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Young Minerva McGonagall Will Appear in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Irish actress Fiona Glascott will play the young professor.

maggie smith

We’re only two weeks away from the release of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which brings the younger version of another beloved Hogwarts professor to life. We already know that Jude Law is playing young Dumbledore, but it was recently confirmed that he will be joined by young Minerva McGonagall. Irish actress Fiona Glascott will be taking on the role made famous by Dame Maggie Smith.

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(image: Fiona Glascott in Episodes, via Showtime)

Glascott has appeared in Episodes and the film Brooklyn, and bears a striking resemblance to young Maggie Smith. McGonagall’s appearance is welcome, albeit anachronistic. According to the books, Professor McGonagall was born in 1935, while Fantastic Beasts takes place in the late 1920’s. This isn’t the first time Fantastic Beasts has played fast and loose with the Potterverse timeline, but you won’t hear me complaining.

Bringing McGonagall into the series is a smart move, as the character is a fan favorite and Fantastic Beasts can use way more badass witches in the mix. For that matter, who among us wouldn’t want to watch a solo film or series based on the adventures of young Minerva McGonagall?

As a die-hard Potter fan, I have struggled with the Fantastic Beasts franchise, and its lead character Newt Scamander. With so many fascinating characters in the Potterverse, the idea of anchoring a franchise on Scamander feels uninspired. Granted, the characters of Fantastic Beasts do not have seven books or eight movies worth of character investment, but I can’t help but be bored by them. Newt Scamander as a character really does nothing for me, and Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal is less than compelling.

And this is not to say that I don’t want a movie centered around a quiet, sensitive hero. But Scamander just feels so milquetoast and uninspiring. The same can be said for his supporting cast of characters, who don’t have the charisma or dimensionality of a Hermione Granger or Ron Weasley. We know next to nothing about Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) and Queenie (Alison Sudol), evidenced by the fact that I had to look up their names because they left such a small impression.

And Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) as the bumbling muggle baker remains as one-dimensional as his wizard companions. To center this franchise on weak characters is bad enough, but it’s absurd when you consider the deep roster of truly compelling witches and wizards the Potterverse has given us. It’s also disappointing that the new series centers on a white guy and his three white cohorts. They couldn’t give us a wizarding series with a female lead or people of color?

Here’s hoping that young McGonagall will breathe some much needed life and spirit into Fantastic Beasts 2. It sure could use it.

(via popculture, image: Warner Bros.)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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