It's Christmas before the hour for the fans of Harry Potter who will find in theaters Wednesday some of their favorite heroes with "The Crimes of Grindelwald", second opus of Fantastic Animals whose action is a few decades before the adventures of the young wizard, between Paris, London and New York.

Two years after the release of the first part of this new saga, "Crimes Grindelwald" is presented in world premiere in Paris this Thursday evening. It will be released in theaters on Wednesday, November 14 in a series of countries including France, and the 16th in the United States.

If the first episode of "Fantastic Animals" only remotely evoked the universe of Harry Potter, it plunges more directly into the past of the wizard, with a return to school Hogwarts and reunion with Professors Albus Dumbledore (as Jude Law) and Minerva McGonagall (played by Fiona Glascott).

"This story is denser and more complex, featuring new characters that have a real trajectory, and it's also a lot darker, but it's mostly impressed with how it creates a thriller atmosphere and twists. who caught me off guard, "says director David Yates, who also directed the last four episodes of" Harry Potter ".

With its stunning special effects, "Crimes of Grindelwald" opens with the spectacular escape of Gellert Grindelwald, a charismatic and manipulative sorcerer played by Johnny Depp who wants his fellows to reign over the world of "non-maj" (the ordinary humans).

To stop him, Dumbledore uses his former pupil Norbert Dragonneau (Newt Scamander in English, played by Oscar-winning British actor Eddie Redmayne), a fantastic animal specialist who had already helped capture him in the previous episode.

Alongside this rebellious and whimsical hero, we find Tina Goldstein, elite agent of the United States Magic Congress, his sister Queenie and Jacob Kowalski, improbable "non-maj".

New characters support them, such as the witch Leta Lestrange (Zoe Kravitz) or the alchemist Nicholas Flamel (Brontis Jodorowsky).

"It must have been Paris

The quartet leads the investigation in the streets of Paris in 1927, where behind the postcard scenery of the Eiffel Tower or Père Lachaise (reconstituted in studio), flourishes a magical parallel world whose access is hidden in the furniture urban. A Wallace fountain allows for example to enter the French Ministry of Magic.

"In the first game, we're in America, where the wizarding world seems pretty closed." For this new chapter, I was looking to evolve into a universe where there would be a more direct relationship between magic and everyday life. 1920s, it must have been Paris, "says JK Rowling, author of the saga and scriptwriter of the film, who also lived in the French capital and feels" a strong proximity to this city ".

To the delight of fans, the action also stops across the Channel to find Dumbledore teaching the defense against the forces of evil to sorcerer apprentices in uniform. An allusion is also made to his love affair with Grindelwald.

"Grindelwald is mentioned for the first time in + Harry Potter at the Wizard School, so he's been there from the beginning, but still an enigmatic character. (...) I was mostly interested in this story because it is essential to understand Dumbledore, who is my favorite character, "says Rowling.

Huge worldwide success, the seven volumes of the Harry Potter saga, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, have sold more than 450 million copies worldwide (including 28 million in France) and their adaptation to the cinema has yielded 7 , $ 7 billion.

The Fantastic Animals, prequel worn by the studio Warner Bros, should have three other components whose action will take place in different cities. The first opus had totaled more than 4 million entries in France.