Warner Bros. may have already adapted the seven Harry Potter novels to the big screen, but the studio has found a way to keep the film franchise alive and well. This fall, they will release the spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which takes its name from a Hogwarts textbook that Harry and his friends used in school. The new movie is set in 1920s New York and focuses on magical zoologist Newt Scamader (Eddie Redmayne), who must track down some of the wizarding world’s greatest creatures after they escape. A star-studded ensemble, including Ezra Miller, Katherine Waterson, Colin Farrell, Jon Voight, and Ron Perlman, has been assembled.
Since Fantastic Beasts is not due until November, WB hasn’t really kicked marketing efforts into high gear just yet. Last year, they unveiled a teaser trailer for the film, and since then have shared a few images and a behind-the-scenes featurette. Now, with the summer movie season upon us, the studio is keen on ramping up awareness and anticipation for their late 2016 tentpole, using the MTV Movie Awards as a platform to debut a new sneak preview. Watch the video above.
Classified by the studio as a teaser trailer, the latest preview doesn’t offer much in the way of plot details. Instead, its primary concern is establishing Scamander as the film’s protagonist and setting up Redmayne as the charming lead. Fans get necessary backstory on the new character, learning that he was expelled from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for endangering lives with a beast. Through dialogue that seems to be from Farrell’s Percival Graves, it’s also revealed that Albus Dumbledore was a supporter of Newt’s and was against his removal from the institution, creating a fun parallel between the main films and this spinoff. WB also uses this as an opportunity to tap into nostalgia from the brand, as John Williams’ musical theme plays over shots of the magical action the series is known for. All in all, it looks like a whimsical adventure worth going on.
The fact that Fantastic Beasts is technically a Harry Potter film that does not feature any of the familiar characters could potentially make it a difficult sell for casual audiences, but there are a few things working for the project. None other than J.K. Rowling has penned the script, marking her first foray into the realm of feature film screenwriting. More than anyone, Rowling knows how much this property means to millions of people across the globe and will want to make sure that the return to the universe is a worthwhile one. It’s unlikely she would have been this heavily involved with the spinoff is she wasn’t convinced there was a great story in place. Additionally, Fantastic Beasts is directed by David Yates, who called the shots on the final four Harry Potter films. Those movies were all well-received, indicating that Yates’ sensibilities are the perfect fit for this franchise.
For their part, WB is confident in Fantastic Beasts‘ ability to be a hit with audiences. In the tradition of the modern film series, they’ve already scheduled sequels for November 2018 and November 2020, believing that the premise will prove strong enough to warrant a complete trilogy. Their faith isn’t misguided, since Harry Potter has remained a force in popular culture even well after the main storyline wrapped up. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a massive presence at Universal Studios, which includes an annual celebration event in the vein of Star Wars. Also, anticipation is high for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a new stage play that will be published as a book this summer. The rich mythology and memorable characters have resonated with viewers, and there’s little reason to doubt that will continue.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hits theaters November 18, 2016.
Source: Warner Bros.