Harry Potter series officially ended in 2012, but J.K.Rowling's wizarding world expands with the spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, an American fantasy drama film that is set to be released on 18th November 2016. Good news for HP fans: Rowling confirms new Harry Potter movie will be a trilogy, though the rumors that her recent play "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" will be turned into the movie have been quashed. So what you need to know before watching the most anticipated upcoming franchise?
Rowling Makes Her Screenwriting Debut
If you're one of those HP series fans who knows everything about Rowling's books, probably you have already guessed from the first look on the title of the movie, that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is based on one of the companion books to J.K.Rowling's Harry Potter series which was published in 2001. The book itself isn't a novel, but a textbook which Harry discovered to be in supply list for his first year at Hogwarts. That's why you won't see Rowling's name on the cover of this book, but the pseudonym "Newt Scamander". He is the main character of the upcoming movie – magizoologist, author of a textbook about magical creatures in the Harry Potter universe. Rowling pitched an idea from the book written by her fictional character and turned it into her first screenplay! David Heyman, known for producing the Harry Potter films, returns as producer for Fantastic Beasts!
Scamander's book contains the History of Magizoology and description of 85 magical species existing around the world. Newt traveled across five continents to collect information for his book that was published in 1927 (and now is in fifty-second edition).
Most of the profits of the Fantastic Beasts book benefits the charity Comic Relief. More than 80% of the price of each book sold goes to poor children in various countries around the world.
A Short Biography of Newt Scamander
Newton Scamander, a famed Magizoologist and fictional author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, born in 1897. He began attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in 1908 and was sorted into Hufflepuff. Unfortunately, Newt was accused of endangering a human life with a beast, and was expelled from Hogwarts, though his transfiguration teacher (Albus Dumbledore) argued against it. Shortly after this Scamander joined the Ministry of Magic and worked for the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. In 1918, he was commissioned by Obscurus Books to write a book that soon became a bestseller.
I have visited lairs, burrows and nests across five continents, observed the curious habits of magical beasts in a hundred countries, witnessed their powers, gained their trust and, on occasion, beaten them off with my traveling kettle
— Newton Scamander
After Scamander completed his travels around the world, in 1926, he arrived in New York for a meeting with an important official at the Magical Congress of the United States of America. Newt heads to New York City with a magic briefcase full of dangerous magical creatures. And when a No-Maj called Jacob Kowalski accidentally opens Newt's suitcase, all the dangerous magical creatures escape into the city. It has a devastating effect on the state of magical and non-magical relations in the United States, which is already tense due to the actions of a fanatical extremist group, the New Salem Philanthropic Society dedicated to get rid of wizard-kind. Newt does everything that is in his might to correct the horrible mistake.
In New York Scamander meets his future wife, Porpentina Goldstein and her sister, Queenie. He had a grandson named Rolf, who married Luna Lovegood after the events of the last HP series book.
The Story Begins...
The story is set in New York City, 70 years before the story of Harry Potter started. The movie opens in 1926, when Newton (played by Eddie Redmayne) comes to America. He gets into trouble with the guarded and secretive North American wizarding government...But this story isn't just about Newt; Jacob, Tina, and Queenie also are central characters and all of them are outsiders. Newt, as an Englishman in New York, and a wizard, is an outsider, "he walks into a society he doesn't really understand".
My heroes are always people who feel themselves to be set apart, stigmatized or othered. That’s at the heart of most of what I write, and it’s certainly at the heart of this movie
- Did you noticed there's no "muggles", but "No-maj"? The American Wizarding Community in the movie doesn't use the word that has been used in HP series, but uses their own "No-maj", short for "no magic".
- Like Hogwarts is for the UK, the name of the American School of Witch and Wizardry has its own name - "Ilvermorny"(but not featured in this movie).
- The building of the Magical Congress of the United States of America is the American equivalent of the Ministry of Magic and is as impressive as Gringotts bank. But there are no floors, there's just a giant cathedral-like space with lots of windows.