Credence, Aurelius Dumbledore Twist Explained

Credence, Aurelius Dumbledore Twist Explained

Ahead of Fantastic Beasts 3 Warner Bros’ Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald delivers a final twist when the film finally reveals Credence’s true identity as Aurelius Dumbledore. We break down what it means for Harry Potter canon and Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. Since Credence is Aurelius Dumbledore, he could be Dumbledore’s brother. This is the perfect setup for Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, as the title notes. There’s no doubt that the next installment will take a deep dive into his true parentage and explore whether he’s really related to Dumbledore or if it’s just one of Grindelwald’s lies. In Fantastic Beasts 3, Credence is seen leading Grindelwald’s army, and using his Obscurus to wreak magical destruction across the world.


So, who is Credence in Fantastic Beasts? Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller) was introduced in 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them as the adopted son of Mary Lou Barebone (Samantha Morton). Mary Lou was the leader of a group that preached hatred of the magical community to fellow No-Majs (non-magical people). It was because of this internalized hatred – as well as physical and emotional abuse from Mary Lou – that Credence repressed his powers and became an Obscurial. An Obscurus is a parasitic magical force that leeches onto a young witch or wizard until they die, usually young. However, Credence is an especially powerful Obscurial, which is why the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp/Mads Mikkelsen) wants to recruit the young man to his cause – and why many in the wizarding community want Credence killed. Much of The Crimes of Grindelwald revolves around the various people interested in tracking down Credence, including protagonists Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), in addition to Grindelwald.

Related: Fantastic Beasts 3: Dumbledore & Grindelwald Backstory Explained

It looks like Fantastic Beasts 3 zeros in on Dumbledore’s role and Credence’s part in the villain’s movement. That being said, Credence is just searching for answers about the true identities of his birth parents. Though there are rumors in the wizarding community about who Credence is in Fantastic Beasts and what powerful family he could be linked to, the truth is something different – and completely unexpected. Grindelwald reveals Credence’s true identity to him in the final moments of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and it has a major effect not only on the prequel franchise, but on the Harry Potter canon as a whole. Now, we dive into the Credence twist, how it changes the Harry Potter canon as we knew it and what it means Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore and the remaining movies.

Fantastic Beasts 2’s Big Twist: Credence Is Aurelius Dumbledore

At the end of The Crimes of Grindelwald, the titular dark wizard, and his followers, take refuge in Nurmengard Castle. It’s here that Grindelwald finally reveals who Credence is in Fantastic Beasts, but not without some manipulation on his part. In the sequence, Grindelwald begins to sow discord between Credence and his (possible) brother before even revealing who that is. Further, as the sequence continues to build to the big reveal, the baby bird Credence was nurturing evolves into a Phoenix, and Grindelwald makes reference to a legend that phoenixes come to men in his family when they’re in dire need. Finally, Grindelwald reveals Credence is a Dumbledore, and his name is Aurelius.

The filmmakers don’t make it explicit whether Grindelwald was telling Credence the truth. After all, Grindelwald is known to lie and manipulate to get what he wants, and he did just that to Credence in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It would make sense for him to use Credence’s identity as a manipulation tactic to motivate the Obscurial to kill Albus – which is the end goal we already know Grindelwald is working toward by recruiting Credence. This is evidenced by Fantastic Beasts 3, which shows Credence at the forefront of Grindelwald’s army, using his Obscurus as a weapon. As such, the second movie does leave room for doubt that Credence actually is Aurelius Dumbledore. But if one chooses to believe that Credence really is Aurelius Dumbledore, then the question becomes what that means about his birth and how he fits into Harry Potter lore. These questions about who Credence is in Fantastic Beasts should be answered in The Secrets of Dumbledore.

Aurelius Dumbledore’s Parents & Backstory

While a lot of Albus’ backstory is revealed in Harry Potter, much more should come to light in The Secrets of Dumbledore. Although Grindelwald doesn’t confirm who exactly Aurelius’s parents are, he refers to Albus as the young man’s brother, so we can presume the two share one or both parents. If Credence is Aurelius Dumbledore and Albus’ brother, that would mean they share the same parentage. Albus was the eldest son of Percival and Kendra Dumbledore, a wizard man, and muggle-born woman. It was thought by the Wizarding community that there were only three Dumbledore children: Albus, Aberforth, and Ariana. Ariana was likely an Obscurial who died young (she’s never confirmed to have had an Obscurus, but there are too many parallels between her and Credence/Aurelius to be ignored). Ariana died in the summer of 1899 during a three-way duel between Albus, Aberforth, and Grindelwald.

Related: Why Johnny Depp Was Recast As Grindelwald In Fantastic Beasts 3

As for Kendra and Percival, the latter was arrested by the Ministry of Magic in 1890 and sentenced to Azkaban for attacking a group of muggle boys who had tortured Ariana when she was six. He supposedly died in Azkaban sometime later. Kendra, meanwhile, died in early summer 1899, two months prior to Ariana. Kendra was killed by an uncontrolled fit had by Ariana (another clue the young girl was an Obscurus). Since the Harry Potter movies did little to explore the full extent of Ariana’s affliction, it’s likely that Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore will hone in on this backstory.

So, if Aurelius is a Dumbledore, it’s unlikely he’s the son of both Kendra and Percival. Since Percival was sentenced to Azkaban in 1890, and prisoners of Azkaban can only receive visits from members of the Ministry of Magic, it seems incredibly unlikely Kendra and Percival would have been able to conceive a child after 1890. However, if Kendra were to have conceived a child outside of wedlock with another man, and given birth to that child before her death in 1899, he would be Albus’s half-brother, and technically a Dumbledore, but would explain why his birth was hidden from the Wizarding community. It would also explain why baby Aurelius was on a ship bound for America.

As revealed by Leta Lestrange (Zoë Kravitz), she switched her own baby brother Corvus with an unknown baby that grew up to be Credence/Aurelius. During Leta’s story, it’s unclear who the baby and the woman taking care of him were. However, the credits may be able to offer some insight. A character referred to as “Credence’s aunt” is played by Linda Santiago. It’s likely this woman is Honoria, the spinster aunt of Albus, which would also make her Credence/Aurelius’s aunt. It’s unknown whether Honoria is Percival or Kendra’s sister, so it’s unknown whether she’s a muggle or a witch. But if Kendra had a baby out of wedlock and then died (or if Percival somehow managed to impregnate someone other than his wife while in Azkaban), it seems possible Honoria would flee with the baby to protect the Dumbledore name and/or Kendra’s reputation.

All this is to say, it’s not entirely clear who Credence is in Fantastic Beasts, largely because so much about Dumbledore’s family is unknown. And, since Credence was thought to be 18 in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, his age doesn’t line up with what we know about Albus’s parents. But again, powerful wizards age differently than muggles, so there’s a way for Rowling and the Fantastic Beasts franchise to make it all work. But, we’ll need more information from The Secrets of Dumbledore before knowing Aurelius’s exact parentage and why he wasn’t raised alongside the other Dumbledore siblings.

Related: Fantastic Beasts 3 Title Explained: What “Secrets Of Dumbledore” Means

Aurelius Dumbledore Is New To Harry Potter Canon

Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the reveal about Credence’s identity ahead of Fantastic Beasts 3 is that it added a new major character to the Harry Potter canon. Although not much is known about Albus Dumbledore’s family, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows offers the most information about the Boy Who Lived’s mentor. It’s in the time following Dumbledore’s death that Harry learns about Albus’s family – and when it’s confirmed Albus only had two known siblings. But Rita Skeeter’s The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore also makes it clear that there’s a lot about the Dumbledore family the public doesn’t know. Now it seems Rowling introduced a new major member of the family in The Crimes of Grindelwald. Credence’s identity in Fantastic Beasts must be explained in The Secrets of Dumbledore. Otherwise, many won’t take this new change to the Wizarding World canon very well.

The Prophecy of Tycho Dodonus May Refer to Credence

Fantastic Beasts The Crimes of Grindelwald Credence Barebone Grindelwald

While it’s unclear if Credence is Dumbledore’s brother or not, his future in The Secrets of Dumbledore is sure to be key to the Fantastic Beasts franchise. On the journey of exploration around the mystery of Credence’s identity, a prophecy is mentioned. Prophecies also played a big part in the Harry Potter series, so it makes sense that another will become key to the Fantastic Beasts movies. The prophecy introduced in The Crimes of Grindelwald came from Tycho Dodonus, and reads:

A Son Cruelly BanishedDespair of the DaughterReturn, Great AvengerWith Wings from the Water

For much of the previous movie, Yusuf Kama (William Nadylam) believed the prophecy referred to Corvus Lestrange, and he believed himself to be the “great avenger.” Yusuf planned to kill Credence, thinking he was Corvus, as revenge against the Lestranges for what they did to his family. However, when it was revealed that Credence is actually Aurelius Dumbledore, the prophecy could be interpreted in a different way. The prophecy of Tycho Dodonus should make a reappearance in The Secrets of Dumbledore, and the rest of the Fantastic Beasts movies, given the importance of Harry Potter’s own prophecy in Order of the Phoenix.

It’s unclear whether the prophecy refers to Aurelius, but it would make sense given what we know about him. He’s the youngest Dumbledore child but isn’t acknowledged by the family and was sent to live in America (a “son cruelly banished”). “Despair of the daughter” could refer to Ariana’s Obscurus, an affliction that Credence shares. Then perhaps Aurelius is the “great avenger” who returns “with wings from the water.” After all, his Obscurus allows him to fly – sort of – and Grindelwald is no doubt manipulating him to seek vengeance on the Dumbledores for how he was treated as a baby. That’s only one interpretation, though, and as we’ve seen with prophecies in Harry Potter, they can be interpreted in many ways. This one may refer to Aurelius Dumbledore, or it may refer to someone else. Hopefully, The Secrets of Dumbledore will at least shed some light on pieces of Tycho’s prophecy, and the title of the movie definitively suggests this.

Related: Fantastic Beasts 2 Set Up The Secrets Of Dumbledore In 6 Ways

What We Know About Credence/Aurelius Dumbledore’s Role In Fantastic Beasts 3

Fantastic Beasts The Crimes of Grindelwald Credence Barebone

No matter the prophecy, Credence/Aurelius is key to the story of Fantastic Beasts 3. Now that he’s aligned with Grindelwald, Fantastic Beasts 3 shows him leading Grindelwald’s army, meaning he’ll be working against Newt and Albus. He’ll also be training to master both his magical abilities with the wand gifted to him by Grindelwald and the powers granted to him by the Obscurus. Grindelwald will be training Aurelius to kill Albus, since that’s what the dark wizard wants from the young man. So it’s likely we’ll also see Grindelwald manipulating Aurelius even more as he tries to forge the Obscurial into a weapon he can use on Albus.

However, it’s unclear whether Aurelius’s story is ultimately one in which he’s consumed by darkness or one of redemption. He might dive deeper into the Dumbledore family history to better understand if Credence is Dumbledore’s brother or not. In Fantastic Beasts 3, he may decide to align himself with Albus and betray Grindelwald. For now, it remains to be seen where exactly Aurelius’s story is headed, other than battling it out in Grindelwald’s army, but it seems likely he’ll come face to face with Albus eventually. We know he won’t kill Albus, but Aurelius may not survive the confrontation. After all, there has to be some reason history doesn’t know or remember Aurelius Dumbledore. What that is will be revealed in Fantastic Beasts 3. Ultimately, the Credence twist in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald will have a lot to do with what goes on in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.

Next: One Fantastic Beasts Theory Could Solve A Harry Potter Plot Hole

  • Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022)Release date: Apr 15, 2022

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