[dropcap]E[/dropcap]ver since J.K. Rowling’s announced the movie in September 2013, there’s been a flurry of questions regarding the what, who, why’s and more about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
In our first spotlight, and with mere 2 weeks until its premiere, I answer all the questions you have about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them below. But beware; there be spoilers ahead.
So when and where does fantastic beasts and where to find them take place?
The movie, first in a new trilogy by Dame Rowling (yes, I’m calling it damnit!), is set this time in 1920s New York. So this year, we’ll get to see how our magical cousins over the pond lived; hopefully with less guns (and less Trump).
With the movie set 70 years before the illustrious Harry Potter events, and considering Newt was alive in 2015 (just where was he hiding?), future movies could be set anytime within that period. This ultimately means we may get to see some of our long lost favourites again!
Technically any period is open to be covered in future films from 1926-2015. Think of the magical hijinks they could play on Hitler, or any historical event that could be explained with magic!
So what happens in fantastic beasts and where to find them?
The real question is, do you really want to know? Oh right, you do. Well in that case, here’s an in-depth overview:
Having taken inspiration from the textbook of the same name (1st mentioned in the Philosopher’s Stone), little else is known.
The movie finds its hero, Newt, arriving in New York in 1926, fresh off the heels of a global excursion to research and rescue magical creatures, some of which he keeps hidden in his stylish leather suitcase.
However, hilarity and chaos soon ensues when No-Maj (the American word for Muggle) Jacob Kowalski inadvertently lets some of Newt’s beasts loose in New York. Aside from this being incredibly dangerous, it’s a breach of the Wizarding Statute of Secrecy – think Snowden but 100 times worse!
This is when former Auror, Tina Goldstein, see’s her chance to regain her lost job. Jumping on the opportunity to take control, she’s soon accused of being in cahoots with Newt by the current Director of Magical Security at MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America), Percival Graves.
Right, take a deep breath and exhale. Still with me? Good, because there’s more!
All this is going on while the Second Salemers, a fanatical faction of No-Majs (Muggles, remember?) are in the background hell-bent on ridding the world of Witches and Wizards (the magical worlds version of the Ku Klux Klan).
Oh, and the powerful, dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald is also involved (Remember him? He had the Elder Wand for a while and has a sordid history with the Dumbledore’s). Having caused mayhem in Europe, he’s now on the loose (my guess is in NY – but who knows).
So what’s Tina Goldstein to do but join forces with Newt (the guy she’s accused of being in cahoots with – cause movie logic), her sister Queenie, and their No-Maj friend, Jacob. This set’s them off on a mission to recover the beasts before (A) muggles are harmed and (b) they break the law and muggles learn of their existence.
Is it me or are muggles the real issue here? Hell-bent on killing wizards, having to be protected from beasts or learning of magic as their small minds couldn’t handle it! If X-men (or the history of the world actually) has taught us anything – we will kill anything we don’t understand or can eat or don’t have use for (or have use for like the planet – thank you Global Warming!).
So what characters are in fantastic beasts and where to find them & who’s playing them?
Eddie Redmayne is Newt Scamander: The Oscar winning actor (Theory of Everything) is our Newt. A fantastic choice really as the guy’s pretty much got this acting thing down pat.
As for Newt, we know he wrote the textbook on which the movie is based. The trailer reveals he’s highly respected by Albus Dumbledore (who?) and was kicked out of Hogwarts, which is no easy task considering I’m pretty sure they let Crabbe graduate!
He still went on to work for the Ministry of Magic and then being commissioned by to write Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which we know how that turned out… grand, it turned out grand.
I won’t give away who he ends up marrying but his grandson goes on to marry Luna Lovegood – how’s that for tying things up with a nice bow?
Katherine Waterston is Porpentina “Tina” Goldstein: An American witch and former Auror (which you may remember is a detective for Dark Arts related crimes, like Harry goes on to be). She currently works for MACUSA at a desk due to some unknown reason that lead her superiors to demote her. I’m 100% sure that it’ll have no relevance to the overarching storyline…
She also has a younger sister (Queenie Goldstein) and lost her parents at a young age.
As for Waterston, the actress has shown her versatility over the past 10 years with roles in Michael Clayton, Boardwalk Empire, Inherent Vice, Steve Jobs and the future Alien: Covenant. So you could say she’s more than up to the part!
Dan Fogler is Jacob Kowalski: a former WWI American war veteran with high ambitions of one day being a baker. He’s a newly single No-Maj factory worker who meets Newt, unleashes chaos on NY and learns of magic (sign me up!).
As for the actor, Dan has been predominantly comedy-focused with roles in King Fu Panda, Fanboys, Balls or Fury and Horton Hears a Who – which fits in well with this well-to-do endearing character Kowalski.
Alison Sudol is Queenie Goldstein: As above, she is Tina’s younger sister and roommate. Rowling describes her as a bombshell, free-spirited and big-hearted.
Further to that, she’s an accomplished inLegilimency (extracting feelings and memories from another person’s mind). This skill has affected her relationship with others but strengthened her bond with Tina (aside from the fact that they were orphaned siblings).
The role is a breakthrough for Sudol who has had stints on the award-winning Transparent and Dig (where she plays the love interest of Lucius Malfoy’s Jason Isaacs – which he’s particularly great in regardless of being a weenie in the books!).
Colin Farrell is Percival Graves: the Director of Magical Security for MACUSA and himself a high-ranking Auror. He is tasked with tracking down Newt before his beasts do anymore damage to NY and their secret society. Graves is an authoritarian, shrewd minded man that has little sympathy for Muggles and their protection (finally, someone who gets it!).
As for Colin Farrell, the A-lister has recently been seen expanding his range with roles in True Detective season 2, the indie Sci-fi romance The Lobster (if you haven’t seen it, see it immediately if you like people turning in to animals when they can’t find love) and the alcoholic father of Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers in Saving Mr. Banks.
Samantha Morton is Mary Lou Barebone: Mary is a narrow-minded No-Maj but more than that, she is the menacing leader of the New Salem Philanthropic Society (“The Second-Salemers”). She plays the movie’s other villain and leader of an extremist group that seeks to expose and kill wizards and witches.
So she’s basically the Donal Trump of this world – she couldn’t get them to pay for a wall so she’s going to kill them. Great.
Ezra Miller is Credence Barebone: the tremendously talented Miller (see: everything he has ever done – including “We Need to talk about Kevin” and “The Perks of being a Wallflower”). The future Flash (alongside Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill) plays the troubled and mysterious adopted son of Mary Lou Barebone.
In the trailers, he can be seen assisting our quartet – which leads me to believe that (A) he’s sympathetic towards Witches and Wizards and (B) he may in fact be one himself, which his mother may or may not know about and begrudge him for.
Ron Perlman is Gnarlack: another fantastic actor (see Sons of Anarchy, Blade II, Hellboy, Pacific Rim etc) playing a Goblin gangster that owns a speakeasy nightclub. His club seems to be a hot-spot for magical types to relax and unwind in NY and he comes across Newt fairly early on.
What next for fantastic beasts and where to find them?
Redmayne has already been confirmed for the sequel and we know that Newt Scamander was alive in 2015 during the whole Voldemort fiasco – so he definitely survives this movie. As for the others, well those of you who are well versed in Rowling’s magical histories should be able to guess as to who else survives from this movie.
Another actress that has been confirmed is Zoe Kravitz (daughter of legendary rocker Lenny Kravitz). This is interesting as her character it yet to be revealed in the first movie though she is in it. Who could she be playing that is worth confirming for the sequel this far in advance?
What’s most exciting is that: because Scamander was alive up until at least 2015, for the next 2 films, they could set them in any time period from 1926-2015. This means that we may get to see some fan favorites pop up throughout the series (dead or alive) and even Harry’s parents and their first fight against Voldemort. Exciting!
The Fantastic beasts and where to find them Book
Unfortunately for those of you hoping to read this series in book format, as with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, this will be released as a published script. I mean, she could hardly be asked to pen a movie trilogy (200+ pages of script per movie) and then turn each one in to a 600-page novel!
However, for those of you that did enjoy reading the Cursed Child screenplay, you can purchase Fantastic Beast’s script on 18th November 2016 from various vendors such as Amazon.
And that’s it – now shoo, I’ve got 7 movies to watch before 17th November!