For a book lover such as myself, who insists on purchasing a physical book because the feel and smell of the pages are everything to a book nerd, experiencing an audio adventure from Audible Originals and Pottermore Publishing is something I would normally never do!

Whether it was the draw of the wizarding world or the engaging antics of narrator Dan Fogler, who portrays the loveable No-Maj Jacob Kowalski in the Fantastic Beasts film series, I absolutely fell in love with this audio documentary, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald: Makers, Mysteries and Magic. How magical is it that my first Audible experience is focused on the wizarding world I love so much?

The audio documentary journey that Makers, Mysteries and Magic takes you on truly transports you to the studios in Leavesden, and introduces the listener to the dedicated and talented cast and crew that helps bring to life the movies in the Fantastic Beasts series.

Interviews feature not just the cast, producers and director of the Fantastic Beasts films, but also hundreds of others that fans may never even give a thought to other than a brief glance when the credits roll. Prop makers, set designers, animal coordinators, puppeteers, costume designers, visual effects artists, action vehicles department and even craft services – everyone gets a shout out!

In 9 chapters, with content crafted from over 100 hours of interviews, the listener travels through an amazing behind-the-scenes adventure, guided perfectly by the always entertaining Dan Fogler, to see how the movies are made, how the characters are developed, and how even the smallest details never seen on screen actually do matter.

Unlike the Harry Potter films, which fans have the luxury of the books to refer to for all the intimate and minute details of the rich history created for each character by author J.K. Rowling, fans know next to nothing about the characters in the Fantastic Beasts films. Instead, we can only theorize based on the screenplays and the tiny amount of information released by Rowling or cast and crew working on the films.

Thankfully, Makers, Mysteries and Magic gives fans that deeper look into the motivations of these characters and the first wizarding war that we have been craving. With the exception of Johnny Depp, each character is explored by their acting counterpart within the chapters of this audio adventure.

I won’t ruin all the fun informational nuggets revealed within the documentary, because I do fully believe in #ProtectTheSecrets, but I highly suggest you join Dan and the rest of the cast and crew of Fantastic Beasts on this adventure. What I will leave you with is some of my favorite highlights from each chapter, just to whet your appetite.

Chapter 1: The Dream Machine – 21:05

  • Recap of the 1st film (in case you’ve been living under a Hagrid sized rock)
  • Introduction to the 2nd film and start of the tour of Leavesden

Chapter 2: Newt Scamander – 35:26

  • Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston talk Newt and Tina’s relationship problems
  • Newt’s world, personality, and real life are explored
  • Eddie learns a new skill in his quest to master Kelpie riding
  • Who is responsible for Newt’s hair? NOT A HAIRDRESSER!
  • Eddie is PALE.

Chapter 3: Becoming Albus Dumbledore – 18:18

  • How did they find Yumbledore’s look in 1927?
  • Wandmaking
  • The Beard – Hear the magic!

Chapter 4: Fantastic Beasts – 37:32

  • Eddie did his homework for his interaction with the Zouwu
  • Dan introduces new beasts to the Fantastic Beasts universe (some we know, some we don’t!)
  • Grimmson’s wand – design aspects not seen in the film!
  • Ezra Miller on Credence’s journey
  • The tragedy of Nagini

Chapter 5: Paris – 54:33

  • Built on the Leavesden backlot
  • MinaLima makes an appearance!
  • Tina finds herself!
  • Action Vehicles Department – we all want to join this department!

Chapter 6: Relationships – 24:44

  • The band is back together!
  • David Heyman talks finding Harry Potter
  • Why J.K. Rowling doesn’t follow the normal screenplay rules
  • Director David Yates’ relationship with his actors
  • Credence and Nagini – where are they going???
  • Queenie’s state of mind

Chapter 7: Bloodlines – 28:23

  • Family dynamics within the characters, as well as film crews who ARE family!
  • Tina and Queenie – hearing about the fall out vs. seeing it on screen
  • Newt and Theseus – Big Brother Syndrome
  • Leta and Yusef
  • Credence

Chapter 8: A Return to Hogwarts – 38:53

  • Do I need to even say anything else?
  • Crew members who began their careers with Potter return for Fantastic Beasts
  • Classroom 3Z
  • Stunt men and women on set – How flying techniques on brooms have changed since Potter
  • How do you get started in the movie business? Hear from trainees, modelers, and interns that worked on the Fantastic Beasts films!
  • Newt and Dumbledore’s relationship

Chapter 9: Gellert Grindelwald – 53:08

  • Cast and crew give their thoughts on Grindelwald and the kind of villain he is
  • Kevin Guthrie, who plays Abernathy – I love this interview!
  • Sexy lederhosen. Enough said. You’ll need to experience this one on your own!
  • Grindelwald’s vial design

There were only two things I didn’t like about this audio documentary, and I don’t think anything could have been done about at least one of them. There is an entire chapter, 53 minutes and 8 seconds to be exact, dedicated to Gellert Grindelwald. You have the entire cast giving interviews, and we spend the whole of the journey to the final chapter building up to delving deeper into Grindelwald, and then….NO JOHNNY DEPP INTERVIEW. What the what? I was VERY disappointed by this. I don’t understand why, although I have a feeling it was because it was during the time when the production was under fire for even casting him, so he just wasn’t doing any press. They could have gone back and added him in later, in my opinion, because I really would have liked to hear his thoughts on his character.

The second thing I didn’t like is that I couldn’t SEE the interviews. Call me greedy if you want, I promise to understand. I am grateful for Makers, Mysteries and Magic, but I want all the things, including a video tour with Dan in the golf buggy as he wreaks all the havoc across the studio and introduces us to all of the amazing people we never see on screen but to whom we are so grateful to for all of their hard work in making these films.

In truth, this is an absolute wonderful addition to the wizarding world, especially for those of us who have always wanted to be there every day, on set as the magic happens. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald: Makers, Mysteries and Magic is now available from Audible Originals and Pottermore Publishing.

Filed Under: Dan Fogler, Fantastic Beasts Films, Review, The Crimes of Grindelwald