[SPOILERS for Fantastic Beasts ahead.]
What Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is exactly has changed a lot over the years. Originally an in-universe Hogwarts schoolbook, J.K. Rowling Muggle-ised it in 2001 for Comic Relief. Then, once the parent Harry Potter movie series had died down, it was announced the slim volume would be turned into a spin-off prequel - at first one, then three, and now five movies. Now that the film's here, it's become apparent that, far from just telling us how to discover monsters, the series will be telling a much bigger part of the Wizarding World's history.
Still, because he's the author of the titular book, you'd expect for Newt Scamander to be the series' main protagonist (especially as there are plenty of ways he can factor into the wider story). However, based on comments from the head of the franchise, that's not the case.
Speaking to Cinema Blend, David Heyman, who produced all the Potter films and Fantastic Beasts, revealed that while Eddie Redmayne's magizoologist will still be around in the next four movies, he's unlikely to be the main focus like he was in the first:
"I don't think [Newt will be at] the heart of all of them. I think he'll be part -- so will Tina, Queenie and Jacob -- will be part of the next one."
All the talk of young Albus Dumbledore appearing in the Fantastic Beasts sequel and the reveal that the series will go all the way up to 1945, the year of Gillert Grindelwald's defeat, has already suggested these movies would be moving away from Newt, in order to take in the legendary conflict between Dumbledore and Grindelwald (first referenced back in the original Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone book in 1997). This is still the first official word confirming that Newt won't be anchoring the events as much heron out - and if there was any confusion of where the series is going, Heyman dealt with that in a follow-up question:
"[Dumbledore] and Credence and Grindelwald. I think they will be the main players."
Ezra Miller's Credence, a meek wizard who's repressed his power so much he's an immensely dangerous Obscurus, was courted by Johnny Depp's Grindelwald (under the guise of Colin Farrell's Percival Graves) and escaped New York in a deleted ending scene from Fantastic Beasts. Before the film's release his part in the narrative was unknown, but it's now evident Credence and his powers are an essential part of the larger story being told here.
This news is a bit of a shame for Newt fans though. The character was a strong, non-Potter lead and while some found his lack of backstory a bit weak, that lack of exploration was palatable with the promise of later movies exploring it. With this development, it's now unclear what the point of having him so essential to begin with was: when all's said and done on Fantastic Beasts, the first movie could feel like the odd-one-out for being so tangential to the epic conflict the series is ultimately about.
On the flip-side, it's great to hear that we've not seen the last of Tina, Queenie and Jacob. It was presumed Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol and Dan Fogler would all make a return (as they signed three-movie contracts), but Fantastic Beasts rounded off each of their stories in such a way they could be relegated to only having further expansion in Pottermore. It's good to hear that won't be the case after all.
Source: Cinema Blend
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald/Fantastic Beasts 2 (2018) release date: Nov 16, 2018