Posted on Sunday, November 20th, 2016 by Ethan Anderton
One of the most satisfying things about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is being able to watch a movie set in the wizarding world of Harry Potter where we don’t know what’s going to happen. Just like when we used to read the latest installment of J.K. Rowling‘s book franchise, we’re meeting new characters, discovering new details and seeing a story unfold for the first time. Even though the first film in this new franchise has some shortcomings, it certainly sets the stage for a promising series.
Another interesting aspect of Fantastic Beasts is that the movie introduces us to a new creature called an Obscurus that may help explain a certain event in the life of Albus Dumbledore that hasn’t been explored in the movies yet. Let’s dive into the Fantastic Beasts Obscurus connection to the Harry Potter series after the jump, but beware of some major spoilers for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Though we initially discussed the introduction of the Obscurus in Fantastic Beasts earlier this week with regards to a deleted scene that would have more obviously set up a sequel, we’ll catch everyone up again just so we’re all on the same page.
What Is An Obscurus?
One of the key plot points in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a mysterious dark force that keeps wreaking havoc on New York City in the 1920s. It’s something that’s been happening since even before Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) arrived in the city, so we know that it’s not his escaped magical creatures who are behind this destruction. However, Scamander is in possession of a creature called an Obscurus, a dark cloud that is housed in a kind of bubble inside his magic suitcase full of creatures.
From Scamander, we learn that the Obscurus is a dark force that manifests itself inside a witch or wizard who is suppressing their magical ability. The Obscurus in Newt’s suitcase came from a little girl in Africa who he tried to save, but ended up dying because the force was too great for her to endure. Apparently those who have an Obscurus inside them don’t live very long because the dark enegry becomes so great that they can no longer contain it. It turns out that another Obscurus is in New York, and that’s what’s causing all the damage around the city.
Percival Graves (Colin Farrell) seems hellbent on finding this force, and working off some kind of vision he had, he thinks that the No-Maj named Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller) is the key to finding the Obscurial (this host of the Obscurus) in question. Graves comes to believe that it’s Credence’s younger sister who has this power inside of her, but it turns out to be the abused Credence, suppressed by his adopted mother, Mary Lou Barebone (Samantha Morton), an anti-witchcraft activist. With Credence being much older than any previously encountered Obscurial, the force inside him is great, and turns into a massive swirling cloud of energy that can destroy almost anything in its path.
In the end, Percival Graves wants to use this force for some reason, and we learn that it’s because Graves is actually Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) n disguise, and he’s been hoping to use the Obscurus to spark a war between the wizarding world and the non-magical world so that wizards might finally rule over everything and show their superiority to humankind.
Though you might thing this is the first time Harry Potter fans have encountered the Obscurus, it turns out that we might have heard about this before, though not in any of the Harry Potter movies. Instead, we should look to the books for this information.