The Harry Potter Spin-off Movie ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’

By Phill Powell

Hogwarts wizard Harry Potter has been noticeably absent from movie theaters since the final chapters in his film series: 2010 and 2011’s two-part epic, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

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Harry and friends wrestle a fantastic beast in the last “Harry Potter” film. (Image: Warner Bros. Studio)

And though Harry’s saga has been concluded, there’s another movie coming from the ultra-successful film franchise: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is slated for a November 18, 2016 release, and marks the screenwriting debut of Potter creator J.K. Rowling.

The book purports to have been written by a fictitious author and “magizoologist” Newt Scamander back in 1927. In reality, it was written by Rowling and published in 2001 as an extension of the Harry Potter universe. And now the book is being turned into a movie.

Magical Mystical Movie Creatures
Fans of the series will recognize the name of Newt Scamander as the author of the title book, which was still in print during the time when the Harry Potter stories are set, in the mid-1990s.

That suggests the new movie is a prequel, but Rowling herself has dismissed that idea, stating it “is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world. Newt’s story will start in New York, seventy years before Harry’s gets underway.”

It’s really the adventures of Scamander in New York’s secret world of sorcery and wizardry, long before Harry comes into the picture.

(You may recall that the name “Newt Scamander” can be seen on the Marauder’s Map in 2004’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.)

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A who’s-who of mythical creatures in Harry Potter’s world, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them takes place 70 years before the Harry Potter novels. The book was written for the charity organization Comic Relief and 80 percent of proceeds from book sales go to feed children in third-world countries.

Cast-ing a Powerful Spell
Although some key details are still unknown, we can confirm a number of casting choices:

  • Newt Scamander: The wizardly author will be played by Eddie Redmayne, the British actor who stunned audiences with his Oscar-winning performance as scientist Stephen Hawking in 2014’s The Theory of Everything.
  • Porpentina “Tina” Scamander: Newt’s wife will be played by Katherine Waterston, who appeared in TV’s Boardwalk Empire and in the 2015 biopic Steve Jobs.
  • Graves: Colin Farrell (True Detective) will portray Graves, one of the wizards that Newt meets in New York.
  • Queenie: Alison Sudol (of TV’s Dig) has been cast in the role of Queenie, who is Tina’s younger sister and Newt’s sister-in-law.

  • Kreden (?): Reportedly, Ezra Miller will appear in the film, although it isn’t clear which role he’ll play. Although it had been announced that he would play “Kreden,” Rowling herself later admitted that the name was apparently just a placeholder name and referred to no specific character. (BTW, Miller will star in 2018’s The Flash.)
  • Jacob: Although Josh Gad (Pixels) and Michael Cera were in the hunt for the part, Dan Fogler will appear as Jacob.

The movie will be directed by David Yates, who directed the last four of the Potter movies, with production taking place at Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire, England.

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Colin Farrell will play Graves, a wizard that Newt Scamander meets in New York.

Making Visual Effects Really Effective
Just the thought of a new film from the Harry Potter franchise is enough to start your imagination spinning. What kind of amazing visual effects will be used to convey J.K. Rowling’s magical ideas?

You can wait until the film releases, or you can find out this summer at Digital Media Academy visual effects camps, where students get a behind-the-scenes look at how Hollywood makes its magic happen.

You’ll find all types of hands-on filmmaking camps at DMA, guided by industry professionals who know how to successfully connect with students for maximum filmmaking results.