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How M. Night Shyamalan Revolutionized The Twist Ending

Twist endings have been around for decades in movies, but it has been M. Night Shyamalan who has made a career out of such surprises. The director burst onto the scene in 1999 with The Sixth Sense, a thriller starring Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment. It was here that he introduced the first twist of his career and one of the most iconic ones in all of cinema, as it is revealed that Willis’ character has been dead since the opening scene.

In the two decades since “I see dead people” became one of the most recognizable movie quotes, Shyamalan has only become more fascinated with the twist ending. The years of his films surprising audiences has now built in an expectation that Shyamalan will pull the rug out from under audiences at some point in his films. The results of these twists may vary, but how exactly did he revolutionize twist?

Related: M. Night Shyamalan’s Films Ranked From Worst To Best

In the latest edition of Screen Rant Docs, we take a look at Shyamalan’s career so far and examine how his concentration on twists impacted it, both positively and negatively. After The Sixth Sense, Shyamalan would go on to infuse UnbreakableSigns, and The Village with twist endings. While Unbreakable was able to use it to great effect, audiences were split on what he decided to do for the other two films. As the reception to his films continued to spiral, the disinterest and dissatisfaction with The Happening sent his career on a new trajectory.

With his twist endings no longer landing with audiences, Shyamalan moved away from his original ideas and instead was hired to adapt Avatar: The Last Airbender on the big screen. The film quickly found itself in the midst of controversy due to white-washing several major characters. The movie was a critical and financial disaster, which then saw Shyamalan team up with Will Smith for an epic sci-fi film After Earth. Unfortunately, even this film was not received positively.

After being burned by the studio system, Shyamalan has recently found success going back to small budgets. His horror-thriller The Visit brought him back into favor with critics and audiences, but then it was Split in 2017 that truly announced he had returned. The movie was thrilling and featured a great performance by James McAvoy and audiences left the film stunned when it was revealed that it was part of the Unbreakable universe. Shyamalan closed out this trilogy earlier this year with Glass, which split critics but made nearly $250 million at the box office (on a $20M budget). There has yet to be any announcements on what Shyamalan’s next project will be, but hopefully he can continue to deliver exciting and surprising films in the future.

MORE: Glass Is Shyamalan’s Star Wars Prequels (& That’s Not A Bad Thing)


2019-04-06 08:04:15

Cooper Hood

All The Clues To Us’ Big Twist

Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS For Us

Jordan Peele’s Us concludes with a shocking twist but the numerous clues to the reveal are intricately woven throughout the film. The Oscar-winning filmmaker’s follow up to Get Out stars Lupita Nyong’o as Adelaide Wilson and Winston Duke as her husband Gabe. The Wilsons’ relaxing family vacation in Santa Cruz is violently interrupted by a home invasion caused by their exact doubles – who seem determined to torment and then kill them.

Us is a scary straight-up horror movie but it also contains deep and complex themes and layers. As the film’s terrifying plot unravels, it’s revealed that the doppelgangers of the Wilson family – who are also played by the same actors, including Shahadi Wright Joseph as Zora and her double, Umbrae and Evan Alex as Jason and his double, Pluto – are part of the Tethered. These strange people are exact doubles of every single person in the United States, and live in secret tunnels beneath the country. The Tethered are led by Red, Adelaide’s doppelganger, and they are attacking the surface to replace their opposites. It’s all tied to an incident in Adelaide’s past when, as a little girl, she got lost in a hall of mirrors and encountered her Tethered double.

Related: Screen Rant’s Us Movie Review

The biggest twist comes at the end when it’s revealed that Adelaide is actually a Tethered herself who switched places with Red. She kidnapped the young Adelaide, trapped her in the Tethered’s underground lair, and replaced her on the surface in 1986. Since then, Adelaide has been living her double’s life while the original Adelaide was forced to live as a Tethered named Red and was condemned to mimic Adelaide’s life above. However, Jordan Peele expertly hid all the clues to this jaw-dropper in plain sight. Here are all the clues that Adelaide was a Tethered all along.

  • This Page: All The Clues Leading Up To And Including The Home Invasion
  • Page 2: All The Clues After The Wilsons Survive The Home Invasion

The Clues In Adelaide’s Fear Of Going Back To Santa Cruz Beach

Adelaide makes it clear to Gabe that she doesn’t want to go back to Santa Cruz Beach. At this early point in the film, after the opening flashback to when young Adelaide wandered from her parents at the Boardwalk and got lost in the Shaman’s hall of mirrors in 1986, the audience is meant to think Adelaide is reacting to that childhood trauma. But Gabe talks her into going, promising that they will leave before dark and Adelaide relents. There are clues both during the trip to the beach and while they are there.

During the car ride, Gabe plays Luniz’s “I Got 5 On It” on the radio. Adelaide tells Jason to “get in rhythm, foretelling the later reveal that the Tethereds are forced to mimic their duplicates above, something Adelaide, as a Tethered herself, is aware of. Some have also speculated that Adelaide snapping distinctively out of rhythm is a clue that something is off about her. Later, during the home invasion, Adelaide instructs Jason to “show [Pluto] one of your tricks,” because she knew Pluto would mirror whatever Jason does. As they get to the Santa Cruz Beach, the family car is stopped while an ambulance loads the dead body of a homeless man, whom Adelaide (and the audience) recognizes as the older version of the man carrying a “Jeremiah 11:11” sign in the 1986 flashback. Adelaide knows him not just from underground, but she must have passed his double at the Boardwalk when she is found by her parents after she switched places with Red.

At the beach, the Wilsons meet up with their friends Josh, Kitty, and their twin teenage daughters Becca and Lindsey. Kitty is chatty with Adelaide, who apologizes for not conversing by saying, “I have a hard time talking” – this foreshadows Red’s hoarse voice when she appears.

Related: Us Is A Very Different Film To Get Out

The Clues In Adelaide’s Flashbacks

Adelaide’s flashbacks of what happened after she got lost in the hall of mirrors are tricky, since the audience is meant to believe they’re the memories of the original Adelaide. We see two flashbacks of Adelaide in the back seat of her parents’ car as they argue after she’s found. The second flashback is key: Adelaide reacts with wide-eyed wonderment when it starts raining (because she had never seen rain before).

At a child psychologist’s office, Adelaide listens to her parents and there’s a cut to her at a ballerina studio where her reflection looks back at her in a mirror. The child psychologist encourages Adelaide to draw, sing or dance to tell her story – Adelaide chose to dance and became a talented ballerina (though she says she peaked at 14) – something she knew Red, who is Tethered to her below, would be forced to mimic.

Adelaide’s Reflection In The Window Sets Up That She’s One Of The Tethered

The first major visual clue Jordan Peele offers is in the scene in Adelaide and Gabe’s bedroom when she confesses why she wants to go home. Adelaide tells Gabe about when “she” was lost in the hall of mirrors as a child and saw her doppelganger – though it’s really Red’s story she’s telling. But the key is Adelaide’s reflection in the window as she speaks: her eyes are glowing and her face is distorted – just like young Adelaide’s face was when turned around and faced her lost double in the hall of mirrors.

“There’s A Family In Our Driveway” And How Adelaide Reacts

When Adelaide put Jason to bed and told him “stick with me, I’ll keep you safe” (foreshadowing her climactic rescue of him), she sees his drawing of the Jeremiah 11:11 man (who is the Tethered version with bloody hands after he killed his double) starting his link in the Hands Across America chain. Again, Adelaide recognizes it because she had seen Hands Across America before – on young Red’s shirt after she kidnapped her.

Jason then enters his parents’ bedroom and tells them, “There’s a family in our driveway”. The family is holding hands just like Hands Across America. When Adelaide sees them, she starts calling the police, but first she says “No no no!” – a noticeable reaction of recognition.

Adelaide Recognizes Red And Her Shackles

When Red and her Tethered family, Abraham, Umbrae, and Pluto, break into the Wilsons’ house and confront them in the living room, watching how Red and Adelaide interact is quite revealing. Red opens her arms wide in a welcoming position – a gesture of reunion with Adelaide. And while Gabe, Zora, and Jason are understandably confused about what’s happening, Adelaide’s reaction is quite different. She yells at Gabe to stop offering them money or his boat.

The biggest clue in this scene is when Red shows Adelaide a pair of shackles and demands that she chain herself to the table, Adelaide again reacts with recognition – naturally, she remembers the shackles. After Red tells the Wilsons the story of the Tethered, Adelaide says, “You want me, right?” but this question is more of a challenge and has deeper layers.

Page 2: All The Clues After The Wilsons Survive The Home Invasion

Dahlia Wouldn’t Kill Adelaide

After the Wilsons escaped from their Tethered doppelgangers (and Gabe has killed Abraham), they flee to Josh and Kitty’s house, unaware that their whole family has been murdered by their Tethered doubles. Adelaide doesn’t hesitate to kill Tex, Josh’s double, but the rest of Tex’s family pulls her into the house. However, it’s curious that Adelaide isn’t killed. Instead, Kitty’s double Dahlia chains her to Kitty’s bed while she roleplays as Kitty.

Dahlia even takes her sisters and rubs the blade on Adelaide’s face – but she doesn’t cut (instead she slices her own face). This behavior is odd unless it’s seen as another clue: Dahlia recognizes Adelaide as a Tethered and also knows to save her for Red, who organized the entire attack.

Related: How You Can Solve Us (Thanks To The Simpsons)

“Let’s Go To Mexico” – Adelaide Knows The Tethered’s Plan

After Gabe kills Tex and Jason and Zora kill Kitty and her twin daughters Io and Nix, the Wilsons take a moment to rest in the Tylers’ luxurious home. They watch TV and get news of the attacks happening all over Santa Cruz. While Gabe and the kids try to process what’s happening, a distraught Adelaide is several steps ahead of them – because she already understands that the Tethered are rising up from underground and taking over the surface. Adelaide’s plan is to “stick to the coast” and “go to Mexico” because she knows the Tethered are a U.S. government experiment and they are only in the United States (just as Red answered the question “Who are you?” with “We’re Americans”.)

When the Wilsons’ take the Tylers’ car, Adelaide runs back in the house to get the keys. Jason goes in after her and watches his mom kill one of the Tethered twins who it turns out was still alive and attacked her. This was Jason’s first glimpse at Adelaide’s true self, though he doesn’t understand yet what it means.

Adelaide Knew Exactly How To Get To The Tethered’s Underground Lair

After the Wilsons fall for a trap laid by Red and Pluto is tricked by Jason into setting himself on fire, Red kidnaps Jason and disappears. However, Adelaide knows exactly where they went and runs off after them, leaving a confused Gabe and Zora behind. At this point, it becomes clear that Adelaide knows far more than she has let on and that there’s more to the story than the audience has been told so far – and the biggest clue is when Adelaide enters what’s now Merlin’s Hall of Mirrors, and knows exactly where the secret door was leading to the tunnels.

From there, Adelaide moves cautiously, anticipating being attacked around every corner, but she also knows exactly where she’s going, right until she finds the escalator that leads down to the Tethered’s lair. This is significant because from what the audience was told about young Adelaide’s disappearance, she never described anything more than seeing a double of herself in the hall of mirrors, and she didn’t claim she went any further down into the complex. Yet Adelaide moves with deliberate purpose into the tunnels because she has actually come home.

Related: Does Us Have An End-Credits Scene?

Adelaide Chokes Red Out With The Shackles – And Laughs

The final confrontation between Adelaide and Red and their ballet dance-like fight is filled with revelations and interrupted by flashbacks detailing Red’s plan of revenge against Adelaide and the surface. However, the final twist that Red was the original Adelaide was still to come and the final major clue was how Adelaide killed Red: after impaling Red through the torso, Adelaide wrapped the chain of the shackles around her wrists and choked Red out until she died – echoing their first meeting as little girls when Adelaide choked Red out to kidnap her into the tunnels (which caused Red’s hoarse voice).

And then, Adelaide laughed – the audience is meant to register this as a laugh of relief that the ordeal was over, but it soon becomes clear that Adelaide laughed because she won and, with Red dead, she got away with her deception. As the film ends with the Wilsons escaping Santa Cruz in an ambulance, Jason sees her mom laughing to herself. He now knows something is wrong with Adelaide because he has seen her true face, and he suspects his mom isn’t really one of Us.

Next: Us Ending Explained (And What It Really Means)


2019-03-24 02:03:41

John Orquiola

Gotham’s Bane Finally Broke The Bat (But With A Twist)

Warning: Spoilers ahead for Gotham season 5.

Gotham delivered its own take on Bane’s iconic “breaking of the Bat” but did so with a surprising and unique twist. The fifth and final season of Gotham has included a raft of antagonists from Cameron Monaghan’s almost-but-not-quite Joker to the conniving and mysterious Theresa Walker. However, perhaps the most high profile villain this season is Eduardo Dorrance, better known to Bat-fans as Bane.

Like many Gotham characters, Bane was given a slightly altered backstory, presented as a former military colleague of Jim Gordon’s that had been captured behind enemy lines. From there, the traditional Bane origin was weaved into the fabric of the character, spending time training in a grueling foreign prison and finally escaping with the intention of taking down Gotham City, albeit at the behest of a handler as per The Dark Knight Rises, rather than acting upon his own designs.

Related: Gotham Confirms That Penguin Accountant Fan Theory

Undoubtedly Bane’s most memorable contribution to Batman comic lore is the moment he achieves his goal of breaking the Batman in the Knightfall arc from the early 1990s. After tiring the superhero out by setting the assorted criminals of Arkham Asylum free, Bane finally faced down the Caped Crusader and effortlessly dispatched him, concluding the assault by smashing Bruce Wayne’s back over a bent knee and forcing him into a lengthy spell on the sidelines. This image was first immortalized into live-action with Christian Bale and Tom Hardy’s 2012 duel in The Dark Knight Rises, a clash that resulted in Bale’s Bruce Wayne spending a significant chunk of the film recuperating.

With Bane finally making his debut on Gotham, it’s perhaps natural that the show would want to deliver its own interpretation of breaking the Bat, although the idea of snapping a teenager in half doesn’t have quite the same impact, especially when said youngster hasn’t even properly become Batman yet. Gotham found a way around this conundrum with a hugely surprising twist.

In this week’s episode, Bane’s master, Theresa Walker, was revealed to be Nyssa al Ghul and, understandably, the daughter of the late Ra’s al Ghul had revenge on her mind, targeting the two people who finished Ra’s off last season: Bruce Wayne and Barbara Kean. Complicating matters considerably is the fact that, during Bane’s assassination mission, Barbara was in the middle of giving birth to her baby with Jim Gordon. Thankfully, Bruce was able to free himself and tell Alfred and Selina Kyle to get down to Gotham City’s medical clinic and protect mother and child.

Aside from saving the life of the baby who will likely go on to become Batgirl, Bruce’s warning also ends up putting the two people he cherishes straight into Bane’s path. Alfred bravely takes the brute on headfirst but is soundly beaten by the physically superior warrior, and Bane also puts a very familiar, brutal exclamation point on the fight. With the butler on his last legs, Bane lifts Alfred straight up over his head, directly mirroring his “break the Bat” pose, and smashes his back right across the spine, this time into a pillar rather than a knee. Broken and crumpled on the floor, the notoriously detached Selina is horrified by Alfred’s injury. The episode ends without exploring exactly how grievous the blow was.

Batman fans will no doubt appreciate this nod to the source material, but Bane’s breaking of Alfred also serves a key narrative purpose. In The Dark Knight Rises, Bane destroys a superhero coming to the end of his crime-fighting career, helping Bruce to realize that he should consider retirement. In this week’s episode of Gotham, Bruce’s long-suffering employee confessed that, with Bruce now an adult, there was no need in the boy’s life for a butler. In both instances, Bane breaks someone nearing the end of their profession and this makes a lot more sense than inflicting a devastating back injury on a fledgling Dark Knight.

As viewers well know, however, Alfred’s time assisting Bruce Wayne is far from over and Gotham viewers can be assured that Bane’s back-breaking assault won’t keep Alfred from tending to the Batcave in the years to come. But, sadly, Sean Pertwee’s battle-ready incarnation of the famous butler may be a little less of an action hero from now on.

Next: Gotham’s Joker Wasn’t A Proper Joker (But Still The Show’s Best Villain)

Gotham continues with “They Did What?” April 18th on Fox.


2019-03-22 10:03:26

Craig Elvy

Captain Marvel’s ‘Twist’ Was Spoiled in Infinity War

Warning: SPOILERS for Captain Marvel

By the time Carol Danvers joined the MCU, fans had spent months if not years wondering how Captain Marvel could beat Thanos, how she could return to Earth to join the team for Avengers: Endgame, and even why Nick Fury didn’t ask for help any of the other times the world was in peril. But the biggest surprise in the Captain Marvel movie was one that nobody ever expected–and secretly made Carol a villain, herself.

We’re referring to the big twist of the MCU’s Captain Marvel origin, when Carol learns that the Kree she fought for had actually kidnapped her from Earth, and erased her memories. Even worse, they did it all to win the war against the Skrulls… innocent refugees on the brink of extinction, and not at all the villainous threat her Kree commanders claimed they were. That’s a big leap from the shape-shifting, alien invaders most fans know from Marvel’s comic history. Even more surprising? Avengers: Infinity War gave away this twist long before fans knew to prepare for it. Allow us to explain.

  • This Page: The Infinity War Hint That Everyone Missed
  • Page 2: The MCU’s Kree Were Evil The Whole Time

The clue delivered in Avengers: Infinity War may be an Easter Egg more than an obvious spoiler, but it’s one that viewers won’t need to go searching for too intensely. It comes in a single line of dialogue spoken by Gamora, after the Guardians of the Galaxy run into Thor floating through space (after his doomed bout with Thanos). Once the god of thunder is pulled into the ship, each member of the team observes his godly, muscular body with awe.

RELATED: Every Captain Marvel Easter Egg & Secret Reference

While the others comment on his style or looks, Gamora focuses in on the actual composition of his body, running her hands over his arm (to the dismay of Star-Lord) and making the following observation:

“It’s like his muscles are made of Cotati metal fibers…”

Gamora drops the analogy as quickly as she drops Thor’s arm once Peter Quill objects, and the line is left without further explanation. Which is a shame, because it poses an obvious question to viewers who want to know more about the alien races of the MCU’s cosmic side. A question whose answer revealed more than anyone realized at the time.

Since the word is appropriately alien sounding, it’s easy to dismiss it as a minor nod to comic book lore, or even an untranslated adjective in an alien language. But the subtitles confirm Gamora is making a reference to the Cotati: an ancient race of tree-like, peaceful, sentient beings who are apparently as important a part of Marvel’s movie history as that of the comics. When it comes to the big twist, the lies, and the betrayals of Captain Marvel, the Cotati hold the entire secret in plain sight.

The reason it’s impressive for Gamora to know about the existence of the Cotati at all is because so few of them remain alive… after the Kree decided they were an enemy that had to be dealt with the same way as the Skrulls in Captain Marvel’s version of the story.

Page 2 of 2: The MCU’s Kree Were Evil The Whole Time

There’s a good chance that this story will sound familiar to our readers, since we brought up Gamora’s “Cotati” reference in Infinity War at the time. Back then, it seemed like an Easter Egg, or a simple comic reference to get fans excited about the approach of Captain Marvel’s movie, set against the backdrop of the Kree-Skrull War. And that may have been the case, too. But the writers and directors gave away more than they thought by referencing the Cotati, instead of the Skrulls or Kree. Because as militaristic, brutal, or even villainous as both sides eventually became in the comics, the Kree and Skrulls didn’t BOTH start out that way in the beginning. And the beginning is the one place where the Cotati prove most important to the story.

RELATED: Captain Marvel’s Post-Credits Scene Almost Tied to Thor: Ragnarok

The Kree of the comics, like the Kree of the Captain Marvel movie, would have outsiders believe that their feud with the Skrulls is through no fault of their own–merely the threats, deception, and treachery of the Skrulls (like most centuries-long, or even millennia-long blood feuds on any planet, including our own). But the truth as told in the comics is that the Skrulls weren’t a war empire to begin with, but one of trade, commerce, and diplomacy. Those were the plans they had when they arrived at the planet Hala, homeworld of the Kree. Until they learned that the planet was home to two sentient species: the resilient, mighty tribes of the Kree, and the peaceful, tree-like Cotati. You can see where this is going.

A contest proved the Cotati were closer to the peaceful, nurturing Skrulls than the Kree, and at the thought of being denied the greater power and empire that might come from joining the Skrulls, the Kree lashed out. Wiping out the Cotati, murdering the Skrull emissaries, and uniting into a Kree Empire fueled entirely by the Skrull technology they now held in their possession. And also their rage, of course, with the goal of annihilating their ‘enemy’ no matter how long it took.

The Captain Marvel movie honors that comic book origin story for revealing the truth about the Kree, and suggests that the MCU’s version of Mar-Vell is the exception to their people, more than Ronan the Accuser was when introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy. While the comic book version of the Skrulls were shocked to encounter the Kree Empire thirsty for their blood and quickly became a militarized, spy-filled empire out of necessity, the movie version didn’t fare so well. Based on General Talos’ description of the conflict, it sounds like the Skrulls were caught far more off guard when suddenly attacked by an unknown empire intent on their extinction.

Whether or not an official account of the Kree-Skrull War is ever given in a Captain Marvel sequel, the remaining Skrulls continue to use their shape-shifting for the same purpose as their ancestors: to walk among other races for their benefit, not out of malice or deception. Anyone looking for proof that the Kree began this conflict on the unjust, and cruel side need only do one thing: remember the Cotati, as Gamora did.

Anyone who recognized that Infinity War quietly added the Cotati to the Marvel movie universe would have seen the Kree for what they really are, anti-Skrull propaganda or not.

MORE: Captain Marvel’s Ending & MCU Future Explained


2019-03-16 12:03:11

Andrew Dyce

Fantastic Beasts 2’s Dumbledore Twist Is A Dangerous Retcon (But Also Brilliant)

WARNING: Spoilers for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has a massive Dumbledore twist that massively retcons Wizarding World canon. However, instead of breaking the Harry Potter timeline, it reinvigorates the series, promising a much more exciting future for the prequel series.

Ever since Johnny Depp was cast as Gellert Grindelwald and Albus Dumbledore was namedropped in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, it was clear that the Newt Scamander prequel was going to be more about the legendary conflict between the two great wizards than it was collecting big monsters in new cities. This was particularly exciting as much of Dumbledore’s past had been cut from the Harry Potter movies, making this prequel a chance to fill in some very interesting gaps.

Related: What Fantastic Beasts 2’s Bad Reviews Are Missing

However, this isn’t just about dramatizing what was teased in the books. Fantastic Beasts 2’s ending has a massive twist that completely reshapes what even Rita Skeeter knew about Albus Dumbledore, and makes Ezra Miller’s Credence one of the most important characters in the whole Harry Potter canon. And even though it very easily could have been terrible, Aurelius Dumbledore may just be the most exciting thing to happen to the franchise in the past decade.

  • This Page: The Problems With Fantastic Beasts 2’s Credence/Dumbledore Twist
  • Page 2: Why Fantastic Beasts Is More Exciting With Credence As A Dumbledore

Credence Is Dumbledore’s Brother (Who We Never Heard About Before)

The big twist at the end of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is that Credence Barebone is Aurelius Dumbledore, Albus’ long-lost brother. After spending two movies unsure of his true identity or potential Credence signs up with Grindelwald, apparating to his Austrain alpine headquarters. There, the wizard facist attempts to bring him fully around to the cause by revealing his true heritage, exemplfied by the raven he’d been caring for is actually a phoenix (probably Fawkes), a symbol of the Dumbledores.

This rug-pull is made all the more startling by the fact Aurelius had never been alluded to in Harry Potter canon before. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, where Albus Dumbledore’s dark past was posthumously revealed, the big secrets yeased were his squib (now presumed to be obscurial) sister Ariana and his relationship with Grindelwald. Fantastic Beasts takes these two aspects as a given, and so has now unearthed something so shocking it beggars Wizarding World comprehension.

Fundamentally, it’s the film’s biggest retcon. Aurelius Dumbledore is so clearly concocted for the Fantastic Beasts series – possibly even after the first movie – and toes a fine line against what we already knew. It is, plainly, a very dangerous story choice.

Related: All The Fantastic Beasts 3 Plot Clues In The Crimes of Grindelwald

Aurelius Dumbledore Could Have Broken Harry Potter

The problems with Aurelius Dumbledore should be immediate to any Harry Potter fan. First there’s the lack of timeline logic of it all. Credence was 18 at the time of the first Fantastic Beasts film, set in 1926, which would have his birth year as 1908. Albus’ mother, Kendra, died in 1989, while father Percival was sent to Askaban in 1890 (for attacking muggle boys who bullied Ariana), where he eventually died at a later date. There is no way for Credence to be Albus’ full brother, and him being a half-sibling requires stretching Percival’s timeline and having him conceiving a child almost twenty years into his magical prison sentence.

Then there’s the storytelling cracks it reveals. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has already retconned Harry Potter canon in many ways, some slight – Newt’s obliviate only affects bad memories – some full-on plot holes – Professor McGonagall is teaching at Hogwarts before she was born – and while none are really damaging to the point they actively break the Harry Potter timeline, they show a George Lucas-like obsession on J.K. Rowling’s part. She’s tying the universe together far too tightly, forcing unrelated characters in where they’re not needed. And making the boy everybody’s chasing, who just happened to be swapped for Corvus Lestrange and is now Grindelwald’s secret weapon, also Albus Dumbledore’s brother is the weirdest, most contrived of the lot.

And yet, despite all these concerns, nothing snaps. There’s still the open door of how it can makes sense and, beyond that, Fantastic Beasts 2 actually does a good job of making this twist believable and the future of the franchise actually exciting.

Page 2 of 2: Why Fantastic Beasts Is More Exciting With Credence As A Dumbledore

Fantastic Beasts 2 (Just About) Earns The Aurelius Dumbledore Twist

To make the big Credence Dumbledore twist work, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald employs the age-old narrative trick of the false flag. For much of the movie, the teased secret is that Credence is actually Corvus Lestrange, Leta’s lost younger brother, leading the audience completely astray from the truth. While the delivery of this is poor – for much of the movie, the Corvus theory is teased as if it’s an internet rumor, and it’s immediately disproved the moment its revealed – it succeeds in the primary purpose of making the mystery of Credence’s identity intriguing without giving up any of the eventual surprise.

Read More: Fantastic Beasts 2: The Lestrange Family Tree Explained

But how the film really delivers it is the key. On paper, Aurelius Dumbledore sounds dumb. It’s too illogical, too tight, too fan fiction-y. But in practice, it’s a genuinely unexpected turn delivered with real gravitas by those involved that actively works to improve much of what’s already been done in the movie.

The Crimes of Grindelwald is a dangerously unfocused film, with its protagonist Newt Scamander a passenger in the narrative, the center of that plot Credence barely in it, and not enough Dumbledore to really make him important either. Part of this comes from it being a novel-style story told on the big screen, but it may also be that everything leading up to the Aurelius Dumbledore reveal is entirely dependent on it. Watched with knowledge of the final reveal, however, and Fantastic Beasts 2 is a more driven movie that ties together. Everything is building to that, and it does so in a tight and satisfying way. That doesn’t necessarily make it a well-told story overall (it isn’t) but it gives the twist a greater sense of justification.

Why The Aurelius Dumbledore Twist Is So Exciting

What ultimately forgives the potential retcon and shoddy storytelling Fantastic Beasts 2 used to get there, however, is how Aurelius Dumbledore makes the future so exciting. If Fantastic Beasts was lacking direction before, this unification of plot threads provides a direction for Fantastic Beasts 3 and beyond that goes over ground even casual fans will be aware of, yet in a totally new light.

Indeed, there’s a lot of ways this could go. His mysterious mother could be Voldemort’s unknown grandmother, possibly in Azkaban at the same time as Percival Dumbledore. Or, given his name in the Arthurian legend was a knight whose actions were merged with Merlin, he may be the figure to actually defeat Grindelwald, with all note of him folded into Albus’ untouchable legacy. And even if Grindelwald’s lying, while it would be cheap on a level of Return of the Jedi revealing Darth Vader isn’t Anakin Skywalker, it would deepen a villain whose primary trait is as a master manipulator.

Read More: Fixing Fantastic Beasts 2: Making A Bad Movie Great With Just 4 Changes

Unplanned it may be, there’s enough to suggest that J.K. Rowling hasn’t oblviously gone against her own canon with the Aurelius Dumbledore twist. McGonagall is there for fanservice, the Elder Wand’s ownership doesn’t matter, and Albus’ age bends for Jude Law casting, but this is so big and so tightly woven into the narrative the implications can be no accident. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has subverted expectations, giving new life. The journey there was rough, but the past future is exciting.

Next: Fantastic Beasts 3: Release Date, Story Details & Every Update



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