Fantastic Beasts: ‘Original Screenplay’ Compared to Actual Film – What the Movie Makers Changed or Left Out

A Team Effort Guest Post by Kelly Loomis and myself! At my urging, knowing her skills as a literary detective, Kelly watched the Fantastic Beasts DVD with the ‘Original Screenplay’ in hand. She noted any differences between published text and released movie. We already knew that the ‘Original Screenplay’ was actually not the shooting script, which included at least fifteen scenes, props, and plot points that didn’t make it to us in the theaters. Kelly’s check of ‘Original Screenplay’ with the actual movie reveals that there are even major differences between the film and what seemed like just a transcript with enter-and-exit stage notes and descriptions. Enjoy her findings and our shared thoughts on their meaning!

When I heard that JK Rowling would be writing the screenplay for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, my Potterhead self was excited and gratified. “Now,” I thought, “the film wouldn’t be missing the important details she weaves into her writing!”

I have been disappointed again.

First, as we’ve seen from John’s Fantastic Beasts posts about the shooting script and deleted scenes, the final film product is very different from the initial story Rowling approved for filming. The many cut scenes disappointed serious Rowling Readers as they were crucial to what we felt were key elements of the story. I’ve put a Round-Up of John’s posts below about the grand canyon separating the shooting script and the movie released last November and even the DVD we have now.

Second, incredibly, even the published ‘Original Screenplay’ doesn’t match up with the movie. Having compared the one with the other, scene by scene, I‘ve found that even the final printed screenplay is different in some areas than the film. Prompted by John, I’ve put these into writing for you all to ponder.

The good news? The “original” in ‘Original Screenplay’ used to seem ironic if not flat-out dishonest. What I’ve learned from comparing the published text, however, has shown me that this book is not just a transcript. It’s another window into the shooting script that Rowling wrote and approved for filming.

I list after the jump all of what I found. All citations are from the first edition of The Original Screenplay of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. All opinions are subject to 180 degree shifts consequent to your corrections!

1) On page 41, the Special Investigations meeting with the MACUSA President, that ‘Tina breaks into with Newt, Graves’ face is described as “cut and bruised from last night’s encounter with the strange entity…”

Do you remember Graves’ “encounter with the strange entity”?

Watching this scene, the deleted scene at the elevator with Tina, and the subsequent scene in the wand permit office, Graves’ face looked to be in pretty good shape. I’m most intrigued to know, though, what type of encounter he had and what Rowling’s intent was in having had him already personally encounter the Obscurus.

There are two possibilities. The one that the text seems to suggest is that Graves, whom we saw seeing the “strange entity” at “dusk” in Scene 5, ” near the City Hall Subway,” where it rips up the street (pp 6-9). If Graves is “cut and bruised from last night’s encounter” at the City Hall subway entrance, well, a lot more happened in that scene at dusk than the scene as filmed and cut suggested. Why didn’t he Apparate out of harm’s way as he does in the finale’s encounter with Credence-Gone-Wild? 

The other possibility is the deleted scene not on the DVD that I found in an online Colin Farrel interview and which John wrote about here. Farrel revealed:

There was one scene that didn’t make the film that we shot where he was actually having a vision and he was cramped down in the corner of his office with his shirt off, just a vest on, sweating, and seeing something. And there was a vision.

As John wrote in his post, that deleted scene explained why Graves knew that the Barebones Orphanage was where the Obscurial was living and why he started his grooming of Credence for information. Not to mention a big pointer to there being a lot more to this Auror than meets the eye. Visionary? Who doesn’t share his Second Sight revelations with anyone?

We didn’t get that scene, though, even in the deleted scenes on the DVD. Could it have been the “encounter with the strange entity” that left Graves “cut and bruised”? If it came after the street scene, sure. Part of me thinks it happened before the street scene, that what he saw in the vision guided him there, but, either way, the “cut and bruised” description in the Special Investigations Office marks some gap between the shooting script, ‘Original Screenplay, and film-as-released.

2) On page 125, scene 50, Newt and Jacob are in the Diamond District hunting the pesky Niffler when “Newt casts a spell toward the window, turning it into a sticky jelly, which finally traps the Niffler.”

The film-as-released, though, just shows the Niffler swinging around the lightpost and slamming into the window without Newt casting any kind of spell. I had wondered why the Niffler stuck to this window as opposed to any other. For many of us, learning and seeing the spells is part of the fun.

John has written about the scene and the dialogue that was cut from it here. The relevant part:

At 15:07 in the LEGO Cut Scenes video I used (there are five versions last I checked), in the Diamond District, hunting a Niffler:
newt5LEGO Jacob: Ain’t you got no spells to just zap the glass away?
LEGO Newt: I do, of course I do, but they’re all a bit… well, loud, really. And I don’t want to startle him and give him a chance to run off again.
LEGO Jacob: Well, I’m sure we can find a bit of a quieter way in. Otherwise we’ll wind up in Sing Sing faster than you can say Abracadabra.
LEGO Newt: I’d be a wee bit careful how you say that.
The “original screenplay” has none of this. Newt blasts his way into the store with a window shattering “Finestra” (p 123) and we miss a great Avada Kedavra joke, humor for fans akin to Newt’s Groucho-esque “Chaser” response to Mary Lou Barebone earlier.

And now we know they didn’t film the scene as Rowling imagined it, either.

3) In the pivotal scene 60, page 148, in which Newt and Jacob climb out of the suitcase menagerie in front of a meeting of the International Confederation of Wizards, the response to Madam Picquery’s command, “Arrest them!” is “A dazzling eruption of spells hit Newt, Tina and Jacob, all whom are slammed to their knees.”

Not what we get on the silver screen. Yes, we see the Terrific Trio magically forced “to their knees,” but the scene as we have it on film does not include anything like a “dazzling eruption of spells.” Instead we see Graves using an almost casual hand gesture — no wand? — and a kind of force field forcing Tina, Newt, and Jacob to their knees.

Was Rowling in the approved script we catch a glimpse of here trying to give us a show of Madam Picquery’s powers as MACUSA President or of the uniformity of mistrust this wizarding League of Nations feels about Newt and Company? Either way, we get something different, namely, a show of Graves’ power and his relationship as a servant of Madam Picquery. 

Which is a great set-up at the story turn for the reversal in the Subway Scene finale. Still, it’s a change to note.

4) Inside the Blind Pig — Scene 82, page 190 — Newt and friends are looking for information about the missing Demiguise. We get a signature Rowling text-within-the-text of a “glamorous goblin jazz singer” who “croons on a stage full of goblin musicians, smoky images wafting from her wand to illustrate her lyrics.”

Goblin with a wand? If we had seen that, we’d have known what the Wanted Posters tried to convey, that is, the Blind Pig is a place well outside the law, or, at least, law that the UK Ministry of Magic enforces.

I had to watch this scene several times. I just could not see a wand from any angle. The images the “glamorous goblin jazz singer” seemed to be produced and coming from the end of her fingers. This is surprising because I seem to remember there was an outcry from fandom objecting to the seeming flint of a magical creature  and non-human in possession of a wand. If they were responding to the screenplay, they were correct in their information.

But I don’t see it on the DVD. Did I missing something in the DVD? Was there a change made between film and DVD?

More important, it seems Rowling wanted the goblin singer to have a wand; what is the significance of a goblin in possession of a wand to the overall story? Is this a pointer to MACUSA being all uptight about some things — can you say wizard-No-Maj relations? — and relatively laissez faire on others? I suspect that was how Europeans understood Prohibition in America.

5) “Scene 95 — Exterior Tenement in the Bronx –Night. A deserted street. Graves, led by Credence, approaches a tenement building.” (Page 224)

That’s the end of the scene. The next scene is the tenement building’s hallway, where Grindelgraves tells Credence he’s a Squib, that he’s “unteachable,” and “I’m done with you.” Whoops!

Here’s the problem. This scene as described in The Original Screenplay  is supposed to be taking place in the Bronx. However, the scene shows the same brownstone or its unwrecked twin described as “near the City Hall Subway” entrance where we first meet Graves at the beginning of the movie (Scene 5, page 6). The damage shown as done by the Obscurus to Modesty’s building is the same exact damage to the side of the building and the street corresponding to the scene on page 6. This means the film audience thinks that the scenes occur in the same place.

The locations given in the headings for Scenes 5 and 95, however, differ from that depicted on screen. Pages 6 and 7 describe a destroyed brownstone “near City Hall” and page 224 simply describes it as a tenement building “in the Bronx.” Page 225 then goes on to describe the interior of the Bronx tenement as “miserable” and “dilapidated.”

John wrote about this problem here. The relevant cut of that post:

[Modesty] may be a witch, unlike Credence, whose powers are not uncontrollable or repressed, just untrained. That she isn’t an Obscurial doesn’t detract from her evident desire to destroy Mary Lou; the young girl may have been equal to moving the belt in her anger about the whipping she knows Credence is about to get for being caught with her wand.

And, if she isn’t magical, her surviving Credence’s magical outburst, a blow that kills Mary Lou and older sister Chastity is another mystery or just a miracle. She’s right between Credence and Modesty when the guy blows, right?

nyc-mapThe New Yorkers out there, too, were left scratching their heads when Credence reveals himself as the Obscurus in the Bronx tenement. According to the Harry Potter Wiki, a NSPS wall poster from MinaLima says the New Salem Chapel is on Pike Street in Manhattan (now Allen Street). That is a long way from Modesty’s family home in a Bronx tenement.

By subway today, it is a little over an hour. If I’m reading that history of the NYC Subways correctly, it wasn’t possible to make this trip until 1932 just from one end of Manhattan to the other. On foot the trip to the Bronx is four hours. No way Modesty gets there by the time Credence contacts Grindelgraves via the Hallows pendant, a walk the child would have to make on her own while in shock from seeing NSPS, Mary Lou, and Charity blown up. Credence doesn’t know enough magic to Apparate with her and his Obscurus form isn’t passenger friendly.

It seems a real possibility that she involuntarily Apparated to her home of choice in the crisis of Credence’s going all Obscurus right behind her, the way Harry escaped bullies at school before he knew he was a wizard.

Was this significant? I think it is. I thought while reading the script for first time what John describes above, that it was impossible for Modesty to have gotten from the Second Salem Church to the Bronx ahead of Graves and Credence apparating there. Even if she had a head start, it would have taken hours to get there on foot or on some type of public transportation. Plus, it was the middle of winter. She was in slippers and in a nightdress.

Was this a clue Rowling was giving us about who Modesty really is or am I reading too much into it? I think there will be more to learn about Modesty and Credence’s background in future movies that will be significant and this could have been one of Rowling’s famous clues.

Or maybe John just made a mistake here? Maybe The Original Screenplay text had to be finished and sent to press before the filmmakers (or someone who is from New York) realized, “Hey, wait a minute, you know the Bronx is nowhere near City Hall, right?” and made the change.

Dock the Continuity Editor’s bonus for missing this gaffe if that’s the case. Until we know that for sure, however, the “in the Bronx” tenement scene raises big question marks about Modesty’s magical abilities.

6) “Scene 116 — Interior Subway — Night” (Page 256). “With a sense that [Newt’s] been holding this one back, he slashes [his wand] through the air: Out flies a crackling rope of supernatural light which wraps itself around Graves like a whip.”

This is the Original Screenplay/Movie synapse that John noticed that led him to ask me to see how many more differences there might be between what we thought was just a transcript and the film we saw in theaters. John thinks the “rope of supernatural light” mentioned in the Original Screenplay is important because (a) it suggests a story latch with the “sudden explosion of pure white light” (Scene 1, page 1) by which Grindelwald escapes his captors in the story opening (Grindelwald escape-capture), (b) the “holding one back” points to his having knowledge he would need this spell, i.e., his being on a mission from DDore who taught him this spell, and (c) the subduing of Grindelwald means Newt is the Master of the Elder Wand.

John may be wrong on this last point (the wand is Accio’d by ‘Tina in The Original Screenplay which is his real disarming; we know GrindelGraves can do magic wandlessly) but it’s no small scene, right? And the film does it differently than what is in the published text.

This film shows Newt doing three things where the “Original Screenplay” has him throwing Swooping and casting the rope of light. He throws out the Swooping Evil who again protects himself and Tina, then Newt uses his wand – it seems! it’s not quite visible in the DVD clip — and a non-verbal spell (?) to throw something brown and with an almost algae-like stalk whose hand-like parts stick to the back of Graves and bring him down (Tina accio’s the wand), and, finally, he uses a fire-tip wand ‘Revelio’ spell spoken aloud to reveal Graves’ inner Grindelwald. See the following video at 2:58, 3:00, and 3:10 for his heroics.

If John is right and the disarming of the Master of the Elder Wand even if he is not using the Elder Wand means control of it (think Harry and Draco at the Malfoy Mansion in Deathly Hallows), then this three-step take-down of GrindelGraves is a mess. One possibility is that the Swooping Evil, a magical creature, has become the Death Stick savant because it is successfully deployed to distract the Bad Guy. A stretch, I admit, but, if true, does Newt have to squeeze out more of its venom for Forget-Me-Not juice to gain mastery from the Swooping Evil? I’d rather not go there.

But the algae stalk thingie never explained that Newt casts/throws that actually subdues GrindelGraves? Is it Beast, Spell, or a stolen prop from the re-boot of ‘Amazing Spider-man’? As far-fetched as the Swooping Evil is for Master of the Elder Wand, does anyone cheer at the thought of a plant-animal hybrid magical creature as the key to DDore’s victory over Grindelwald in Part 5? Did we have any clues about this ‘Fantastic Beast’ anywhere in the film or in Newt’s textbook? It is the single greatest departure from the Original Screenplay, not to mention just good story-telling, that we have in the movie.

Is Goopy-Glue supposed to be the spell Newt casts “with the sense that he’s been holding this one back”? That works, at least in the sense that we’ve had no hint about or introduction to it. Maybe the “supernatural light” aspect of the Original is the wand-turned-cigarette-lighter that Newt uses to cast the Revelio charm. There’s nothing about a Zippo-tipped wand in the Original Screenplay. This is the climactic moment of the movie! It breaks with the published text, with the unwritten agreement of ‘no hidden clues that solve the mystery’ between author and reader/film-goer, and all our experience of J. K. Rowling.

I think John is right in suggesting the rope of supernatural light is a pointer to Grindelwald’s power we saw in Scene 1, that DDore knows about it, and that the spell Newt uses — if the algae spider-web is a spell and not a Beastie — is one his Headmaster taught him before sending him on his way. That the magically luminescent lasso survives in The Original Screenplay suggests this is what Rowling had in mind. That the director cut it from the filmed version for Goopy Glue and Revelio-on-Fire? Who knows?

Again, it could just be the two Davids and Jo agreed on the change after the Original Screenplay went to press and this latest version is what the Presence wanted in the movie. The Swooping Evil or Goopy-Glue as Master of the Elder Wand, though, even allowing that Newt’s use of the beastie and the living algae-glue (?) almost certainly means he is the Master, is much less neat than the white-light rope spell.

I feel this omission could be important, too, because it might lead viewers to discount Newt’s magical abilities. If he is to play the hero’s role in the coming movies, having a relationship with Dumbledore that will eventually lead to the downfall of Grindelwald, I think he would be more powerful magically than the film demonstrates.

Or maybe that his relationship with magical creatures like the Swooping Evil and Goopy Glue is what defeats Grindelwald and Frank saves MACUSA, just as Pickett saves Newt and the Swooping Evil saves Tina in the Death Chamber at story center, is just the point. What would the magical world do without these creatures that they want to destroy? It is just their powers that make it possible for Santa to deliver all the toys when the North Pole is socked in with a blizzard (cue ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ jingle).


Today I just wanted to share that the Original Screenplay is not the straight screen-to-text transcript that we thought it was. It points to gaps between the shooting script and theater/DVD version we already knew about as well as possible post-publication changes. These gaps provide speculation fuel for serious Rowling Readers interested in what part of the film screenplay she wrote didn’t make it on screen and what meaning may have been lost.

Beyond that, the discrepancies highlight the disappointment I felt when I realized the published Original Screenplay was not the shooting script. 

I am definitely a person who prefers books to movies and I generally feel disappointed in a movie I see in which I have already read the book. Rowling’s Harry Potter books made into movies are at the pinnacle of disappointment for me. “ The Davids” described the process of working with Rowling on the script and trying to achieve the “melody” of the script in an interview they did with the Leaky Cauldron.

To me, they missed some notes.

Earlier this week I commented on on Emily Strand’s recent ‘Why the Harry Potter Books are Better’ HogPro post about the adaptation of the Harry Potter books by Warner Brothers. I shared there the frustration I feel watching those films. I sometimes just want a quick dive into the Harry Potter world, decide to drop a DVD in to watch one of the movies, only to feel disappointed and almost bewildered by the senseless changes made to Rowling’s story.

I had hoped to avoid this dilemma with Fantastic Beasts because of the published text but, because of the discrepancies, am again left wanting. Thank you in advance for letting me know what you think about the discrepancies between The Original Screenplay and the film/DVD as released, especially if you spotted one that I missed!

About Kelly Loomis: “I became interested in Harry Potter back in 2003 when my third grade son started reading the books. I have become what my daughter describes as a ‘Potternerd’ who has read several of the books multiple times, listened many times to the audio versions, combs fansites and YouTube for the latest news and theories and went to the Studio Tour by myself while in London.  I was excited to discover this past year and exchange ideas with John and other contributors.  I’m thrilled to be able to be a part of the discussion.”

John Granger’s ‘Unlocking Fantastic Beasts: Finding the Text Round Up’

Part 5A: So What? The Found Text and Its Meaning


  1. Sebastian says

    Thank you for spotting those differences and writing this interesting and well researched post!

    The whole issue concerning the Grindelwald-capturing-spell/spider-glue-thingie keeps me thinking. If it really is a spell (it’s clearly meant to be one in the “official screenplay”), then I believe we might have seen it before and it is in fact the same spell that Dumbledore used against Voldemort in the ministry in Book 5. Here is the quote from the book (page 749 in my Bloomsbury edition):

    “Dumbledore flicked is own wand: the force of the spell that emanated from it was such that Harry, though shielded by his golden guard, felt his hair stand on end as it passed and this time Voldemort was forced to conjure a shining silver shield out of thin air to deflect it. The spell, whatever it was, caused no visible damage to the shield, though a deep, gong-like note reverberated from it – an oddly chilling sound.

    ‘You do not seek to kill me, Dumbledore?’ called Voldemort.”

    Apparently, the spell is neither meant to hurt (since the shield takes no damage) nor to kill (which Dumbledore knows would be pointless anyway), so I alway thought of it as being some kind of capturing spell.

    Back in the day when the 6th book was released, Rowling discussed this spell in an interview conducted by Emerson Spartz and Melissa Anelli. Asked whether we will ever find out the nature of the spell cast by Dumbledore against Voldemort, Rowling answered “It’s possible, it’s possible that you will know that. You will — [pause] — you will know more about Dumbledore. I have to be sooo careful on this.”

    (You can read the whole interview here:

    After reading Deathly Hallows – and, unfortunately, not finding out more about this peculiar spell – I always thought it could have been the spell with which Dumbledore captured Grindelwald. Look at Rowlings wording: She clearly links the spell to Dumbledore’s backstory of which we knew nearly nothing at the time of the interview. And at least in one stage of planning the books, the spell must have had some relevance, or else she wouldn’t have been so uptight about it.

    If Dumbledore really used it to defeat Grindelwald, using the same spell against Voldemort in Book 5 seems fitting, as well as teaching this very spell to Newt long before the battle between Dumbledore and Grindelwald took place.

    [I may get carried away, but this could also explain why Voldemort recognized the spell immediately; since this battle is stated (albeit by Elphias Doge in his post mortem on Dumbledore) to be one of the greatest fights ever to be witnessed in magical history, one could assume that it is documented to a certain extent. If it is, Voldemort in turn would have studied this fight in order not to be defeated by “the only one he ever feared”, which by the way is the chapter title of the excerpt quoted above.]

  2. I have forwarded your thoughtful response to Kelly, Sebastian. Here are my first thoughts about her discoveries and your comment in anticipation of her reply:

    First, I spotted that there was no white-light rope at the finish and asked Kelly if she would do the ‘Original Screenplay’ to movie check in order to see if there were any more discrepancies. Here’s the thing. Even after Kelly wrote me about her six findings and we started writing up this post, I still didn’t get the “algae-stalk” spider-web thingie (spell? Beast?) that brings Grindelwald down. I remembered it as a Swooping Evil victory.

    Kelly had to insist I watch the clip for me to see this. I’m still astonished that there hasn’t been more conversation about this non-verbal spell or strange beast in the movie’s defining moment; I think you’re right in thinking that, along with Kelly’s demonstration that there are six significant breaks between the ‘Original Screenplay’ and the film (i.e., it’s not a one-to-one transcript as we have thought), this bizarre take-down is the most important discovery of her research.

    Second, I love the idea that this is the spell with which Dumbledore takes down Grindelwald in the Film Five confrontation (and one he tries to use against Lord Voldemort in Order of the Phoenix). I’m skeptical, though. Here’s why.

    If Grindelwald is the greatest wizard of his age with the possible exception of DDore, I doubt he is caught unawares by this spell twice. As you read in the post, I think the spell is something DDore has taught Newt to take Grindelwald down (hence the “with the sense that he’s been saving this one up”). If I’m right in this, isn’t it likely that Grindelwald, who has expressed curiosity in the MACUSA interrogation of Newt about the relationship between Headmaster and Magizoologist, recognizes the spell’s source, i.e., that DDore knows the spell will work because he’s already used it in Godric’s Hollow sparring matches back in the day?

    I like your idea that it is something of a DDore signature spell and that we’ll see the beginning Film’s finale again in the final movie confrontation. I’m doubtful, though, that it will be that long before we learn that DDore taught Newt the spell — and that Grindelwald won’t have a defense (perhaps, as you say, one the Dark Lord of Volde War II has learned from reading the histories of that 1945 duel).

    What I’m worried about, now that Kelly has forced me to see that the white light rope isn’t switched out for the Swooping Evil take-down but by a bizarre spell or magical creature/seaweed we have been told or shown nothing about, is that Rowling had nothing to do with the decision about the change.

    Tell me if you think this is a credible scenario:

    1. Rowling writes the screenplay that becomes the Shooting Script. The film is shot and is being edited. The Two Davids are confident they have their cut, the ‘Original Screenplay’ near transcript is sent to Minalima for illustrations and design before publication, and the film is sent to CGI Toonville for beastie and wand-spell special effect additions. All the major scene deletions and story changes that the Two Davids have done to Goliath’s agreed-to shooting script have been made.

    2. While Minalima and the publishers are formatting the transcript of this cut into what we get as ‘The Original Screenplay,’ the changes Kelly has found and which are described in our post take place in CGI land. The film’s journey to the theaters and the manuscript’s voyage to bookstores are on different tracks and are irreconcilable. Some of the gaffes — I think of the cuts Graves is supposed to have and Modesty’s trip to the Bronx — may be just Continuity Editor failures to catch and correct. Some may be changes made that only the Davids approved in consultation with the pixie dust Pixar pogues that twist the pixels of special effects.

    3. The motion that Newt makes with the “algae-stalk” brownish Goopy-glue that brings GrindelGraves to his knees (and makes him susceptible to the Zippo-Revelio charm?) is a rope pulling action. The Shooting Script, I’m all but certain, like the ‘Original Screenplay’ we have, called for the rope of light that mirrors the light of the Grindelwald escape-spell in scene 1, a rope that Newt ‘pulls’ in the scene as shot.

    Is it implausible or relatively likely that the Warner Brothers Wunderkinden inserted the Gloopy-Goo ‘rope’ instead of the white light that the Shooting Script and the ‘Original screenplay’ call for because it was an effect the CGI wizards had on hand, cost a lot less to make, or because they couldn’t create a rope of light effect that was convincing (or didn’t require expensive re-shoots)?

    Forgive me for thinking it credible that the Two Davids made this change on their own, that is, without Rowling’s okay, because they could. Rowling describes the film-making process in the ‘Original Screenplay’ afterward as an “exasperating” and “infuriating” process. I suspect the deletions of fifteen scenes and props and plot details from the Shooting Script that we know about are a big part of her frustration with the filmmakers; it seems possible, too, that a switch from “rope of light” to off-the-shelf Spider-web “algae-stalk” could be another. Sausage making and film-production are ugly businesses.

    Let me know what you think! Thanks again for your great response to Kelly’s discoveries and our team write-up.

  3. Kelly Loomis says

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I really want to respond to this but am off to a busy day. I will think on these things and reply a little later. (I’ve got some things percolating as a result of Sebastian’s proposals. )

  4. Kelly Loomis says

    I re-read the several pages of OOTP which contain DD and Voldemort’s duel. It is interesting that DD’s second spell used a whip like motion that produced a rope of fire. This wrapped Voldemort up, shield and all. With Rowling’s degree of detail, if his first spell aimed at Voldemort was also a rope of something (white light if Sebastian’s hypothesis is correct), I’m thinking she would have described it as such. Plus, Harry heard a gong-like sound. Was this a result of the spell hitting the shield or just a by product of the spell itself? There is nothing mentioned of this with Newt’s spell.

    John mentions Grindelwald’s use of a spell to kill all the aurors at the beginning which is an explosion of white light. What is it about the spell that kills them? Was it just that powerful in and of itself? The Avada Kadavra curse used in HP is green light.

    I find it interesting that it looks like Newt uses a wandless (hand motion like GG used in MACUSA) and nonverbal spell to take down GG. Seems to show him to be a powerful wizard. Something you really don’t get a picture of throughout the film. So either he comes by that ability naturally or he has been tutored. Being tutored would fit John’s theory of him working as DD’s agent/spy.

    OOTP and then DD’s final duel with Grindelwald may both show DD’s avoidance of using killing spells. With Voldemort, we can easily see why. Was his emotional attachment to Grindelwald the reason he never finished him off or was Grindelwald powerful enough to avoid being killed? Or, could it be something like Harry’s use of the disarming spell against Voldemort in the Great Hall because he was master of the elder wand? With it looking like the ownership of the elder wand has transferred to Newt or Tina, something similar to Harry’s method may happen in FBAWTFT’s finale. If Grindelwald breaks out of MACUSA somehow and recovers his wand is that enough to transfer ownership back to him? Guess we’ll have to stay tuned for more in the films to come.

    I’ll be disappointed if, as John suggests, editing and/or the producer/director changed the film from what Rowling wrote if it really is a significant detail. And this gets me back to my original point of not liking the movies because of key details left out!!

  5. Could the “algae” be devil’s snare?

  6. Kelly Loomis says

    Suvi, the filmmakers may have interpreted it like that. However, in my view (and it’s mine), I feel Rowling would have described it as such. Her “white rope of light” does not really fit the description of devil’s snare.

  7. The start of this reply has been rattling around since the “5 reasons” post, and suspended while back-tracking into professor Granger’s round-up, and as the film making process has been brought into play, I think I can finally(?) post something here.

    Compared to the Cursed Child’s script writing style, there was no doubt about the authorship of the FB screenplay this time-there was hope . . . but while the FB screenplay was full of JKR’s story-telling fun, it soon flattley delivered something other than a uniquely HP/WWHP experience. Much like the WWHP theme parks, we are not really being presented with anything new, just more of the same in a different form/media/POV. (In regards to movie making style, for film noir nods, “Sky Captain” was better crafted.) IMO many came to the WWHP1-FB for something more than the passing encounter with the Ilvermorny school song and Newt’s old school scarf than was received, as these two items were the tantalizing hooks to get the HP fandom into the FB series. I was & still am left unsatisfied. (Marquee: (Satisfaction coming in your next paid lesson?)

    Although alluded to, I’ll name a few of those milked VFX that I recognized, like the Avengers city breaking alien hoard train/SW cantina scene/Sony’s growing/shrinking Alice and the teapot, Tomorrowland/MIB 3 timeline possibilities, and Bill Irwin’s re-vied vaudeville stage trunk act as a main supporting character. All are akin to the Drumstrang ship, that came to us via Pirates of the Caribean in HP4-GOF. The prolonged exposure to these re-purposed VFX only served to take me out of this WWHP1-FB offering. One then wanders (Yes, that really is the letter “a” where a letter “o” should be.) just how closely Jacob will parelell MIB3’s K after his auto exposure to the Neuralizer/Obliviating rain? (Was Potions the real Dark Arts class after all? Why are all the complaints over Lupin’s POA departure not also showing up here? What about-ugh, Basta!)

    Given the numerous accounts about screen-plays bearing little resemblance to their filmed versions, I was willing to at least support the screen-play that I trusted as JKR.’s truer work, It does bear the moniker of “The Original Screenplay” does it not? Further, is the sad fact that the film is still fan art. and Worse, is the revelation that the “Ivermoreny school song” is fan art of fan art direction. Really, JKR couldn’t write this? ? ? and Thanks to the brilliant detective work in these series of essays the existence of the shooting script means that the spirit of the word “Original” isn’t what I thought “Original” was going to mean: something a little rawer and a little closer to JKR’s creative process and, instead, being even a few more degrees removed from the author’s intentions. Perhaps JKR should release the screen-play before any filming starts. That’s what it will take to get this Huff to start trusting in this series offering. Then again, it is “just “entertainment,”right? (Theater Exit here.)

    Finally, what I can state is that the growing interests for brand expansion is seeing one huffed Huff. The only other way for a truer work of JKR to come through in this media is to approach it as many before her have done-to set up her own shop. but I suspect contract stipulations preclude this possibility. I am reminded of Jacques Tati who handled as much of the movie-making process as possible to assure the artistic integrity of his Monseuer Huelot film series-each averaging about 10 years of artistic processing between releases. However, that was a lot of physical/hand work that has been greatly reduced in time by digital processing. What was the longest gap between books? – I’d be willing to wait.

    OK, Just two more points:

    1) There is no mention of the Ginger Witch in the “original” screenplay’s Grindlewald headline montage but does show up amongst the film’s headline sequence.

    2) I do not find it a stretch that the ginger witch could be fitted to Queenie. Polar opposite siblings are usually a fascinating thread to balance. The responsible sibling still shepherding the rebel after all these years. Even more indicative is the specific descriptor of a “Bronx Ginger Witch” that has not only been under and out from under investigation but also in and then out of Azkaban-neat trick. Sure helps to know someone in magical law enforcement. Having several references in just one film seems to be more than a lark with visual fillers. True, while MinaLima has been inserting singular Ginger Witch references into the films since HP3-POA, I’d like to think that the WWHP1-FB’s multiple references make it either a strong clue or an adept red-herring. The Ginger Witch, at least, makes for an interesting switcheroo out of non-existent book canon crossing over to become canon as film . . . Wait a minute . . .

    P.S.: That indicates that JKR has even lesser control over the final product than first thought.

    P.S.S.: That then indicates the “original” screen-play and the shooting script are secondary and tertiary sources as to the final output format which I believe has been already mentioned within the Hogwarts Professor WWHP1-FB essay array.

    P.S.S.S.: That makes JKR the underdog, and “Everybody loves a rebel, Harry . . . scratch that last.”

  8. I feel film needs a champion in this debate, as many people seem to side with written text. Film is a totally different medium from the written word, and as such needs to be given a measure of its own integrity – and never forget that the film audience is not always the same as the audience for written materials and thus each movie must be able to stand on its own merit.

    Some overall points of note about films and screenplays:
    1) a film is a collaboration, and everyone’s input counts, not just JKR’s.
    2) the screenplay is not a definitive work from which a film was adapted – the FILM is the definitive end work, and so the film is the canon, not the screenplay.
    3) Differences between the two are not a degradation of the screenplay. They are refinement of the film project through script revisions, shooting and post production.
    4) the screenplay should be released warts and all. It does NOT need an editing pass – we should be able to see the extra work the film makers put in to get the final product right…..
    5) “Original” refers to the fact it hasn’t been adapted from a novel / play / stage production / TV show, and is not a version control term. A “Screenplay” is the first version of any film – then comes shooting scripts, script revisions, ad-lib, re-shoots, and post production. It is not a transcript of the film no matter how much people want it to be. I think this is the source much disappointment.

    Now for the points in the post: thoughts on the film making decisions, and whether they were right for film:

    1. The Vision scene is unnecessary, and would have exposed Graves too soon. He would have stood out from the other aurors as being visually different had he been bloodied, and wouldn’t have been the visual symbol of a perfect model citizen and leader. It would have broken his cover and hinted to the viewer that something is off with him. What’s the point of a mystery if the viewer says “yep I saw that one coming from a mile away!”? Grave’s vision is given to the audience by way of a simple dialogue exposition which is much quicker, less distracting, advances the plot better, and is far cheaper. Good decision to cut this scene out.

    2. The window traps the Niffler. The spell is implied. Cutting back to Newt mid-stream in that slow mo shot would have taken us out of the moment, wrecked the humour, spoiled the punchline, and ruined the surprise of the trap being sprung. We are in “Niffler POV” in that moment, so the trap needs to surprise the viewer as well as the Niffler for the joke to land. Good editing choice which maintains the emotion of the moment.

    3. “A dazzling display” fight would have ruined the emotional tension, and possibly be seen as a show of unnecessary force by the government (what are we saying here about American Law Enforcement by erupting into a wand fight?). It would have detracted from the gravity and seriousness of the death sentence, and ruined excellent acting performance. It could have also been another potential unintended reveal of Graves’ secret identity if he had used force at this point. Worse, it would have been a slight on Tina and Newts good intentions – how can we believe him yelling a heartfelt “They’re not dangerous!” if he’d just been engaged in magical argy-bargy? Oh and – CGI costs…. Don’t turn into Michael Bay….. Good decision.

    4. There’s significance in a Goblin having an “illegal” wand in a speak easy, but there is also significance in showing the magic that Goblins can perform without a wand on their own terms. Both have merit. We have seen house elves perform wand-less magic before now, but we have never seen a goblin perform any magic of their own or show their magical power. Also we’ve never seen a Goblin other than ugly, male and white… To hand a goblin a wand leaves the viewer in doubt about whether the power is merely from the wand, or from the Goblin. Wand-less there is no doubt. I like having the Goblin wand-less, a woman, black and beautiful… I think the combination of all those elements sends a powerful message. Good decision.

    5. “Continuity Editing” is a style of editing, but unfortunately no such role exists (the job of Continuity actually rests with the Director’s assistant, but they don’t deal with plot continuity). At any rate – hand that bonus back please! In the film, the locations are never mentioned and could be anywhere. The screenplay mentions them, and so the problem is with the screenplay. And it was clearly picked up and fixed. No problem.

    6.a.1. Story latch or not, I expect a dazzling white light in an otherwise dark scene would have taken viewers out of a key plot moment by blinding them in a darkened cinema. Editor’s Problems 101 – are you suddenly going to blind or deafen the audience and kill the moment? Good decision.
    6.a.2. “gloopy glue” doesn’t require or need an exposition at this critical time. I think something organic is simply a bit more in line with Newt’s personality.
    6.a.3. the crescendo of the moment is the identity reveal, and not a rope trick which calls attention to itself. Having a visually subdued lasso allows the identity reveal to take the forefront in the moment. Good decision.
    6.b. How do you ask an actor to imply that they’ve been “holding one back”? During an action scene? With no dialogue? Not even Hitchcock could direct that.
    6.c. The wand: Grindlewald must get it back at some point before the final battle with Dumbledore, so I feel whoever is the master now is almost irrelevant. Grindlewald must be master again before the end. Possibly he will be the only person to master the elder wand more than once. If so what does that imply for the wand’s allegiance? How does he get it back? Very interesting, and if it adds to speculation of what’s to come in the next movie, then well done to the film team. Good decision.

  9. David Llewellyn Dodds says

    Intriguing thought of the “encounter with the strange entity” that left Graves “cut and bruised” being a visionary encounter!

    Emma, I’m not convinced it would have been problematical in the ways you contend. Isn’t being “cut and bruised” the sort of thing that could happen to any auror, and perhaps be more likely to happen to “a perfect model citizen and leader” among them? Doesn’t he already stand out anyway, in various particulars? Why would it suggest “to the viewer that something is off with him” more than Harry’s visionary experiences do? It might suggest ‘something is up with him’ – perhaps in the way of suggesting that he’s going to be some sort of successful ‘psychic detective’ – even if perhaps not successful enough.

    If, on the other hand, Graves is “cut and bruised from last night’s encounter” at the City Hall subway entrance, and a lot more happened in that scene at dusk than the scene as filmed and cut suggested, his not Apparating out of harm’s way at this point might reveal his ardor and avidity – and, in some sense, courage – and help create an image of a likely-to-be-successful ‘psychic detective’ hero.

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