Yet, the film carries a problematic canonical oversight, too: Minerva McGonagall briefly appears as a young-adult wizarding instructor at Hogwarts in 1927. The trouble is, according to Harry Potter lore, she wouldn’t have even been born at that point.
Fantastic Beasts 2 takes place in 1927 and features a 20-something Minerva McGonagall teaching at Hogwarts. BUT according to Pottermore, Professor McGonagall was born on October 4, 1935 making her a -8 year old Professor. Impressive.
— Rohita (@rohitak) November 17, 2018
(Pottermore, for those who might not know, is the online portal for all things Harry Potter and Wizarding World. It features original writing from creator J.K. Rowling that is recognized as official canon.)
As Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling reveals in the original series, the famously strict Professor McGonagall first started teaching at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in 1956, when she was a spry 21 years old.
On Twitter, some have argued that this “Minerva McGonagall” may have actually been Professor McGonagall’s witch mother. But this is almost certainly wrong. Mashable reviewed the original screenplay, which explicitly cites a “Minerva McGonagall” in the film. Minerva’s mother was named “Isobel Ross,” and later “Isobel McGonagall” after marrying the muggle Robert McGonagall.
Isobel, notably, was also never a professor at Hogwarts. Fans have been pointing all of this out for days, since the first details about Grindelwald started making their way online. Some see McGonagall’s appearance as an error. Others think it’s part of the plan, and there’s more to be revealed.
“How long have you been teaching at Hogwarts?” Professor Umbridge asked.
“Thirty-nine years this December,” said Professor McGonagall brusquely, snapping her bag shut.@jk_rowling : Order of the Phoenix Chapter 15: “The Hogwarts High Inquisitor”
— Sʜɪᴘᴘɪɴɢ ᴅʀᴀɢᴏɴs (@ShippingDragons) November 14, 2018
Rowling, who is credited for writing the Fantastic Beasts sequel script, couldn’t slip this mistake past vigilant Potter fans. Perhaps such lapses won’t occur in next installment of Fantastic Beasts, which this film largely existed to set up.
Rowling, who is very active on social media, hasn’t yet weighed in on the issue of Professor McGonagall’s age in The Crimes of Grindelwald.