The Latest (Nov. 8): Yates confirms a young Albus Dumbledore will indeed appear in the Fantastic Beats and Where to Find Them 2. “In the second movie Dumbledore comes back. He’s got a couple of good scenes with Newt. ... We’re discussing who would play Dumbledore, any suggestions would be good," the director said with a laugh during a Fantastic Beasts press junket.
Scroll down for everything else you need to know about the upcoming movie including the cast, soundtrack, production and more information.
U.S. release date: November 18, 2016
Format: 3D and the new IMAX 4K Laser system
Estimated budget: $200m
Time since last Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2: Five years and four months.
Place in Harry Potter chronology: Although this is generally labeled a ‘Harry Potter prequel,’ that’s not totally accurate. The story is set in J.K. Rowling’s ‘Wizarding World’ universe, 70 years before the events of the Harry Potter series. While it is expected to tie in with canon, it is for all intents and purposes a standalone story, exploring a piece of backstory which only very tangentially relates to the Harry Potter saga.
Newt Scamander is known to Harry Potter readers only as the author of one of Harry Potter’s textbooks, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. In 2001, J.K. Rowling wrote a pocket-sized version of this book and released it for charity (along with Quidditch Through the Ages by Kennilworthy Whisp).
Pieces of backstory scattered through the books, via interviews and on Pottermore, have revealed that Newt went to Hogwarts in the 1910s, and was sorted into Hufflepuff, only to be expelled before he could graduate. He went on to work at the Ministry of Magic, in the Beast Division. At one point (after the events of the movie) he married Porpentina Goldstein, whom he met in New York. Decades later, their grandson Rolf Scamander married Luna Lovegood, a fellow naturalist.
Harry Potter characters that could show up in this movie: In April 2016, Dan Fogler (who plays Jacob) told MTV that “You will see, you will hear mention of your favorite characters. You may even meet their younger selves along the way.” Fans are now wondering if we might see a young Albus Dumbledore, since he was name-dropped in the most recent trailer.
Dumbledore was born in 1881, so was already in his forties by the time Newt arrived in New York. Dumbledore, who was Transfiguration teacher while Newt was at Hogwarts, was “very fond” of Newt and argued against his expulsion, so it wouldn’t be illogical to assume the pair engage in some form of communication after Newt gets into trouble in America.
Other prominent characters who were alive at the time of Fantastic Beasts include Dumbledore’s friend-turned-enemy Gellert Grindelwald, Potions Master Horace Slughorn, Hogwarts Headmaster Armando Dippet, wandmaker Garrick Ollivander (though he would be a child), and—if they really want to tie the stories together—Harry Potter’s great-grandfather, Henry Potter.
The year is 1926, and Ministry of Magic employee Newt Scamander is returning home from a global expedition, where he’s been finding, documenting, and collecting rare magical creatures. But during a stopover in New York, some of Newt’s fantastic beasts escape from his briefcase and get loose in the city. He must now team up with Porpentina ‘Tina’ Goldstein, an employee of the Magical Congress of the United States of America, as well as a No-Maj (the American word for Muggle) named Jacob (Dan Fogler), to salvage the already frayed relationship between the wizarding community and the No-Majs.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the first movie in a planned trilogy following Newt Scamander.
Character: Newt Scamander, an eccentric and introverted British magizoologist who works in the Beast Division of the Ministry of Magic. He went to Hogwarts, was sorted into Hufflepuff, but was expelled after an incident with a magical creature endangered the lives of his fellow students.
Character: Porpentina ‘Tina’ Goldstein, an employee of the Magical Congress of the United States of America. She’s described as “grounded” and “ambitious,” and longs to fight for what is right. She will later marry Newt Scamander, and they will have at least one child together.
Character: Jacob Kowalski, a ‘No-Maj’ (Muggle) factory worker. He’s described as “optimistic,” and is somehow involved with Newt’s magical creatures getting loose. In early reports he was described as Newt’s “Muggle rival,” although it’s later been implied that he will “befriend” Newt, and that they’ll be working together.
Character: Queenie Goldstein, Tina’s younger sister. She’s a big-hearted, free-spirited bombshell, and—like both Snape and Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series —she is a powerful Legilimens, meaning that she can read people’s minds.
Character: Percival Graves, a powerful American Auror, and the right-hand man of the President of the American Wizarding World. He’s tasked with tracking Newt down.
Character: Mary Lou, the close-minded leader of the ‘Second Salemers,’ a group of No-Majs who hunt down wizards, aiming to expose and kill them.
Character: Credence, Mary Lou’s troubled, adopted son, whose place in Wizarding World canon is rumored to be more significant than we’d assume.
Character: Modesty, the only prominent child character; Wood-Blagrove was found at a massive open casting call echoing how the original Harry Potter actors were cast. Modesty is described as a “haunted young girl,” who can “see deep into people.”
Character: Gnarlack, a goblin gangster who owns a speakeasy.
Character: Seraphina Piquiery, the President of the Magical Congress of the United States of America.
Jon Voight, Gemma Chan, and Jenn Murray also star.
BEHIND THE CAMERA
Director: David Yates, who also directed the final four Harry Potter films: Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, and Deathly Hallows, Parts 1 and 2. He’s also helming this year’s The Legend of Tarzan, which stars Margot Robbie, Alexander Skarsgård and Samuel L. Jackson.
Writers: J.K. Rowling makes her feature film writing debut with Fantastic Beasts, with Steve Kloves serving as script consultant. This is fitting, as Kloves was the screenwriter of seven out of the eight Harry Potter movies.
Cinematographer: Philippe Rousellot, whose impressive resumé includes Dangerous Liaisons (1988), Interview With the Vampire (1994), Big Fish (2003), Sherlock Holmes (2009), Beautiful Creatures (2013), and The Nice Guys (2016).
Composer: James Newton Howard, who scored the entire Hunger Games saga as well The Sixth Sense (1999), Signs (2002), Peter Pan (2003), Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), and Water for Elephants (2011).
Based on: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by ‘Newt Scamander’ (J.K. Rowling)
No. 1, December 10, 2015 (848,621 views)
No. 2, December 15, 2015 (11,392,677 views)
The ‘announcement trailer’ for Fantastic Beasts debuted on December 15, 2015. While the trailer revealed Porpentina, Newt, the American version of the Wizengamot and more, what had fans most excited was the echo of the Harry Potter theme music: John Williams’ “Hedwig’s Theme.”
No. 3, April 10, 2016 (9,317,644 views)
The second trailer premiered on April 10, 2016, and aside from showing off some of the fantastic beasts, we also had some references to Hogwarts and, most excitingly, Albus Dumbledore. But fans took issue with the revelation that Newt was expelled from Hogwarts, as the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them book explicitly states that he graduated Hogwarts. Will he receive an honorary diploma at a later date, perhaps?
No. 4, Sept. 28, 2016 (1,663,101 views)
The final Fantastic Beasts trailer is filled with more magic and action that past teasers. It shows magizoologist and former Hogwarts Hufflepuff Newt Scamander (played by Eddie Redmayne) trying to recapture his magical creatures while battling forces in the wizarding world:
Highlight reel from A Celebration of Harry Potter:
A History of Magic in North America:
SELECTED PRODUCTION STORIES AND DETAILS
September 2013: Warner Bros. announces that J.K. Rowling will pen the script. When Warner Bros. approached her with the idea, Rowling thought it was “a fun idea,” but confessed it was “difficult” to imagine another writer taking on Newt Scamander. As she considered the premise, “an idea took shape that I couldn’t dislodge.”
March 2014: We learn that Fantastic Beasts will be a trilogy.
August 2014: David Yates is announced as director.
October 2014: J.K. Rowling posts an anagram to her Twitter page: “Cry, foe! Run amok! Fa awry! My wand won’t tolerate this nonsense.” Fans decrypt the message, which turns out to be the first sentence of the story synopsis: “Newt Scamander only meant to stay in New York for a few hours.”
October 2014: Fantastic Beasts 2 and 3 confirmed for 2018 and 2020, and Warner Bros. teases that the series will be “at least” a trilogy.
June 2015: Eddie Redmayne is cast as lead character Newt Scamander, two-and-a-half months after winning an Oscar for The Theory of Everything.
November 2015: J.K. Rowling reveals the American word for Muggle, ‘No-Maj,’ and fans begin to realize how different the American Wizarding World will be.
December 2015: The first trailer drops, wowing fans with its use of John Williams’ “Hedwig’s Theme.”
February 2016: J.K. Rowling expands the Wizarding World on Pottermore, revealing that there are a total of 11 wizarding schools worldwide. She also releases the names and short descriptions of four new schools: Ilvermorny in North America, Mahoutokoro in Japan, Uagadou in Uganda, and Castelobruxo in Brazil.
March 2016: J.K. Rowling releases “The History of Magic in North America,” a four-part story expanding on Ilvermorny, ‘skin-walkers,’ the witch trials and the Magical Congress of the United States of America. Rowling faces a significant backlash for incorporating elements of Native American culture into her fictional universe.
April 2016: James Newton Howard is announced as the Fantastic Beasts composer.
April 2016: It’s revealed that the Fantastic Beasts screenplay will be published in book form on November 19, 2016.
June 2016: It is announced that Fantastic Beasts will be featured in the LEGO Dimensions video game, and that Newt Scamander will be a playable character.
Aug. 3, 2016: The sequel is set for a Nov. 16, 2018 release, with David Yates returning as director. J.K. Rowling will be the screenwriter once again.
Aug. 11, 2016: Variety announced that Zoe Kravitz will join the cast of Fantastic Beats. At this time, her role has not been revealed but is said to play a major part in the film. The first look at Ezra Miller's character was also revealed, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly.
The actor, who will portray The Flash in Warner Bros. Justice League, is playing Credence Barebone in the upcoming wizardry film. EW shares this about Miller's creepy-looking character:
“[He] appears withdrawn, extremely shy and far more vulnerable than his two sisters. Credence is defenseless against the abuse that comes in response to the slightest infraction of Mary Lou’s strict rules. But his loneliness also makes him susceptible to the manipulation of Percival Graves (Colin Farrell), who has taken a personal interest in Credence.”
Oct. 13, 2016: J.K. Rowling revealed major news about the film during a press event: Fantastic Beasts will now be a franchise that spans five movies.
Nov. 1, 2016: Director David Yates stated in an interview that the sequel will take place in Paris. “It’s quite ambitious,” he explained, “[Production designer Stuart Craig] is unflappable and indefatigable, but when he saw the script for Beasts 2, he said, ‘Let me just think about it for a minute.'”
Nov. 2, 2016: The internet went into a frenzy when it was announced Johnny Depp will star in Fantastic Beasts 2. While his role isn't confirmed yet, many are speculating the actor will portray Grindelwald.
Here are the fantastic beasts likely to appear in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them:
Ashwinder: A grey serpent with glowing red eyes that rises from the embers of a magical fire. It only lives for an hour, and collapses into dust once it has laid its eggs (which are commonly used for love potions).
Augurey: Known as the ‘Irish Phoenix,’ the Augurey is a mournful, vulture-like bird whose cry is said to foretell death.
Bowtruckle: The bowtruckle is much like a stick insect, except its long sharp fingers make it dangerous if threatened. It usually serves as a tree guardian.
Crup: A magical species of dog that resembles a Jack Russell terrier, but has a forked tail. They are loyal to wizards, but hostile towards Muggles.
Merpeople: These intelligent underwater creatures evidently don’t just dwell in the Hogwarts lake.
Niffler: The rodent-like, gentle creature was first introduced in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by Hagrid. As Nifflers are attracted to shiny things, students in a Care of Magical Creatures class used them to hunt for gold.
Lethifold: This dark, highly dangerous magical creature is also known as a “Living Shroud,” because it resembles a rippling black cape.
Swooping Evil: This is a brand new creature introduced in Fantastic Beasts. In the trailer, Newt throws a ball into the air and the Swooping Evil emerges from it like a cocoon, looking like a mix between a butterfly and a blue phoenix. The name, however, suggests a less than benevolent nature.
For more complete guides, try:
–The Complete Guide to Star Trek Beyond
–The Complete Guide to the Next 9 Marvel Movies
–The Complete Guide to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story