The final trailer for the newest installment in the Harry Potter universe, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, revealed a lot of interesting details about the film. But most HP fans will undoubtedly be floored when they find out about a new key character in the film. Nagini's Fantastic Beasts 2 trailer debut teases a new connection between Voldemort and Grindelwald that fans will undoubtedly be unpacking for months — or at least until the film's Nov. 16 release.
The revelation of Nagini occurs mid-trailer, in one big, exciting moment when Credence, played by Ezra Miller, whispers "Nagini" to a woman, who then proceeds to turn into a snake. The last Nagini fans knew was the snake that was Voldemort's right hand right, one of his horcruxes and an overall minion of the Dark Lord. Up until this point, that's all fans knew about the character, but now, we see that she actually has a complex backstory.
In Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Nagini is played by Claudia Kim, an actor best known for her roles in Avengers: Age of Ultron and in Marco Polo. Up until the release of this trailer, it was never revealed exactly who her character was. Her character was originally described by Deadline as an attraction at a wizarding circus. But as this new trailer revealed, she is much, much more.
As played by Kim, Nagini is a Maledictus, defined on Pottermore as a "witch or wizard who carries a blood curse which ultimately turns them into a beast forever." Nagini isn't full-snake all the time, as we see her go from human-form to snake-form seemingly at will, but due to the curse, she'll eventually stop being able to change between the two and remain a snake forever, as seen in the Harry Potter series. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Kim said that her character feels trapped because of the curse. “She does feel sometimes it’s not controllable,” she said. “She is bound to [permanently] transform at some point to a beast so she feels this pressure that the clock is ticking.”
In the same interview, Kim said that her character is not a bad guy, at least not yet. “It will be so interesting to see another side of Nagini,” she said. “You’ve only seen her as a Horcrux. In this, she’s a wonderful and vulnerable woman who wants to live. She wants to stay a human being and I think that’s a wonderful contrast to the character.”
Now that fans have been introduced to Nagini in her human form, the next logical question is: how did she become the evil companion for one of the greatest villains of all time? Based on the trailer and tweet from the official Fantastic Beasts account that described Nagini as "aiding a fugitive," it seems that the character has a close relationship with Credence, played by Ezra Miller.
Credence first appeared in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them as a mysterious character whose magic was suppressed by his zealot of a mother. This, of course, resulted in him becoming a parasitic Obscurus, which Grindelwald was trying to unleash into the No-Majs' world. Though he appeared to die under the pressure of his anger and magic at the end of the first film, he clearly survived. The only question is: is he friend or foe? He forged a bond with Grindelwald in the first film, and whether or not that bond is still there remains to be seen. But, if he does still have a twisted allegiance to the dark wizard, it's possible that Nagini does as well.
Whatever Nagini's backstory is, it's clear that her relationship to Voldemort is much more complicated than originally thought. And now fans will finally get to learn more about her and, hopefully, in doing so, will also learn more about Grindelwald's connection to Voldemort.