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This question deals with the ending of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. So the most important stuff will be behind spoiler tags, but it's really one big spoiler.

At the end of the story, Newt manages to disarm Graves and reveals that

Graves is actually Gellert Grindelwald in disguise and apparently has been this entire time.

I saw no indication throughout the story that Graves was anything other than what he claimed to be. This whole scene seemed to come out of nowhere.

Why would Newt have even suspected it? Were there any clues?

  • This is a duplicate of movies.stackexchange.com/q/63663/9391 "How did Newt Scamander realize “someone's” real identity?" from Movies SE. See answers there. – b_jonas Nov 26 '16 at 17:18
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    @b_jonas I'm leaving the question open for book or outside source materials other than just the movie. – DeeV Nov 26 '16 at 17:23
  • @DeeV - There's no book, just a screenplay which (I checked) doesn't offer any additional info about Newt's thought process. – Valorum Nov 26 '16 at 17:42
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    A clue that the audience got (but not Newt) is that Graves gave credence a necklace-thingy that had the deathly hallows symbol, a symbol that Grindelwald used. Krum called it Grindelwald's mark. – RedCaio Nov 29 '16 at 23:48
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    @b_jonas - the answers on that MTV question aren't exactly... stellar, i'm afraid to report. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Apr 3 '17 at 19:44
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According to Eddie Redmayne, Newt figured it out from Graves' remark about "the greater good".

SnitchSeeker: What do you think triggered Newt to use the Revelio spell on Graves in the train station?

Eddie Redmayne: I think that Newt is intuitive. I feel like his relationship with the creatures is … he’s one of the most instinctive characters I’ve ever read. I think, spending time in the wild, he’s a great listener and a great observer, even if he’s not a wonderful communicator. I think there are little moments in the film that you see him watching and observing. The scene that was cut between Graves and Tina in which, it was just an observation of his behavior and his gentle authority and manipulation. And there was also the moment just before that down in the cell in which Graves talks about the “greater good” and this notion that there is something that you can see – and Newt doesn’t miss that and picks up on it.

SnitchSeeker: That the Obscurus might be worth using.

Eddie Redmayne: Exactly. Why would you want to use it? So I think there’s a collection of points which are gently simmering there without needing to be seen.

David Yates, Eddie Redmayne, Dan Fogler talk 'Fantastic Beasts' plot points, Obscurus

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He didn't know, he guessed.

Newt is well aware that Grindelwald is in hiding and is perfectly well aware of his philosophies

NEWT: I’m not one of Grindelwald’s fanatics, Mr. Graves.

Armed with that knowledge, and having observed Graves' rant against the laws preventing contact with No-Maj's and having observed Graves' exceptional skill as a duelist, Newt evidently put two and two together and came up with four.

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    I agree with the answer, however I do agree with the op in the way that I feel that graves was edited poorly. I haven't read the original script, but I feel like graves was not developed enough. So I feel like some of his scenes were cut out. Nothing that he did really screamed bad guy to me. And his intentions for capturing the obscurial were never clear. So it was weird to me when newt and Tina were so adamant that graves was a bad guy at the end. – jomki Nov 26 '16 at 15:29
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    @Jomki - I agree entirely. I found this film to be annoyingly poor, with occasional flashes of excellence. The effects were nice, the acting was fine and the cinematography was exceptional. Where it fell down was the fact that for much of the film there was nothing happening, followed by a climactic sub-plot that had no foreshadowing. – Valorum Nov 26 '16 at 15:42
  • Yes this is how I felt as well. It seemed like a plot-point that was tagged on straight at the end because they felt they needed a twist of some sort. So they have the hero of the story reveal the villain despite being surrounded by aurors who's job it is to figure these things out. – DeeV Nov 26 '16 at 16:17
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    The fact that Graves was slinking around that orphanage in secret was suspicious to me. He never mentioned it to anyone else in MACUSA. For a plot element as crucial as that, the fact that he mentioned it to nobody else in the wizard community is important. – user31563 Nov 27 '16 at 5:57
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Newt had inside information from Dumbeldore

In the new foreword to the 2017 edition of Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them, Newt mentions a popular rumour that he was really a spy for Dumbledore.

In her recent biography Man or Monster? The TRUTH About Newt Scamander, Rita Skeeter states that I was never a Magizoologist, but a Dumbledore spy who used Magizoology as a ‘cover’ to infiltrate the Magical Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) in 1926.
Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them (2017 textbook) - Foreword by the Author

While Newt tries downplaying these rumours, he implies that there is something to the theory.

It is true that I was the first person ever to capture Gellert Grindelwald and also true that Albus Dumbledore was something more than a schoolteacher to me. More than this I cannot say without fear of breaching the Official Magical Secrets Act or, more importantly, the confidences that Dumbledore, most private of men, placed in me.
Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them (2017 textbook) - Foreword by the Author

  • Does the second quote really prove that Dumbledore had told him anything about Grindelwald. He seems to be saying that Dumbledore told him secrets, no more, no less. I'm also not sure what Dumbledore could've told him that would help him rumble his cover in the film. – The Dark Lord Mar 8 '17 at 22:51
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    @TheDarkLord - I'm not sure. It seemed to me to imply that the rumor he tried denying during the first quote was at least partly true. Hopefully things will get clearer next week when the book actually gets released and we don't have to rely on leaked German versions. – ibid Mar 8 '17 at 22:53
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    Yeah but it was Skeeter doing the rumouring... – The Dark Lord Mar 8 '17 at 23:00
  • @TheDarkLord - The last quote makes me think that the truth lies halfway between the two extremes. – ibid Mar 8 '17 at 23:04

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