The magical world of Harry Potter will return to theaters in 2016, when Warner Bros. releases the Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them movie written by the creator of the Potter-verse herself, J.K. Rowling, drawing inspiration form the book that she wrote for charity purposes – a real-world version of the encyclopedic text studied by the students of Hogwarts and written by Newt Scamander (who shall serve as the protagonist of this new film).
Production on Fantastic Beasts is going to take place in the Leavesden Studio facilities – the same studio lot that was used for the previous eight installments in the Harry Potter movie franchise. London in general has become a prime spot for Hollywood to shoot effects-driven (read: green screen-heavy) genre blockbusters, whether they’re set in a fantasy version of Feudal Japan (47 Ronin), comic book alien worlds and civilizations (Thor: The Dark World), or a galaxy far, far away (the currently-filming Star Wars: Episode VII).
Likewise, Warner Bros. properly acquired the Leaveden facilities a few years ago, which will allow the studio to shoot even more films set in the Potter universe there in the years ahead (Fantastic Beasts is reportedly being eyed as the beginning of a trilogy). Nestled within THR‘s report on this Fantastic Beasts news, is a tidbit on WB’s plans to expand the Leaveden complex to encompass three additional stages and “a further 100,00 square feet of office space.” So again, WB is clearly thinking well beyond Fantastic Beasts with this business decision.
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The above image, posted by USA Today (hat tip to /Film), is a photo taken from the Diagon Alley installation that’s part of the expanded Wizarding World attraction at Universal Studios Florida. Apparently, the magical creatures designs from the Fantastic Beasts movie will bear a resemblance to the “beasts” shown here – though obviously, they’ll be afforded more realism on the big screen (a la the dragons, trolls, and other magical non-humans featured in previous Potter films).
Fans know that the world of Harry Potter will return to the screen when J. K. Rowling adapts her book, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” as a movie. If you are wondering what the mythical creatures might look like, head to the Magical Menagerie shop in Diagon Alley and peer up at the overhead shelves. Gilmore says that some of the strange looking animals represent the first time that the beasts have been visualized. “It will give visitors a peek at the next wave of Harry Potter.”
For those who are curious, here’s some additional information on the creatures depicted here, as described in Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts book. Moving left to right, we appear to have a demiguise, a hippogriff, a kneazle, and a graphorn, pictured above. (Special shout-out to Film Divider for identifying the creatures featured here.)
The Demiguise is found in the Far East, though only with great difficulty, for this beast is able to make itself invisible when threatened and can be seen only by wizards skilled in its capture.
Like sphinxes, griffins are often employed by wizards to guard treasure. Though griffins are fierce, a handful of skilled wizards have been known to befriend one.
The Kneazle has an uncanny ability to detect unsavoury or suspicious characters and can be relied upon to guide its owner safely home if they are lost.
Mountain trolls can occasionally be seen mounted on Graphorns, though the latter do not seem to take kindly to attempts to tame them and it is more common to see a troll covered in Graphorn scars.
It’ll be interesting to see how much/little the eponymous Fantastic Beasts stray from previously-established magical creature designs of past Potter installments, especially as Scamander’s adventures leads him to encounter different species and varieties of familiar “beasts” – like hippogriffs, previously represented by Buckbeak in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (something teased by the blue hippogriff featured as part of the Diagon Alley attraction).
Fantastic Beasts‘ official visual scheme (including the film’s creature designs) will in part be determined by the film’s director – a position that remains to be filled – ideally, a Guillermo del Toro type, who’s proven to have a real knack for fantasy world-building and creating imaginative animalistic beings. We ought to be getting an update on that front in the months ahead, as pre-production on the Harry Potter spinoff gets properly going.
Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them opens in U.S. theaters on November 18th, 2016.