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October 16, 2018 at 09:00 AM EDT

It’s not often that one gets the chance to pick the brain of the person who brought Harry Potter into the world. Ahead of the next installment of the Fantastic Beasts film franchise, the prolific J.K. Rowling gives us a few hints about what’s to come.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Heading into Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, what do we need to know about the title character?
J.K. ROWLING:
The first mention of Grindelwald is in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, so he has been part of the canon from the beginning. He was a very famous dark wizard whom Dumbledore defeated in 1945, a wizard who once owned the Elder Wand (as Voldemort did later). Although he remained rather mysterious in the Potter books, I had a very clear understanding of who Grindelwald was and what his story had been. Grindelwald is essential to an understanding of how Dumbledore became Dumbledore.

What has it been like writing dialogue for a younger version of Dumbledore?
It is no secret that Dumbledore is my favorite character in the Potter stories, so it was an absolute joy to have an opportunity to write dialogue for him again. He’s a fascinating character on so many levels.

How much of the three planned upcoming Beasts films do you have mapped out?
As with the Harry Potter books, it is all mapped out. In fact, when we announced the five films, I talked about that. It’s always possible that some details will change along the way, but the arc of the story is there. It’s been an amazing opportunity to tell parts of the backstory that never made it into the original books. I’m thinking particularly of one character that I think fans will be surprised to meet in this movie.

We’ve been told each Beasts film is set in a different city. Can you reveal one of the cities from one of the future movies?
It’s far too early to spoil anything. What I can say is that we’ll go to at least one new city in the next film, possibly two, and I’m keen to move outside Europe and North America. But you’ll just have to wait and see.

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

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