More Fantastic Beasts details revealed

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Entertainment Weekly has had the scoop so far on the newest addition to the Harry Potter universe, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and finally let some actual concrete details be published this week. Here’s what we learned that stretch beyond the photos released earlier this month.

Maybe a bit surprisingly, while Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scalamander has certainly been front and center in the promotional images and news surrounding the film, he won’t be the main protagonist. The film is actually about a quartet of characters, much like the original series focused on the trio of Harry, Ron, and Hermione. This time we’ll have Newt (Eddie Redmayne), Tina (Katherine Waterston), Queenie (Alison Sudol), and Jacob (Dan Foggler). The entire film is set in 1926 New York (meaning the original globe-trotting concept is out) and Newt will be the only Brit in the group. Tina and Queenie are a pair of sisters; Tina is an employee at the Magical Congress of the United States of America, an organization equivalent to the Ministry of Magic with a strong sense of justice, and her younger sister Queenie is a big-hearted free spirit who just so happens to also be able to read minds. Jacob meanwhile, will be the series’ first muggle protagonist who is introduced to the world of magic when he crosses paths with Newt. This makes for the first time the series will also have an all-adult cast from what we’ve heard so far. However, this is unlikely to change the overall tone of the Fantastic Beasts films, since it would be very difficult to deny that the final entries in the Harry Potter series were light-hearted fair.

And yes, we did say films on purpose. This is because as J.K. Rowling penned the script for this film, she also mapped out two sequels and says that familiar faces from the series may make an appearance. Since these movies are starting 90 years before the appearance of Harry Potter, this would limit cameos to the oldest characters in the series. Unsurprisingly, fans are hoping to catch a glimpse of a young Dumbledore, and perhaps the first opportunity to see his queer identity openly expressed in the text of the series, rather than a postmortem announcement.

Creators are also saying that Fantastic Beasts will have a more modern feel than Harry Potter, despite being set long before most of the original characters were born. This is credited to its setting being a bustling city in the midst of heavy modernization, rather than a remote boarding school in a thousand-year-old Scottish castle. American wizarding society will also be vastly different from their British counterparts. It’s very much underground and with the tragedy of the Salem Witch trials fresh in their history, American wizards are extremely distrustful of No-Maj, or Muggles. Absolutely not helping things is the presence of the New Salem Philanthropic Society (aka the Second Salemers), led by Mary Lou (Samantha Morton), who are looking to expose the wizarding community to the world. While we know they are destined to fail, it seems likely they will serve as a major antagonist to our quartet of protagonists.

All in all, Fantastic Beasts is shaping up to be a new and fresh entry into the Harry Potter lore. If it’s met with success, which is all but certain at this point, it is likely to inspire other franchises to do the same. Who knows, a wave of loosely inspired prequels could be the next big trend in blockbuster hits.

Are you looking forward to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them? What’s got you the most excited or the most hesitant? Let us know in the comments!

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