release date 11/16/18
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October 11, 2018 at 10:30 AM EDT

In this week’s issue, EW goes behind the scenes of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, plus we reveal the untold stories of Harry Potter with exclusive never-before-revealed tales, photos and interviews — including a rare chat with author J.K. Rowling.

But first, here’s some scoop on the Fantastic Beasts sequel, which insiders say represented an across-the-board leveling up from 2016’s franchise-launching hit Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

“The script is labyrinthian,” says Eddie Redmayne, who returns as the beast-protecting Newt Scamander “It’s like you’re going down this maze and Jo is weaving the stories together with such intricacy. Along the way these connections to Harry Potter and secrets are falling at your feet. And there is one…”

The Oscar-winner pauses, knowing he’s treading into heavy spoiler territory.

“I got to the end and my jaw dropped,” he says. “There was one thing I didn’t see coming.”

Dan Fogler, who plays affable muggle Jacob Kowalski in the film, is one of the few people who’s actually seen the ultra-secretive project. We spoke to the actor shortly after he finished watching a private screening and he was as excited as any Harry Potter fan stepping out of a cineplex.

“It reminds me a lot of The Empire Strikes Back,” Fogler says. “The first movie is so positive. It’s sweet and lovely. But this time everybody is really put under fire. People are gonna see this like a 100 times just to get everything. They’re going to be going nuts that they have to wait for the next one.”

The setup: Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) escapes during transport and begins rallying an army of supporters by pledging to unify the wizarding world and rule muggles. That leaves Hogwarts professor Dumbledore (Jude Law), the dark wizard’s former childhood friend (and perhaps more?), to enlist his expelled former student Newt and, by extension, his American friends — rebellious auror Tina (Katherine Waterston), her telepathic sister Queenie (Alison Sudol), and Jacob (Fogler). But really, that’s only the beginning of a twisty tale that hits the ground running and could be the darkest film from the Harry Potter universe yet.

In this week’s issue, we spoke the entire core cast (including Depp, giving his first interview about his character) to gain some unprecedented insight about the film. Plus, Harry Potter directors reveal their favorite shots from each of the eight films, a never-before-told story on staging the very first Quidditch match in Sorcerer’s Stone, a remembrance of Alan Rickman from his castmates, Rowling reveals new character details, and more.

Jaap Buitendijk/© 2018 Warner Bros.

For more on Fantastic Beasts, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands Friday, or buy it here now. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

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