Back in 2001 J. K. Rowling published a text book written by a Hogwarts alumni Newt Scamander. The book, which the main characters studied in the first film Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001) outlines the history of magical creatures and details all such creatures Newt Scamander has come across.
Rowling said Warner Bros had optioned the original ‘guide book’ back in the day and recently informed her they were considering turning it into a film so she began jotting down notes on the character and it resulted in the first screenplay for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Much like the original Harry Potter series, this is the first in a sequence of instalments. This time Rowling has bypassed the books and worked with Warner Bros to release the story directly to film, giving us her first ever screenplay credit. Still in the process of writing the rest of the films, Rowling says she knows exactly where she is getting to, but doesn’t know how she will get there. She has left herself room in between releases of films to play with details in the plot.
If a film makes money, modern Hollywood seems incapable of leaving it alone. It does feel like more of a continuation of the cash flow, rather than a project of necessity. However, much of the same team who worked on the original Harry Potter films have come onboard for this one, which should testify to a seamless transition of the magical world from one series to the next. It has been directed by David Yates who directed the last four Harry Potter films (and appears to have been signed on for the next four Fantastic Beasts films) and has been production designed by Stuart Craig who worked on all of the Potter films.
Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) having been expelled from Hogwarts for endangering lives with one of his pet beasts, just completed a global excursion finding and documenting a vast array of magical creatures and capturing some in his suitcase. The year is 1926, and after successfully smuggling his suitcase into New York, the magical creatures manage to escape, reaping havoc all over the city and threatening to expose the highly secretive world of witches and wizards to the public. Newt sets out to recapture his beasts, hoping to save them from the most vicious beings on the planet – humans.
The scale of the action in the trailers and surprising cast suggest that these new films are targeted at an older generation than the original series. Newcomers to the wizarding world include Colin Farrell, Johnny Depp, Dan Fogler, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Samantha Morton, Zoë Kravitz, Ezra Miller, Gemma Chan and Ron Perlman. A young Dumbledore will feature in the series, however it isn’t clear who will play him. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be released basically worldwide tomorrow. You can watch the trailer below.
Dan Fogler and Eddie Redmayne in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Alison Sudol and Katherine Waterston in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them