WARNING! This article contains SPOILERS for Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore confirmed Credence Barebone/Aurelius Dumbledore (Ezra Miller) is the new Snape (Alan Rickman) through a very familiar line delivered by Aberforth Dumbledore (Richard Coyle). Fantastic Beasts 3 finally shed light on the Credence being Aurelius Dumbledore plot twist. Indeed, Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) didn’t lie, but he was wrong about Aurelius being Albus’ brother (and about the Dumbledores abandoning him). In fact, he is Aberforth’s long-lost son, and when the two finally reconnect, Aberforth makes Credence’s connection to Snape all too clear.
Throughout Fantastic Beasts 3, Credence and Aberforth communicate through the latter’s magic mirror in Hog’s Head Inn. Albus (Jude Law) explains to Newt (Eddie Redmayne) that in 1899, during the same summer that he and Grindelwald formed a relationship, Aberforth fathered a child with a woman from Godric’s Hollow. But she was sent away, and the baby was swapped by Leta Lestrange (who was trying to temporarily get rid of her noisy brother Corvus). This is how Aurelius Dumbledore was named Credence and put under the care of tyrannic Mary Lou Barebone. Credence’s lack of an identity in Fantastic Beasts tortured him throughout his life, and Grindelwald manipulated him into thinking he was abandoned by his family, using his pain as motivation to kill Albus. At the end of Fantastic Beasts 3, Credence/Aurelius finally learns that Aberforth never meant to abandon him. When he asks his father, “Did you ever think of me?,“ Aberforth simply replies, “Always.”
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Aberforth’s line mirrors Snape’s heartbreaking “Always” in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, and this is not a coincidence. Snape’s line, which is revealed to Harry and the viewers after his death, stands as a symbol of his love for Lily Potter and of his undying loyalty to the good side. Snape is thus portrayed as the antihero with a tragic past (his unrequited love for Lily) and a noble heart. In Fantastic Beasts 3, Credence even takes on a Snape-like style, wearing long, dark robes, and shoulder-length hair. Tortured by the Obscurus, his adoptive mother, and his feelings of abandonment, Credence is only manipulated into joining the dark side, abandoning Grindelwald as soon as he learns he has a family. But he reunites with Aberforth as he is dying – Aberforth’s line comes at a time as tragic as Snape’s, showing Credence’s good side at a moment too late.
When Credence joins Grindelwald, he does so because Grindelwald is the only one who offers him a sense of belonging. This once again reminds one of Snape, who once joined the Death Eaters as he felt betrayed by his friend Lily and unwelcome everywhere else. Voldemort’s manipulative discourse appealed to Snape, even though he was a half-blood wizard (ironically, so was Voldemort). But his allegiance soon changes. When Voldemort kills Snape, he doesn’t know that Snape has been working as a double agent for Dumbledore. Grindelwald, whose manipulative skills had earned Credence’s allegiance in a similar way, does feel Credence’s heart is not with him, so he tries to kill him. However, Albus and Aberforth’s spells meet Grindelwald’s and save his life.
Tragically, even though Credence was saved from Grindelwald’s Avada Kedavra, he is dying because of his Obscurus (having survived so long only because of the powerful magic within him). His last scene in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore shows him leaving with Aberforth, finally at peace with himself and the Dumbledore family. It remains to be seen how long he will be able to survive the Obscurus’ curse and if the Dumbledore brothers will find a way to prolong his life. However, if he is to mirror Snape’s story to the end, it’s highly unlikely Credence will outlive his curse and tragedy.
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