- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them release date: November 18, 2016
- Director: David Yates
- Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Ron Perlman, Jon Voight, Colin Farrell, Ezra Miller
- Writer: J.K. Rowling
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie will bring the Harry Potter magic back
If cinema trips haven’t been the same for you since the second Deathly Hallows movie, worry no more. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the closest you’re going to get to a sequel without paying for a view of a pillar in London’s West End to kind of see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
Fantastic Beasts tells the story of Newt Scamander who, if you’ve been studying sufficiently about the care of magical creatures, you’ll know as the author of the titular textbook Harry uses in class. While we’ve seen the book in physical form as a charity project from JK Rowling, the movie is the tale of Scamander himself prior the penning of the text, played by none other than Eddie Redmayne.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them trailer reveals a very naughty boy
The MTV Movie Awards trailer for Fantastic Beasts is an incredible tease for what lies ahead and reveals a juicy nugget of info about Scamander's past. He was "kicked out of Hogwarts for endangering human life" so it sounds like he's pulled a bit of a Hagrid at some point and brought some deadly creatures into the school. According to Percival Graves, an Auror played by Colin Farrell, the only supporter of Scamander is none other than Albus Dumbledore himself. Whether this means we'll see a version of Dumbledore in the 1920s is another question entirely but we can always dream.
The second Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them trailer revealed a little more of the mysterious contents of Newt Scamander's suitcase. The San Diego Comic Con trailer is another tantalising glimpse into 1920s New York, with Scamander describing his precious pets as being surrounded by the "most vicious creatures on the planet." Yes, he means us.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them plot is wonderfully monstrous
‘Magizoologist’, Newt Scamander arrives in New York in 1926 with a briefcase full of monsters. While you might wonder how many magical beasties could fit in a small suitcase, think the TARDIS instead of standard luggage and you’re on the right lines. It’s not too much of a spoiler to say that they don’t stay where they belong. As Eddie Redmayne puts it: “This one catalyst sets in motion a sort of insane amount of events that just cause chaos.”
While magical creatures escaping in Jazz-age New York is already a serious problem, it’s even worse when the magical community is under perilous threat from muggle investigators. A villainous group of no-maj - that’s the official American word for muggle - led by a menacing Samantha Norton, known as the New Salem Philanthropic Society are on the hunt to destroy witches and wizards. This is part of the Potter universe after all so expect a dark story at work.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them writer is J.K. Rowling herself
Why am I bringing up the writer practically before anything else? Because this is Potter author JK Rowling’s very first screenwriting project and that’s a serious cause for celebration if not a national holiday where we all eat chocolate frogs and drink pumpkin juice. Rowling had previously only worked on the film adaptations in an advisory role and while she was consulted on each decision made (and apparently put her foot down in a number of situations), screenwriter Steve Kloves was responsible for script duties.
So Fantastic Beasts means our first Rowling screenplay, making this effectively even more of an official Potter experience than ever before. It’s also means that we’ve been given a stack of new lore to go along with the new setting in the United States. American muggles are known as ‘no maj’ and Scamander will be paying a visit to the Magical Congress of the United States of America(MACUSA) which is the equivalent to the Ministry of Magic in the UK.
Interestingly, this is hidden inside the very real Woolworth building in New York, with a few more statues of Phoenixes than you might see if you visited it today. Rowling has also revealed an entirely new wizarding school called Ilvermorny in North America where the US wizards Scamander meets were educated. Just like Hogwarts, Ilvermorny has houses which of course already have names. If you went to wizarding school in the USA you would be sorted into Horned Serpent, Wampus, Thunderbird or Pukwudgie. Oh, and Rowling has plans for at least another two movies and has . Handy.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them cast stars Farrell and Redmayne
While Eddie Redmayne’s co-stars include Colin Farrell as an auror within Congress and Ron Perlman as a New York gangster, the central story is built around Scamander’s friendship with a pair of sisters and a no-maj. Queenie and Porpentina Goldstein are played by Alison Sudol and Katherine Waterston, while muggle Jacob Kowalski is comedian Dan Fogler.
We have a few details regarding the characters too. Queenie happens to be a mind reader, known as a Legilimens in Rowling’s world. Porpentina, known just as Tina, is a worker within the Magical Congress who, according to Entertainment Weekly, stood up for the wrong person and has been relegated to an office role far below her abilities. I’m guessing that her meeting with Newt will end up proving some of those.
Sudol has said that the sisters have raised each other and have a “deep bond”, while no-maj Jacob is apparently just trying to have a life and open a bakery after coming back from the war. The addition of a non wizard will be a really interesting dynamic as all the muggles we’ve seen previously - Hermione’s parents aside - haven’t exactly been the best examples of humanity. Expect some lost in translation wizard jokes between the quartet.
Other additions to the cast include Jon Voight as a US Senator, the Justice League's Flash Ezra Miller as Morton's character's troubled adopted son, Humans’ actress Gemma Chan and Selma’s Carmen Ejogo. An open audition was held last year for the role of a young girl called Modesty. Thousands of children auditioned and the role was won by ten year old Faith Wood-Blagrove from the UK. Warner Bros was apparently looking for a someone that could bring a “haunted” character with “inner strength and stillness” into reality. Exactly who the character is remains to be seen but she clearly meets Scamander on his adventures somewhere.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them director has a Potter past
And here’s yet another reason to celebrate. David Yates is on director duties. Given that he’s responsible for The Order Of The Phoenix, The Half Blood Prince and both Deathly Hallows films, Yates is a pair of safe hands when it comes to the magical books. Returning too is producer David Heyman so there’s no cause for concern when it comes to those in charge. Add in the fact that shooting has been taking place in London’s Leavesden Studios - the location for the majority of the Potter series - and the magic truly feels like it’s come home.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them poster packs a punch
We've had a few Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them posters so far (see them all below), but it's the San Diego Comic Con 2016 poster which really packs a patriot punch and gives us our first look at Samantha Morton's ominous Mary Lou and her adopted son Credence.