“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” (2018) released Nov. 16. is the second installment in the “Fantastic Beasts” series and the 10th in the “Harry Potter” franchise.
The film played on the nostalgia of fans of the “Harry Potter” series. However, there has been some controversy surrounding the film after the casting of Johnny Depp as Grindelwald, the film’s antagonist.
Depp faced accusations of physical and verbal abuse against his wife Amber Heard in 2016. Since then, Heard and Depp settled the case and released a joint statement that no harm was intended on either side.
Depp’s casting as Grindelwald amid these accusations have some fans upset that an alleged abuser would continue to be involved with the franchise. It has also left some conflicted.
“I’m not sure what to think. There’s no black and white to any issue,” said Rebekah Puckett, junior English major.
Clarissa Rossman, junior creative writing major, said she has enjoyed ‘Harry Potter’ for eight years and the series has had a great impact on her life.
“I just remember ‘Harry Potter’ being the greatest thing I’d ever read,” Rossman said.
“I enjoyed it even though it was definitely darker than the first film,” Rossman said about “Fantastic Beasts”. “Johnny Depp gave a great performance despite my hesitation on his casting from a moral standpoint.”
Dr. Erika Travis, associate professor of English and behavioral sciences, said she teaches a children’s literature class that utilizes the “Harry Potter” series as part of its curriculum and has previously taught a class dedicated entirely to “Harry Potter.”
She credited the recent resurgence of “Harry Potter” movies to the fact that many people who are currently in the workforce spending money are ones who grew up with the franchise.
Travis said many people are invested because the new movies are offering more new content for the same story with which they grew up.
“It would be interesting to see if the interest maintains,” Travis said. “With so much new content, it would be easy to dishearten loyal fans or make a misstep that alienates watchers.”
Travis also said controversy around the film could work in either way: The scandal could make some people want to see it more and some people may not want to see it at all because of it.
“Lots of people will be happy with it,” Travis said. “I’m interested to see where it goes.”
“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” received only a 40 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.