Warner Bros. Pictures is bringing J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World back to the big screen in 2016, with the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The film takes places seventy years prior to the events of the Harry Potter series, revealing the adventures of the young Newt Scamander, as he travels the world documenting information about various magical creatures (resulting in his eponymous textbook that, one day, will be used by Harry and his fellow students at Hogwarts).
Principal photography on Fantastic Beasts has officially started at Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden, as confirmed by Warner Bros. via press release. The film will also be serving as Rowling's screenwriting debut, while David Yates - who helmed the final four Harry Potter movies - will be calling the shots on this project.
The previously-reported main cast members in Fantastic Beasts have now been confirmed; here's the rundown, in terms of who's who in the film:
- Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) is Newt Scamander, described as "the wizarding world’s preeminent magizoologist, who stops in New York following his travels to find and document magical creatures."
- Katherine Waterston (Inherent Vice) and Alison Sudol (Transparent) are the sisters (Porpen)Tina and Queenie. Rowling has revealed (via her Twitter account) that pair - who encounter Newt when he travels to New York - have the last name of Goldstein and thus, are distantly related to Anthony Goldstein (a Ravenclaw student in the Harry Potter series).
- Colin Farrell (True Detective) is Graves, though for now additional details on the character remain under-wraps.
- Dan Fogler (Balls of Fury) as Jacob, who is reportedly a Muggle (re: non-Wizard) whom Newt befriends on his adventures.
- Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) is Credence, a character said to be a wizard who crosses paths with Newt at some point.
- Samantha Morton (Minority Report) is Mary Lou, another characters whose nature (Muggle or Wizard?) remains to be seen.
- Jenn Murray (Brooklyn) is Chastity, a young woman who may be related (or might just be a friend) to the character Credence.
- Newcomer Faith Wood-Blagrove is Modesty, another young character whose role in Scamander's story remains to be seen.
A Fantastic Beasts synopsis offering a more in-depth breakdown of what the movie is about - other than Scamander trying to write his book - has yet to be unveiled, though Rowling has gone on record as saying that her script will not serve as a prequel to Harry's story. Rowling, back when she confirmed the Fantastic Beasts project as being a real thing, referred to Scamander as the "supposed author" of the Fantastic Beasts textbook, hinting that one or more of the aforementioned new characters will also play a significant role in the book's development. It's likewise a fair bet one of those newcomers will be an antagonist for Scamander on his quest, too.
Furthermore, Rowling has referred to Fantastic Beasts as being "an extension of the wizarding world," and that is easily the film's biggest selling point: that it represents an opportunity for Harry Potter fans to not just spend more in the sandbox that Rowling created, but also to learn more about its mythical creatures and history (beyond Voldemort's rise to power). With Yates and other Harry Potter franchise veterans (such as producers David Heyman and Steve Kloves) involved, Fantastic Beasts ought to be aesthetically consistent with the previous Harry Potter installments, so that it feels all the more like a part of the same world.
The Harry Potter universe mythos is also rich enough to sustain more than one spinoff, of course, and unsurprisingly WB already has tentative plans for a Fantastic Beasts trilogy. If the filmgoing masses respond well to the first chapter in Scamander's (and his friends) untold story, then who knows - there might be even more Harry Potter spinoffs developed in the future...
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens in U.S. theaters on November 18th, 2016. Release dates for the potential sequels have already been claimed on November 16th, 2018 and November 20th, 2020.
Source: Warner Bros. Pictures