Fantastic Beasts 2: Who is Credence?
This article was written by Amanda Huck.
This piece contains SPOILERS from both the Fantastic Beasts series and the Harry Potter series, so if that is going to be a problem for you, I suggest reading another Vista article instead. Read more Vista Arts & Culture articles HERE.
Great, now we’re alone. After watching the latest installment in the five movie series Fantastic Beasts, I — like many viewers — was left with the shocking revelation of Credence as a long-lost Dumbledore. As is my nature, I immediately turned to the Internet to make sure I hadn’t forgotten about Aurelius Dumbledore from a previous book. I hadn’t.
Until this movie, Aurelius was an unmentioned character in the Harry Potter universe. Credence’s search for identity seems too conveniently solved by the Dumbledore revelation. I would like to suggest three possible theories for Credence’s true identity: he is Dumbledore, he is a Lestrange, or he is of insignificant birth (I will be calling this one the Rey theory).
1. Credence is Aurelius Dumbledore. In the original Harry Potter novels, readers will recall that Albus Dumbledore has two siblings: Abernathy and Ariana. Ariana is the key player here as we look at the unraveling of the Dumbledore family. After being attacked by muggles, Ariana is left emotionally damaged and aloof, eventually accidentally killing her mother. Ariana’s father is sent to Azkaban for attacking the muggles who attacked his daughter (seems like a harsh punishment, but that is a conversation for a different article).
Without parents, Albus is forced to leave Hogwarts early to care for his sister and younger brother. He begins to resent this role and long for the knowledge and power he found at school. His friendship with Grindelwald, aka future wizard Hitler, is one of his few solaces until this friendship deteriorates. The ultimate falling out between these two great wizards is not fully known, but it is suggested that Grindelwald is the one who kills Ariana.
The question is: where does Credence fit into all of this? He grew up in the United States, so why did a Dumbledore sail across the sea to leave baby Aurelius at the orphanage? Either, he is the illegitimate child of Kendra, Albus’ mother, conceived with an unknown man while her husband was in Azkaban and quietly taken out of the country; or he could be a cousin to the main line of Dumbledores seen in the series.
2. Credence is Corvus Lestrange. While Leta tells the tragic story of her accidental baby murder, there is still a possibility that the babies could have been switched back prior to the boat sinking. Maybe this is just me, but I feel like the nanny would have noticed that the baby looked totally different and had different blankets, even in the middle of the sinking ship. It seems implausible that baby Corvus could have been so easily switched, leading to his death in the shipwreck. But I’ll believe Leta’s story and say that Credence is probably not Corvus Lestrange (Although, I would LOVE to do a deep dive into the Lestrange family tree. The revelations of the Lestrange line intermingling with the pureblood line from Senegal was rushed over in the movie and deserves some unpacking).
3. And finally, Credence was born to insignificant parents and has simply been made significant by Grindelwald. This theory is unsatisfying but the most likely. For whatever reason, Credence was on that boat sailing from England to the United States. If he was born of a pureblood line, there should be some evidence or someone stepping forward to claim this magical child now that he is wreaking havoc across all of the Western world. It is the greatest of all coincidences, though, if he is a muggle-born wizard, taken across the sea, switched with another magical baby and survived a shipwreck only to be taken to a hell-hole orphanage where he develops an obscurial that fulfills a prophecy about the destruction of one of the greatest wizards of all time.
I call this the Rey theory because this is basically what happens with Rey in the new Star Wars arc. A girl of no significance just happens to be the key to saving the universe. A boy of no significant birth just happens to be at the center of the most important and deadly wizard conflict since the dark ages. Sound familiar?
His life uncannily parallels a certain Tom Riddle as well (raised in an orphanage, turned against Dumbledore, filled with a terrible evil…), especially if he is indeed of insignificant birth.
Hopefully his true parentage is revealed in the next installment. My money is on the insignificant birth theory, but I do give room for J.K. Rowling to have been hiding the Credence line all along. And hopefully, he isn’t just Credence (although then again, maybe he is).