Wizarding's newest franchise: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Grab your brooms and wave your wands because Warner Bros. Studios is about to release the first installment of the new magical series Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. In her screenwriting debut, author J.K. Rowling wrote the script for the new movie based on her book of the same title. The book first appeared in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Rowling later published the fictional text to raise money for charity.
Adapting a textbook into a series of movies is no small task, but veteran Harry Potter director David Yates is no stranger to the Wizarding World. After successfully directing the last four Harry Potter movies, which collectively earned over $2.5 billion at the box office, Yates is familiar with the magical world and collaborating with Rowling to create a mesmerizing cinematic experience that stays true to the author’s creative works.
With an award-winning director and a brilliant screenwriter, Fantastic Beasts is already on track to be a box office hit.
Up until this point, the Wizarding World has been limited to the United Kingdom, with small references to wizards and wizarding schools across Europe. To the relief of American fans, the Wizarding World is finally expanding its universe to the United States. Though the main character, Newt Scamander, is British, the movie is set in New York City during the 1920s.
This shift to America gives Rowling the opportunity to expand her universe to a new culture of wizards. In the United States, wizards call muggles, or non-magical people, ‘no-majs.’ Where Britain has the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the United States has the Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The changes in vocabulary and introduction of a new school make sense in the context of culture, but they also set American wizards apart from the beloved world in which Harry Potter already lives. Whether these distinguishing features are problematic for the acceptance of American wizardry has yet to be determined.
The movie itself takes place 70 years before the story of the “Boy Who Lived.” Though a number of trailers have been released since the announcement of the production, the details of the storyline are still unclear. It is known that Newt Scamander, played by Eddie Redmayne, is the main character and his unsuspecting sidekick Jacob Kowalski, played by Dan Folger, is a no-maj (non-wizard). The plot is largely unknown, with very few details on the various antagonists of the movie.
Because they book on which the movie is based does not have a plot, fans are left without a preconceived idea of what to expect. This has given Rowling and Yates a new kind of creative freedom in developing the movie, and will allow viewers to focus more on the new plot itself rather than finding inconsistencies and errors.
With four more movies following, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the beginning of a new journey throughout the Wizarding World, and you can join in the adventure on November 18 in theaters near you.