It’s our first real look into the wizarding world since the last Harry Potter film drew to a close in 2011 when He Who Must Not Be Named was recycled into a pile of ash in The Deathly Hallows, Part II. The new film is Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, based loosely on the book by the same name. Set in the 1920’s, about 90 years before Harry Potter’s time, it’s set in the same world – but this time, in America – specifically, New York.
The story is about the adventures of one expert in magical and fantastical beasts with the unlikely name of Newt Scarmander, and how he got to be one. An expert, that is. He was making a brief stop in New York in 1926, shortly after completing his travels around the world to research for his Magizoology book, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. What was meant to be a short interlude goes off the rails when a “No-Maj” (a person without magical abilities) called Jacob Kowalski inadvertently disrupts Newt’s magically-expanded suitcase. Some of the more dangerous magical creatures get loose, threatening to worsen the relations between the magical and non-magical worlds in the United States (which were already tense due to the presence of a fanatical extremist group, the New Salem Philanthropic Society, advocating for a “Second Salem” and the eradication of wizard kind).
When faced with the prospect of allowing some other screenwriter to bring her character Newt Scamander to life, J.K. Rowling decided to pen the screenplay herself. Directed by David Yates, starring Ezra Miller, Eddie Redmayne, and Collin Farrel, Fantastic Beasts makes its debut November 18, 2016.