‘Secrets of Dumbledore’ Japan Trailer – Revenge of the Giant Crab Manticore

Patricio Tarentino of TheRowlingLibrary.com sent me this Secrets of Dumbledore trailer just released in Japan. There are quite a few shots that were not included in previous previews but one in particular caught his interest — this one of the full sized manticore that is really a big scorpion.

As explained in Mr Tarantino’sDavid Heyman confirms the creatures from the trailer of Fantastic Beasts 3 are baby manticores‘ and my Beasts: Manticores or Poisonous Crabs?post, this is a whacko departure from Rowling’s description of the XXXXX danger level Manticore in her Scamander Fantastic Beasts guide. I wrote then about the baby crabs being described by Heyman as “manticores” that maybe this was just a matter of the young beasts not having their leonine or human aspects:

This could certainly be a non-issue, i.e., baby manticores in Rowling’s presentation may just look like little crabs and their leonine aspects and human face with speech only manifest with maturity. The trailer, immediately after the dancing crab scene, features a giant scorpion tail swinging in at Newt and Theseus. We’re going to see a full-sized manticore, it seems, and I want to bet the brothers Scamander will have a conversation with it as well. I want to think that because, of course, any kind of dialogue with the creature will require that it have some kind of face and the ability to speak as humans do. At this point, it’s anybody’s guess.

After watching the trailer and taking a closer look at the screenshot above, nobody needs to guess. That isn’t a traditional Manticore or one that conforms even to Rowling’s previous description of them. I want to give Rowling the benefit of the doubt here and blame Kloves, the Davids, and the CGI mavens for this departure. If I’m right in this assumption, namely, believing that Rowling would not disregard what she has written in Scamander’s voice about a creature Newt confronts in the film and displays his expertise to save himself and his brother, then we have one more bit of evidence that Rowling wrote the original story and left all creative control to the Warner Brothers wily wizards of blockbuster mechanical formula and special effect overkill.

Your comments about the trailer and the Manticore issue are coveted, as always. Please do read, if you haven’t already,  Mr Tantino’s article explaining the background to this controversy, including his success in confirming what Heyman had said, and my longer notes about what this scene echoes from the first film. Cheers!



  1. John, I think we can already assume that WB & VFX/CGI team have all the creative control of the visual aspects of the films. This interview with Christian Manz (VFX supervisor for the FB Films) leaves no place for doubt [1]:

    “The Zouwu leaping from place to place was something that was always there. The story was created that when he was in the circus, he had been bound up and his mane was tied up so he couldn’t use any of his powers. When Newt takes the locks off, he begins to regain his powers. In the script, it said a Zouwu can travel, I think, 1000 miles in a day. Originally, Tim and I were thinking “wow, that’s really fast”, but then Tim realised that’s only about 35mph, which isn’t that fast. Tim worked again with Andy at Framestore and they came up with him being able to warp space and time. His mane has the energy which then helps him do something like Apparate. It meant building a full CG version of the cemetery and the French Ministry, which could be bent into each other. A lot of creative thought and time is spent on that one moment.”

    [1] https://www.flickeringmyth.com/2019/01/exclusive-interview-fantastic-beasts-vfx-supervisor-christian-manz-on-the-crimes-of-grindelwald-his-love-for-nifflers-and-awards-season-success/2/

  2. David Llewellyn Dodds says

    Whoever is how responsible, could this be – or include – deliberate play with the phenomenon T.H. White describes in the Appendix to his Bestiary translation: “It used to be a common belief that everything on the earth had its countepart in the sea. The horse and the sea-horse, the dog and the dog-fish, the snake and the eel, the spider and the spider-crab: these led the extremists to extend their classifications to the air […]”? Could these be Sea- (or Amphibious-)Manticores?

  3. After watching the japanese trailer, I had one pressing question: what are the kind of “pincers” around Theseus’ waist?

  4. Manticore jaw-claws, no?

  5. Jan Voetberg says

    What creature is there on Bunte’s shoulder? What is that green apple like thing? At the end of the trailer Grindelwald’s vial is no longer red: apparently DD managed to break it. I love Newt’s reaction when Jakob arrives in the Great Wizarding Express: “You brilliant man!”

  6. The creature I saw on Bunte’s shoulder is one of the baby nifflers from movie 2.

    Interesting that for this movie Jacob is actively recruited, instead of his participation being somewhat a matter of chance in movies 1 and 2.

  7. It seems the FB series in general is taking significant zoological angles design-wise, since Newt is a magizoologist with heavy scientific bent in his practices and description (the movie version, at least).

    If you look at all of the magical beasts depicted so far, they’d fit rather neatly to existing taxonomic groups compared to mythological, chimeric beasts, except maybe Graphorns. Doxies for instance, are geckoes with large wings on its head as opposed to little hairy humanoids or winged primates as per the original Fantastic Beasts book. The bowtruckles are more akin to stick insects mimicking young mistletoe shoots instead of a more classic small wooden humanoids as described in FB and Potter books.

    Personally I’m still hoping for at least some callback to the original manticore’s human-like face. This arthropod interpretation has been done in the Game of Thrones as well, where manticores are small, venomous scorpions with facial markings on its tail.

  8. John, you are 1000% correct. This is not the manticore but it is indeed the fire butt crab. #justiceforthefirebuttcrab

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