Ahead of its theatrical release this week, Fantastic Beasts and How to Find Them has already received positive early reviews. The first big-screen adventure set in J.K. Rowling’s magical universe since 2011’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, the movie rewinds the clock to 1926, following Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) as he arrives in America and thoroughly unsettles New York’s secret community of witches and wizards.
J.K. Rowling wrote the original screenplay and has already finished the script for the sequel. As director David Yates has noted, the Fantastic Beasts series is especially intriguing for fans because there are no books to read ahead of time to get a sense of the characters and where the story might be going. Rowling, obviously, drew inspiration from her 2001 book of the same title, which was supposedly written by Newt Scamander, but it’s a textbook about magical creatures. Beyond establishing Scamander’s character and the time period in which he lived, it doesn’t tell any narrative story.
Newt Scamander will continue as the lead character.
Eddie Redmayne, who brought Newt Scamander to life exactly as I imagined him. pic.twitter.com/6vshzRDNsI
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 11, 2016
Albus Dumbledore will play a key role.
As an aged professor, Dumbledore become a mentor to Harry Potter at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He will appear in the sequel in the “formative period of his life,” as Rowling described it. The character, who may be more open about his sexual orientation as a gay man, has not yet been cast.
Johnny Depp will play Gellert Grindelwald.
Director David Yates confirmed the casting. Grindelwald is a dark wizard who enjoys a close friendship with Albus Dumbledore.
The movie will be set in Europe.
Responding to a social media rumor, Rowling confirmed that the story will move to Paris, though it will not begin days after the first movie ends. Rowling did not say in what year the sequel will begin.
This isn’t correct, I’m afraid! The sequel doesn’t begin days after first movie ends (although we do go to Paris.) https://t.co/lkvIozKweU
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 13, 2016
The sequel will feature a darker tone.
According to THR, the next film will go “deeper into an increasingly dark time for the wizarding world, where Newt and the story’s other heroes have to decide on their allegiances.”
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens in theaters this week. The sequel will be released on November 16, 2018.