Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them promises an alternative view of J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World. Not only is the film set in a different era than the Harry Potter films, but also a different country; the USA this time, where No-Maj's fears concerning the use of magic are at an all-time high. Fantastic Beasts also introduces a brand new cast; Eddie Redmayne as Magizoologist Newt Scamander, Katherine Waterston as Tina Goldstein and newcomer Alison Sudol as her sister, Queenie, among others.
The characters of Tina and Queenie Goldstein promise to be an interesting addition; Tina is a more prominent Witch, working as an Auror in the MACUSA (Magical Congress of the USA), but she is demoted to a far lesser position when she stands up for someone and finds her bosses don't approve. Tina is described as level-headed, hard-working, and as having a lot of heart, making her the perfect person to help a rather panicked Newt Scamander recapture his Fantastic Beasts that are rampaging across New York City. Queenie, meanwhile, couldn't be more different.
Described as a bombshell, who is a fun-loving free spirit, Queenie and her sister are very close, even living and working together. Unlike Tina, Queenie works a menial desk job at MACUSA but she too, is a very skilled Witch, and, in Fantastic Beasts, she will demonstrate a skill we have not seen before in the Wizarding World. Queenie is a Legilimens - that's a mind reader - and we have heard that term before; Salazar Slytherin was reputed to be a notable Legilimens, for example, and of course, Severus Snape could use the same skill and did, often, to dip into Harry Potter's thoughts when he was trying to teach him Occlumency. But Queenie's skill takes it to a whole new level, as Sudol explained to EW:
“She’s basically a complete and utter magical empath. She’s able to read people — so it’s not just reading somebody’s thoughts. She’s can read into someone’s story, she can see people’s goals. And so even though she’s able to do magic with her wand, a lot of her magic is actually internal, which makes her a different type of wizard or witch. And she’s incredibly fun, playful, joyful, and free-spirited, kind and wise, and also has a sort of stillness about her because she’s always tuning into people, so she’s quite an interesting character to play — very vivacious and lively, yet very centered and aware.”
Rather than being a character who plays second fiddle to her sister, who has the more prominent role within Fantastic Beasts, this Legilimens skill gives Queenie's character an interesting slant and her skills could definitely be very useful for helping Newt Scamander. It will also be interesting to see the relationship between Tina and Queenie, who raised themselves after the death of their parents, and how this dynamic alters with the arrival of Newt.
As well as a new magical perspective, Fantastic Beasts will also introduce a wealth of new magical creatures, which the most recent trailer hinted at. As the film's release draws ever closer, and we learn more about the characters in the movie, let's hope we also learn more about the Fantastic Beasts, too.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens in U.S. theaters on November 18th, 2016, followed by Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2 on November 16th, 2018.