Warning: Spoilers ahead for “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.”
The sequel takes place in 1927, as Newt is recruited by Albus Dumbledore to foil Gellert Grindelwald’s plan for the rise of pure-blood wizards. McGonagall was first mentioned by Dumbledore when Theseus Scamander, Leta Lestrange, and a few Aurors visited Hogwarts to find out where Newt Scamander has disappeared to. Dumbledore, who was in the middle of teaching students, told the young wizards to exit the room and follow Professor McGonagall. But we don’t actually see her.
The actual cameo occurred during a flashback scene that showed Newt and Leta as classmates at Hogwarts. At one point, Leta cast a spell on two students who were rudely speculating about her infamous family. McGonagall (played by Fiona Glascott) spotted Leta and chased her around the school grounds, accompanied by other students.
That scene was also briefly shown in the final trailer for the film.
So chronologically, the inclusion of McGonagall in the film doesn’t add up.
McGonagall’s age doesn’t fit with the timing of the events in “Fantastic Beasts”
Fans have pieced together the birth year of the Minerva McGonagall that was seen throughout the “Harry Potter” films (played by Maggie Smith) based on several details.
In “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” Professor Umbridge questions her about how long she’s been teaching at Hogwarts. McGonagall says that when December arrives, it will make 39 years. Since the fifth book chronicles the 1995 through 1996 school year, that means McGonagall started teaching in 1956. Fans have also estimated that she was born in the ’30s.
“Fantastic Beasts” takes place in the late ’20s and the flashback takes place years prior, so McGonagall wasn’t even alive.
Is it possible that “Fantastic Beasts” is referring to McGonagall’s grandmother?
One explanation that fans proposed is that the “Fantastic Beasts” McGonagall is the grandmother of the one seen in the “Harry Potter” movies. According to Minerva McGonagall’s Pottermore biography, which was written by J.K. Rowling, she’s the daughter of a muggle named Robert McGonagall and a witch named Isobel Ross. The character description states that Minerva was named after her grandmother.
That theory doesn’t add up, because even though the most recent Minerva McGonagall was named after her grandmother, they wouldn’t share the same last name. They would have different surnames, because McGonagall’s grandma was from the professor’s mother’s side of the family.
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