expect to see any old friends from the Harry Potter series in Fantastic Beasts? – madelinerosee2
Katherine Waterston: You can expect that.
Eddie Redmayne: You can. There’s these sort of lines of connecting families and familiar people and names to the worlds of Beasts and Potter.
Which relationships between characters are you most excited to see develop in the upcoming films? – queenoffckingeverything
ER: I mean, our relationship! I’m hoping for an extraordinary J.K. Rowling romance. We know that we end up together, basically.
KW: But how?! How is it going to happen?
ER: Jo sort of tells us bits, but I don’t know. I loved our bit in this film. It’s so complicated. It’s complicated.
KW: Look. It’s complicated.
What can you tell us about Newt and Tina’s relationship in The Crimes of Grindelwald? Has it progressed or developed at all since the end of the first film? – Megan Walsh, Facebook
KW: Progressed? Regressed, maybe.
ER: There was so much hope at the end of the last film, but there’s miscommunication.
KW: Yeah. It’s a long-distance relationship!
ER: It’s desperate because they’re sort of pining for each other, but things have gone awry. Part of this film is about them re-finding each other.
KW: Yeah, but you know, there’s a lot going on, so it’s hard to just have a cup of tea and catch up and sort things out.
ER: We were quite excited at the end of the last film. We thought, Oh my god, we’re going to get to have a lot of fun working together on this film! And then the script arrived and it became clear that it wasn’t going to be that easy. We’re going to have to work for this romance.
KW: But that’s fun. It’s fun to have it be complex and surprising and rich.
What’s one thing that might surprise fans about the new instalment of Fantastic Beasts? – katerinap
ER: It’s so much darker than the last one. I think Jo loves that. In fact, I think she even said that to me on set. She was like, “I just love it when it gets darker.”
KW: It’s more complex. I think it’ll be a really fun journey to revisit and look for clues and things you might have missed the first time. It’s really dense and full of interesting dynamics and relationships and wonderful wizarding lore.
ER: I love that she has such an extraordinary imagination for plot. It’s so tightly wound, this story, that you have to pick apart each element of it. It feels like an extraordinary puzzle.
We know Newt prefers working with animals, but the trailer shows him working with Dumbledore. What motivates him to work with his former teacher? – Ginny Lemarie, Facebook
ER: A part of this story is about Newt’s call to action. One of the lovely things that I adore about Newt is that he’s just completely his own person – he doesn’t get pulled in to become a member of the tribe. People are always trying to recruit him, but he’s his own person. And yet, actually, the stakes get so high in this film that it’s really him questioning whether he can continue doing that or whether at some point you have to engage.
As for Dumbledore, he and Newt have always had this kind of wonderful master/apprentice quality and there’s kind of a joy between them. But Dumbledore’s sly. Dumbledore’s been recruiting Newt a little bit, and he certainly does in this film. I suppose the reason he’s pulled to engage is because the stakes are so high. That Grindelwald dude is causing havoc.
Since you already know what happens at the end of the series thanks to the Harry Potter books, does that inform the way you approach your characters? – Lucy Friedl, Facebook
KW: I would say no, because we – within our series – don’t have any clue where it’s going. You know, Jo will occasionally give us a little hint about something, but unlike the Harry Potter series, we don’t have books to refer to, so it’s a lot more, in a sense, like real life. You know, events happen and we respond to them.
ER: But it’s kind of wonderfully reassuring to know that we’re gonna end up together, right? Hopefully happily married.
KW: We still have to play it like we have no clue what’s happening, though. And isn’t that fun? That the audience is a step ahead of us? They can watch us fail and misunderstand each other and fail again and struggle to come together, and they can think, “Aw, these suckers. They don’t know it, but we know it. It’s going to work out.”
But maybe she’s going to change her mind! Who knows?! She’s J.K. Rowling! She can do what she wants!
How did it feel to have the fantastic four reunited? Have their relationships changed since the end of the first film? – Wanda Atlas, Facebook
KW: This is the kind of question that’s gonna get me in a lot of trouble.
ER: Do it. Get in trouble.
KW: It was amazing to be reunited. We spent so much time together on the tour and working on the first film, and it’s always so exciting when everybody goes away and people’s kids get bigger and people fall in love, all sorts of things happen. It’s really wonderful to all reunite and get the gossip.
ER: Those first early days when we come back to work, there’s no work happening. It’s just life catch-up and David Yates occasionally going, “OK, there’s work going on here, team. Enough with the banter.”
KW: As for this film… [thinks for a bit] Things have changed. With all the relationships in the group.
ER: You said that really enigmatically, it was brilliant. The idea of the quartet… I think, momentarily, the band has been disbanded.
KW: But the concern and the bond and the intimacy is still there. These people are very important to one another.
How much of a role will the beasts play in the upcoming films? Please tell me Pickett has a hand in the defeat of Grindelwald! – clairk
ER: I don’t want to give away too much, but Pickett definitely indirectly – just because he’s brilliant, and does these brilliant things effortlessly – helps us out. But there are also new creatures. One of the things I enjoy most about these films is getting to work with the puppeteers and the visual effects designers. In those early stages, when we’re prepping in the months beforehand, we’re seeing all these wonderful designs, and you’ve had a sense of what the creatures are when you read the script, but you see the visual effects team – who are like actors themselves – come up with these ideas that are like your ideas on steroids. There’s one creature in this – a very, very big, huge creature – and he sort of plucks me up at some point, and so the reality of filming that is you have a guy called Seven-Feet Pete – he’s really tall, he has massive arms – just having to pick me up all day.
What is the relationship between Newt and Theseus like? Are they close? Does Theseus’s relationship with Leta Lestrange cause issues? – Kerry Endicott, Facebook
KW: It’s interesting that you would ask me that. [laughs] I mean, this movie could be called Fantastic Beasts and…It’s Complicated. You know, all these relationships are really dynamic and rich.
ER: It is really complicated. [Theseus] is an Auror, he’s very establishment, and Newt is kind of the antithesis of that. But what I loved, actually, was the way Jo had written their relationship. It was quite antagonistic to begin with, and it certainly is filled with complexities. I mean, his brother is engaged to this girl who he had a huge affection for growing up, so there’s obviously a real tension there. But one of the things I loved is, actually, Jo said to me seeing what Callum [Turner] was doing and how David was directing – there was a lot of love there – that she progressed the relationship as a consequence of that.
What was the most magical thing that happened on set? – KaralineT
KW: There was this PA who seemed to have the magical ability to deliver a dose of gummy bears to the little holding area for the actors at the moment in the day right when I started to flag. It seemed as if by magic they would appear. I often wouldn’t even see him do it. I would just think to myself, Oh, I’m a little tired, and I would look to my left, and there would be gummy bears. It was pretty magical.
ER: One of the things I find weird about filmmaking is you can be filming wide shots and big things in the morning, and then everyone stops for lunch, and you’re feeling slightly tired afterwards, and you have to go straight into a close-up or an emotional thing. That’s why, basically, I’m a coffee addict. Katherine gave me a lot of grief on the first film about drinking so much coffee.
KW: I’ve never seen one man drink so much coffee in all my days.
Have you ever met any actors from the original series, and did they give you any advice? – UrbannaGirl
KW: You knew Emma [Watson] already, because you’d worked with her, but the rest of us met her the day of the premiere. She came by and she was very sweet when we were all feeling very vulnerable.
ER: I met Ralph Fiennes just before we started filming, and he said what an extraordinary time he’d had, and how brilliant David Yates was. He said there are days when you’re in the back of a scene, and you’re thinking like, oh, I’m not really in this, it’s fine, I can coast, but [David Yates] sees everything. That was…
KW: Scary? [laughs]
What was the hardest thing to get used to when you were filming Fantastic Beasts? Was it something to do with the preparation for your character, or was it something on set? – mcflaherty24
KW: In this film, I wear a navy blue leather trench that I think weighs about 30 pounds. Maybe that’s not a lot of weight for a strong person, but I had to kind of get fit for the coat. It was sort of like trying to move through mud up to your neck. It’s like something’s trying to pull you to the ground all the time.
ER: She had a twitch, which was like, before every single take she would not be comfortable unless she fiddled with her belt.
KW: Yeah, because if I tied the belt really tight, it would kind of lift the weight off my shoulders a little. It was the wandwork. It was sort of like doing wandwork with someone pushing down on your arm, so I got kind of jacked just from the coat. I could start a workout – the Leather Coat Workout. Make a video.
ER: I think for this film, we were kind of prepped, but the most hilarious moment from all the Fantastic Beasts for me was on the last film. Katherine and Ali [Sudol] and Dan [Fogler] and I were all so paranoid about what Apparating was, and so we worked with this movement coach for weeks, the four of us. We would take it incredibly seriously and sort of run and grab each other’s arms and try to Apparate, and we would get so worked up by it.
KW: Nothing would happen – we would just still be there!
ER: We saw the film, and basically the moment you decide to Apparate, they just vis-effects disappear you. All these wasted hours and sleepless nights with Apparating anxiety.
If you could choose a Patronus for each other, what would it be? – janavalcke93
ER: I think that you would be, like, a really elegant foal. Because you’re incredibly elegant and brilliant and occasionally wobbly on your feet. It’s because I know your Patronus is a white horse.
KW: That’s true. And I know your Patronus is some kind of hound.
ER: Aw, a basset hound. Please don’t make me anything else other than a basset hound.
KW: Well, I think it suits how I feel about you in this film. There’s a song – it’s from a very long time ago, and it’s by Elvis. It goes something like, “You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog.” Which I think suits how I feel about Newt in this film a little bit. Just a no-good, dirty dog.
ER: She’s got it all wrong. He’s not a dirty dog.
KW: Do I? Do I have it wrong? Girls – the ones that look really sweet? Watch out.