For Harry Potter fans, 2016 will be remembered as the year the Wizarding World came back into the mainstream. J.K. Rowling had already been providing Potterheads with new stories and mythology background on Pottermore, but last year also saw the debut of a vastly-successful stageplay, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the record-breaking release of its script and, biggest of all, the start of prequel series Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. The first movie of five, the film told the story of magizoologist Newt Scamander’s escapades in 1920s New York and is based (loosely) on the book of the same name.
That book was a much smaller tome than any of the Harry Potter novels. Released in 2001 as part of Comic Relief, the thin volume posed as an in-universe version of one of Harry’s schoolbooks, detailing weird and wonderful monsters alongside doodles by the boy wizard and best buddy Ron (one of which confirmed Hogwarts is in Scotland). Unsurprisingly, it was a big success, so much so it’s soon going to be returning to bookshelves in 2017.
As announced on Pottermore, a new version of Fantastic Beasts is set to arrive in March and will feature six additional creature entries, as well as an intro “written” by Newt and new illustrations. The update also brings with it three new covers – a classical schoolbook one for ebooks, a modern design for US publisher Scholastic and a version featuring a cartoon dragon from UK publisher Bloomsbury. Beasts has been republished before, but that was only ever a reprint with a new cover, whereas this new edition offers fresh, brand-new content from Rowling herself.
March is the perfect time to release the book – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them doesn’t have an announced home release date yet, but it’ll likely be around that time, so the new copy will tie perfectly into the hype. Some may find this the tip of a massive cash-grab – the book was never that heavy a work and the fact that it’s getting another reissue alongside five movies may seem like too much – but, given that Rowling and the publishers are still committing all of the proceeds from the book’s sales to charity, that doesn’t appear to be the case.
The big mystery is what the new included creatures will be. The Pottermore article is purposely vague, although using what’s in the film and not the original book, some can be figured out. The three main beasts created fresh for the Fantastic Beasts movie were Swooping Evil (the helpful pocket monster that helps Newt and Tina escape MACUSA), Billywig (the large flying bug that led Newt to Jacob’s apartment) and Thunderbird (the giant bird Newt was trying to take home in the first place), so they’re a safe bet to be included. The remaining three could be some that appear only briefly in the film, or perhaps monsters that will appear in the Fantastic Beasts movie sequel (due in 2018).