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The Grindelwald Scene In Fantastic Beasts 3 That Went Too Far

Contains spoilers for "Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore"

"Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore" brings audiences back into the Wizarding World, as Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) works with Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) to stop Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) from starting a war against the muggles. The dark wizard has gone through a significant change since the last time fans saw him in 2018's "The Crimes of Grindelwald" — mainly because Johnny Depp quit the franchise back in 2020. The "Pirates of the Caribbean" alum left after losing a libel case against The Sun in 2020 — and Warner Bros. quickly tapped Mikkelsen as his replacement.

The new sequel takes a much more intelligent approach to Grindelwald than the previous films, as he makes his appeal to the entire wizarding community this time around. The film cleverly highlights the villain's past relationship with Dumbledore, which makes the conflict a little more personal for the Hogwarts headmaster. The two are divided over their views on muggles and how the Wizarding World accommodates them — which is part of the reason for their breakup. Thanks to a handy enchantment they foolishly created years ago, the two can't actively move against one another — just in case you were wondering why Dumbledore recruited Newt in the first place.

Grindelwald's quest for power includes plenty of greater and lesser atrocities, but one scene from the third "Fantastic Beasts" film in particular takes things too far.

Grindelwald kills the Qilin

The film wastes no time in establishing a brand new fantastic beast for Newt to save: the qilin. In the film, the qilin is a scaly magical cross between a deer and horse, and it holds special significance in the Wizarding World because it can supposedly read someone's soul and determine whether or not they're pure of heart (via Fandom). The magical community uses the qilin to judge potential candidates for the next leader of the International Confederation of Wizards, the Supreme Mugwump. Yes, that's their official title. Don't laugh. But Grindelwald has a devious plan to connive his way into becoming the new leader — and it involves killing the qilin.

He knows that he's not pure of heart, so the qilin's ability presents a major obstacle to his political ambitions. To solve this problem, he cuts the throat of a baby qilin and lets it bleed out in his arms. It's a shocking moment, one that proves to Queenie Goldstein (Alison Sudol) that she might be on the wrong side. Grindelwald only kills the qilin so he can enchant its dead body into bowing in front of him, tricking the entire wizarding community. It's a pretty grim scene, although it's not too gory. This is a family-friendly franchise, after all.

The scene is so shocking because this version of Grindelwald presents as more civilized than what we've come to expect from dark wizards. He's very much a political bad actor, rather than the deranged psychopath seen in the previous films. This scene significantly complicates that contrast.