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How would you have written the Fantastic Beasts movies?

Discussion in 'Fanfic Discussion' started by Taure, Apr 29, 2020.

  1. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    You have a few constraints:

    - You have to tell a story which prominently features magical creatures.

    - Newt Scamander must be involved in the story.

    - The setting must be 1910s to 1940s.

    Other than that, you are free to write what you want.

    Personally, I think the choice to tell the story of Grindelwald's movement was a good one, as was using the series as an opportunity to explore the international wizarding world. I also fundamentally enjoy the nature of Grindelwald's movement (anti-Statute of Secrecy, seeks wizard rule) and his relationship to it (cynical manipulator in pursuit of Muggle subjugation rather than true believer in the "greater good").

    However, I think the stories need to do a better job of tying Newt into all that.

    The decision to use the character of Credence to tie Newt and Grindelwald together was JKR's biggest mistake; not only because Credence is uninteresting, but also because the plot contrivances that it required are the weakest parts of the FB movies (Grindelwald wants Credence in FB1 - why? Credence is a Dumbledore - how?).

    So, out with Credence.

    How then to tie Newt and Grindelwald together? To me the answer which most appeals is to have Grindelwald and Newt initially aligned. This also requires a revisiting of Newt's character.

    Out with the bumbling, mumbling, socially awkward wizard. In with an Indiana Jones/Han Solo anti-hero type. He was expelled from Hogwarts for good reason, and the consequences of his actions haunt him (behind a veneer of devil-may-care). At the time that we meet Newt, his interest in magical creatures is in smuggling them, not studying them.

    To keep the viewer on-side, he treats the creatures well (stated to be protecting the value of the merchandise, but the viewer is given reason to believe Newt has personal distaste for mistreatment of the creatures). Viewers will support an anti-hero, but not someone who kicks puppies.

    So, now that we have a smuggler Newt who is familiar with exotic locations and creatures, and who has enough moral flexibility to work for pretty much anyone, we have a good basis for having him work for Grindelwald. Now we just need to give Grindelwald a reason to need someone like Newt, one that will bring us into contact with lots of fun magical creatures.

    There are two main ways to do this, I think. Either the creatures themselves are the goal - Grindelwald needs a specific creature for some reason - or the creatures are incidental to the goal, e.g. creatures protect the location of the characters' goal. The latter path gives you greater flexibility - the goal could be pretty much anything, it just has to involve getting past dangerous creatures.

    Anyway, off Newt goes on some mission from Grindelwald, meeting other characters along the way. Over the course of the movie Newt would end up reluctantly taking a moral stand and turning on Grindelwald, setting us up for a sequel where Newt is now working for Dumbledore against Grindelwald.
     
  2. Joe

    Joe The Reminiscent Exile ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    As much as I like a good anti-hero, JKR doesn't really have them (Snape doesn't count, he's not an anti-hero, he's a prick and Draco Malfoy was far too wishy-washy to amount to anything more than a plot point), so to run with your example, @Taure, perhaps Newt isn't a smuggler - but the founding member of something along the lines of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation.

    He prevents and disrupts the smuggling of magical creatures. Albeit with a suitcase full of such creatures he smuggles everywhere, in the interest of rehabilitation prior to release.

    Most of your re-writes stay the same. Grindelwald, being the charismatic sumabitch that he is, recruits Newt to assist in the preservation of magical creatures, but with the intention to fully misuse those creatures to achieve his greater goals. Newt and Grindelwald have their falling out, perhaps at the cost of a significant amount of magical creatures (wiping out an endangered species, perhaps), swaying Newt to Dumbledore's camp: Grindelwald must be opposed.
     
  3. Mordecai

    Mordecai Drunken Scotsman ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    If continuing the Grindelwald arc was a requirement, I think that would be the right way to do it.

    However, personally I think I'd leave out Grindelwald. Take the idea of the Indiana Jones/devil may care style Newt and flesh out the wizarding worlds of South America, Africa, Asia etc through a series of films. I think I'd prefer if they'd kept the scale of the stories quite small, so that they're only really linked by Newt vs The World/Bad Guys. One film could be in the Amazon rainforest where he's trying to stop a gang of illegal poachers, another could be that a dragon subdued by the aztecs is waking up because whatever was keeping it asleep has been damaged by illegal farming of potions ingredients, then illegal animal smuggling in China, and a basilisk breeder in India. Thats 4 distinct films. If you needed an overarching plot to tie them together, there can be a mastermind behind the poachers, the smugglers, the farmers, the breeders, etc. Maybe do a final 5th film where Newt takes that mastermind on head to head.
     
  4. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I think Newt's backstory of getting kicked out of Hogwarts (which is pretty extreme--Hagrid was thought to have murdered a student; otoh Hagrid was then allowed to live and teach at Hogwarts so maybe wizards are just arbitrarily weird) could be used as an establishing moment, even if it's only mentioned. Maybe Newt tried to break the magical boundaries of the Forbidden Forest and the Ministry freaked about potentially dealing with centaurs and shit countrywide and now he's not allowed within 100 miles of it.

    IIRC there was some suspicion in the FB movies about Newt throwing in with Grindelwald, let's make that relevant. First movie could be Newt with his suitcase of pocket monsters doing what he was doing in FB 2016--he saved a thunderbird from poachers and is bringing it back to Arizona. MACUSA imposed a creature import ban and Newt isn't much for authority (backstory) so he's like fuck y'all, I can smuggle thunderbirds wherever I like.

    Newt gets snagged by MACUSA Aurors and quite by accident comes across Percival Graves (the real man Graves) who is a mid-ranking Auror, not their boss. Graves also has a fundamental problem with MACUSA's authority, though ofc he doesn't advertise the fact that he simply wants it replaced with Grindelwald's authority. Graves recognizes that Newt is talented, driven, and ripe for recruitment. During the escape attempt some Aurors let some creatures out and they start wreaking havoc upon the muggles, seriously threatening the Statute of Secrecy. Newt enlists Graves' help, and here you can show that while Graves does like Newt, he's not so quick to prevent breakage of the Statute, which is Grindelwald's whole deal. Graves figures he's stumbled into an opportunity to quicken Grindelwald's plans.

    They track the creatures down and Graves manages to deceive Newt. The audience--and Newt--are led to believe these two are forging a brothers-in-arms bond together as Graves goes against his former colleagues at MACUSA and helps Newt evade them and fight them off across NYC as they re-suitcase the creatures. Of the other FB supporting cast I think Queenie has some potential. So, have her be an embittered mind-reader who fell in love with a muggle but was forced away from him (or her) because of MACUSA's draconian application of the Statute of Secrecy. Alternatively, just make the film about Newt and Graves.

    Throughout the film Graves mentions tenets of what we'll come to learn is Grindelwald's philosophy--a world without borders between wizards and muggles. Grindelwald ofc wants to rule both, but perhaps only his inner circle knows this. Graves could be disillusioned by the fact that wizards do all this secret work to protect muggles and it goes unrecognized and unappreciated. Queenie thinks that under Grindelwald's reign she would be allowed to happily be with her muggle lover, regardless of whether that's actually true, it's important that she believes it.The things Graves and Queenie mention are presented in a sympathetic, inspiring way to Newt and the audience. Queenie's own plight is revealed when it turns out her sister is an Auror who advised her to comply with MACUSA's rules.

    The film ends on an uplifting note for the trio of protagonists: they evade MACUSA, get to Arizona and release the thunderbird. Graves offers Newt the appropriate flattery and invites Newt to accompany him and Queenie to France, where a great gathering is being planned, to meet a wizard they believe stands for the same principles they hold dear. I rather prefer that the developing friendship between Newt and Graves be genuine, not just faked on Graves' part. Makes their future falling out more impactful and gives Newt a personal opponent while leaving Grindelwald to Dumbledore.

    The last scene shows MACUSA scrambling to uphold the Statute in NYC, perhaps enlisting the aid of other wizard govts or the ICW. Opportunity here to show some of the methods wizards employ, even be a little manipulative and present it all in a way that reinforces Grindelwald's message conveyed in the film through Graves. Have a newspaper headline loudly proclaiming Graves a traitor and figitive from MACUSA and a key person involved in the near-revelation of magic to muggles, just to make MACUSA seem extra villanous.

    I don't have a solid idea for movies 2 & 3 but I envision something like this:

    Second film is the turning point. Newt starts out as an honored guest at Grindelwald's rally in Paris and while hesitant, is receptive to the message. I see Grindelwald as a background, ominous presence in the film (and across the films). Newt still primarily interacts with Graves as his link to Grindelwald's movement.

    Graves is now being hunted by MACUSA. Newt, being a bro, helps his friend like he was helped in the first film. Perhaps MACUSA employs some bigger guns now, maybe they use some magical beasts to track Graves and Newt deals with them by turning them against MACUSA. Midpoint is a confrontation where Graves shows his true colors. Perhaps he kills a muggle without remorse, or just murders a bunch of MACUSA Aurors in cold blood and then justifies it, shifts the blame, tries to convince Newt and Queenie that under Grindelwald such tragedies will not take place. Maybe Tina catches up to them and reveals Graves had done some nasty things that are just now coming to light. Newt questions his relationship with Graves, but is reluctant to actually fight him. He and Queenie leave, full of doubts now.

    In the climax Graves finds them, having murdered his way out of MACUSA's pursuit and tries once again to turn Newt to Grindelwald's cause and this is why I want their friendship to have been genuine. There's a real conflict now--do you follow your friend into something you disapprove of? Graves spills something about the Greater Good, how muggles must be subjugated for the benefit of all. Queenie is like "what about my beau?" and Graves is like "you silly muggle-loving girl, WHY CAN'T YOU SEE THAT GRINDELWALD IS RIGHT".

    News comes that Grindelwald fucked some shit up and Graves still takes his side. This is an irreparable break between friends.

    Third film would be themed around the idea that Newt broke ties with Graves but he's not yet actively opposing Grindelwald. This is where his previous association comes around to bite him in the ass and only Dumbledore's influence saves him from Azkaban or whatever. Graves is a villain from afar. Dumbledore offers Newt and Queenie an opportunity to get back into everyone's good graces, blah blah, McGuffin hunt and Graves is the outright opponent this time. Maybe there was a timeskip to let the conflict brew a bit before bringing Dumbledore in.

    By the end of the 3rd film a full-fledged opposition movement to Grindelwald will have formed, with Dumbledore at the helm and Newt a distant ally, more personally motivated by how he feels betrayed by Graves, now a high-ranking lieutenant of Grindelwald. And then you have 2 movies to play with a wizard war (movie 4) and resolve it (movie 5, epic Dumbledore v Grindelwald showdown, Newt completes his arc from reluctant ally to war hero).

    Yeah, this post got out of hand.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2020
  5. Meerkats

    Meerkats Auror

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    They needed to cut down on the plot, the films try to tell too much and it leads to a feeling of bloat and disjointedness. Several plot elements need to go such as the Nagini(!!!) and the Leta thing which screams of "look guys it's Harry Potter I swear." I generally enjoyed both films but even in my large tolerance for mediocrity I have to say the films especially the second had too much going on.
     
  6. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

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    The one thing I absolutely would not change at all would be Newt's characterization.

    I cannot explain how refreshing it was to have the type of hero who really just wants to do his research and write his books and help all the magical creatures.

    I'm not sure about the rest of it.
     
  7. Red

    Red Professor DLP Supporter

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    1. Tear up the script for FB2.

    2. Leave FB1 as is and as a standalone movie.

    3. Profit off Niffler toy sales.
     
  8. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Also, INB4 Newt = Surprise!DumbledoreRelation

    (do not do this JKR, no)
     
  9. Lindsey

    Lindsey Minister of Magic DLP Supporter

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    Agreed.

    Honestly, I wouldn't change FB1 too much.

    I'd keep all the main characters, except Graves as Grindelwald (and instead be a loyal supporter).

    Newt's suitcase gets stolen by some wizard mafia smugglers instead of Newt losing it himself. The Mafia lets loose some creatures to get away. We meet Jacob as a muggle who finds one of these creatures and takes care of it. Tina and Graves are introduced as partners to Newt to get the suitcase back (and from there, we meet Queenie). Newt informs them that they need to get the suitcase back before they encounter the Obscurus in the suitcase.

    At the same time, Credence is doing his own thing as we see in canon. Graves is encouraging this.

    After some adventures and a big battle scene between the wizard mafia and the Aurors (and Newt), They get the suitcase, but some of the low level mafia members escape. Newt is taken back to the Ministry as punishment for bringing in the suitcase illegally. It is around this time, Newt realizes the Obscurus isn't in the suitcase.

    Newt is broken out of jail by Tina and Graves (as I agree with @ScottPress about an actual friendship between them). Graves informs them about another potential Obscurus he has been tracking. They track down the remaining mafia members where they are informed that they never had the Obscurus. It's here we learn it must have been someone working with the ministry. Graves informs them that there are indeed corrupt elements in the Ministry that he has been trying to uncover for some time.

    Newt's Obscurus is released. Causes the damage we see in canon. Newt realizes that only another Obscurus can stop it. Instead of Credence being the villain, he is what stops the other Obscurus and returns it to the suitcase. However, NYC now knows of magic.

    Graves comments on this: 'perhaps the reveal is for the best. We shouldn't spend all our resources hiding. Let them deal with magic as we've dealt with muggles for ages.' and some other somewhat-pro Grindelwald messaging.

    Newt manages to save the day with his creatures (as we see in canon).

    Graves is fired from the Ministry for allowing all this to come to pass (and makes the government seem even more corrupt).

    Newt's brother and Leta show up to 'escort Newt from the US,' as well as introducing the two characters earlier.

    Graves departs for France with Credence, promising to teach him some magic and perhaps track down his family.

    Jacob does NOT get his memory back. Queenie departs for Europe with Graves to find a cure.

    END MOVIE ONE.

    By the end of the movie, the audience should:
    - Feel for Queenie and Jacob and hope Queenie finds a cure for Jacob.
    - Know that Graves has a secret, but not necessarily be a Grindelwald supporter.
    - Want to know the backstory of Leta, Newt's brother and Newt.
    - Curious to see what Credence will become.
    - Feel that the American ministry is more intolerant than the MoM in England.
    - Enjoying the friendship between Tina, Graves and Newt.

    CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD
    CoD was such a mess that I struggle to attach the original plot with the changes I made to 1, while also being interesting.

    Newt and Tina have been long-distance dating, but things are getting dicey as Tina doesn't want to move to the UK and Newt can't come back to America. Eventually, Tina comes to the UK because Jacob has gone missing. She thinks her sister has taken him, and wants to track her down. She asks Newt to help and suggests that she is in Paris.

    This is when Dumbledore comes by and asks for Newt's help about Grindelwald. However, Newt turns him down. At this point, he doesn't realize Queenie is involved with Grindelwald. Newt doesn't want to be apart of this war.

    Tina and Newt go to Paris. They meet up with Graves and Credence. Credence has become a decent wizard but is still desperate to find his family.

    At this point I'm a little uncertain about how events unfold but eventually, we get:
    - Queenie with Jacob who now remembers thanks to Grindelwald.
    - Leta's backstory, and Credence's family dramas.
    - Introducing Nagini with Credence.

    The final scenes will be the first reveal of Grindelwald hosting his conference. Grindelwald uses Jacob and Queenie as a love story about how muggles and wizards shouldn't be pulled apart and that the SoS should be lifted. He also talks about another growing muggle threat (WWII) and how wizards need to get involved so the carnage of WWI does not repeat. A mixture of muggles can't rule themselves because they cause havoc, but they will be okay with us ruling, look at these lovebirds.

    When Grindelwald asks Newt and co to join them, we get the reveal with Graves is one of Grindelwald's top followers. It's here we learn that Graves was the one who released the Obscurus in movie one. He wished to overthrow the SoS for Grindelwald. It is due to this that Newt goes from not wanting to get involved to being against Grindelwald.

    Credence, Nagini, Queenie, Jacob, Graves are all with Grindelwald.

    It's only Newt, Tina, Leta and Newt's brother who flee.

    Somehow they get the object that Dumbledore wants.

    END SECOND MOVIE

    The goal here is that the majority of characters are on Grindelwald's side and you should wonder if Grindelwald's side is the right one. He helped mend true love, he wants to stop WWII, he wants wizards to finally be 'free'.

    Leta doesn't die as we need to get a better feeling of her character and want to support her before she dies in movie 3.

    THIRD MOVIE:
    Newt and Tina are engaged. Leta and Newt's brother are married.

    Jacob is starting to realize he is a mouthpiece for Grindelwald and becomes increasingly uncomfortable with what is going on. We start getting the reveal of the darker side of Grindelwald.

    andd.... that's all I got as I'm not sure how the 3rd movie will go.
     
  10. Othalan

    Othalan Auror DLP Supporter

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    Nah, JKR wouldn't do that... INB4 Newt = Surprise!Potter/Granger/Weasley/Riddle/Longbottom/Snape/AnyOtherReferenceSheWantsToShoehornIn Relation

    Edit: More seriously, I was deeply disappointed with the depiction of Magical America. While I liked the element of religious intolerance of magic thrown in, I would have preferred a different take on the prejudices and problems of Wizarding America.

    Probably my favorite take on it is something that I'm pretty sure I got from a fanfic some 10-12 years back: America doesn't give two shits about blood purity, but they are obsessive about raw magical power. No one cares if you marry a muggle, or if your parents were muggles, or even if you are particularly rich or poor. It's all about how much magical weight you can throw around. On the flip side, mediocre wizards, squibs and muggles would all be treated like shit.

    In that context, it would have been interesting to see Grindelwald gaining a devoted following in America based on the deep appeal his "Magic = Right to Rule" philosophy would have in that culture. Not sure how Newt would fit into all that, though personally, I like @Taure 's characterization best out of the ones in this thread so far.

    Also, pet peeve: "No-Maj"? Really? That's the best JKR could come up with as an American version of "Muggle"? Even ripping off Dresden and calling them "Vanillas" would have been more imaginative and clever.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2020
  11. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I just want to add that I remain butthurt that Colin Farrell wasn't brought back as Graves in favour of a Scooby-Doo "A-HA! IT WAS HIM ALL ALONG" reveal.
     
  12. arkkitehti

    arkkitehti Groundskeeper

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    I would change Grindelwald's character.

    Instead of Grindelwald being a known crazy person with an international manhunt after him, have him be more of an intelligent political figure, perhaps even gaining significant popularity in MACUSA. And have the Dark Lord persona as a hidden identity, that Newt somehow stumbles upon after interacting with the civilized front for some creature related reason or another. And then you can tie Dumbledore in by having Newt be the one who tells Dumbledore that Grindelwald is actually a secret Dark Lord, and make the rest of the story about revealing Grindelwald's secrets to the world and finally fighting to defeat him.
     
  13. aAlouda

    aAlouda Third Year

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    'My dear boy, you mean to tell me, that the man who planned to take over world with me, tortured my brother with the Cruciatus Curse and was expelled from Durmstrang for his vile experiments on fellow students, is secretly evil?'
     
  14. breadpudding

    breadpudding Squib

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    I feel like the first FB was fine. A little rewrite of dialogue or pacing would help tho. I had this feeling like it was written like a book not as a movie script. Understandable as JK is more of a book author than a scriptwriter.

    For FB2, I think Credence should have been left out and really did die in the end. Newt didn't really seek out Grindelwald for Credence, he went to Paris to clear things up with Tina. So the 2nd movie could have been about Tina trying to catch Grindelwald again because of the escape in the beginning, then going missing. Dumbledore uses this info to goad Newt into going to Paris, ergo thwarthing whatever plan Grindelwald had at that time (this plan maybe the titular Crimes of Grindelwald). Tina and Newt stumble upon each other and realize that they had a common mission. The Lestrange connection can still be a red herring to this mission. You can still add the whole Theseus-Leta-Newt-Tina love square tension. Queenie can still be a 'traitor' in the end because somewhere along the mission, she sees that it will not end well for her relationship with Jacob. The whole mission fails though as Grindelwald escapes but they do manage to get the blood pact and delay whatever the plan was.
     
  15. Gengar

    Gengar Polymagus ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I'll start by saying I never watched them because the second I learned it was actually about Grindelwald instead of the title, I was out.

    This triggered me the same way Star Wars does now. They do everything in their power to make the universe feel as small as possible.

    I'm not saying there's not an interesting story to be told with Grindelwald, but not in a FBAWTFT movie. I just wanted a fun adventure somewhere else in the HP world. I wanted to see Newt be either a Curse Breaker, or just a standard adventurer that encounters all manner of mythical and wondrous creatures on his travels. The eventual book is just what he learnt as a result of said adventures etc.
     
  16. Garden

    Garden Chief Warlock

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    I was hoping for a whimsical magizoological story with a focus on magical creatures, worldbuilding for obscure bits of the HP world, and perhaps a bit of geographic diversity by having Newt Scamander explore places outside of the UK.

    Something like a magical "Crocodile Hunter", complete with Newt befriending or fighting magical creatures that are extremely dangerous, seemingly with little regard for his own safety, acquiring many minor but funny injuries along the way, and perhaps meeting comically evil poachers aong the way.

    I love the movies for the whimsical and magical moments. The suitcase scene in the first movie is worth the price of admission by itself, as do all the creature scenes. But I'm mostly uninterested in the plot, and Grindelwald fails to hold my attention.
     
  17. Download

    Download Fourth Year ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I discussed it in the "The Death Eaters Have a Point" thread but I like the idea of Grindelwald as the "communist" counterpart to Voldemort's fascism. He preaches ideas that resonates with muggleborns and halfbloods, of overthrowing the aristocracy the purebloods and wizards will rule benevolently over the muggles (after all they just had a brutal war where they slaughter millions upon millions of eachother!).

    Never mind that the process will also require him to swim through rivers of blood...

    And this in turn sets the groundwork for the conservative revival a few decades later, wizards remembering the radical ideas of Grindelwald and being scared of their resurgence flock to Voldemort.

    I don't like canon Grindelwald much.
     
  18. Mordecai

    Mordecai Drunken Scotsman ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Now that would have been fascinating to see play out, and amazing as a parallel. I'd actually have loved that.
     
  19. Silirt

    Silirt Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    Fuck I thought that basically was the canonical Grindelwald.
     
  20. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I understand Voldemort was wizard-Hitler but does everything have to play out as parallels to muggle problems?
     
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