“I would like to take this opportunity to reassure Muggle purchasers that the amusing creatures described hereafter are fictional and cannot hurt you. To wizards, I say merely: Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus.”
J.K. Rowling is currently penning the screenplay for a spinoff set in the Harry Potter universe, dating 70 years before the events of the first book. The film is an adaptation of of one of Rowling’s earlier books, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, published in 2001 and written by Rowling under the pen name Newt Scamander – dedicated Potter fans will recognise this as the name of the protagonist.
The film centres on Newt Scamander, a professional magizoologist (a scholar of magical creatures) and his exploits in the secret sect of Witches and Wizards in 1920s New York, the Golden Age, a previously unexplored community that bears stark contrasts to the boarding-school atmosphere of Hogwarts. Not much else of the plot has been revealed so far, but we can conjecture that since the novel it is based upon is a textbook-style encyclopaedia of magical beings, that it will follow Scamander in his attempts to gather as much information on them in a style I would assume is similar to that of the lovechild of Indiana Jones and The Crocodile Hunter. Rowling tweeted, “Newt only meant to stay in New York for a few hours. Circumstances ensured that he remained… for the length of a movie, anyway.”
Shenanigans, in classic Potter fashion, are sure to ensue.
For better or for worse (or even better), the studio (Warner Bros.) announced it would continue the ‘cash-cow’ contemporary trend of releasing as many films as possible, and the film will be released “at least” as part of a trilogy, with the third instalment due to be released in 2020. Potter enthusiasts will have a sizeable amount of Potterland backstory to sink their teeth into; especially considering that Rowling herself is at the helm of the screenplay.
As for the cast, it has yet to be fully disclosed. However, Scamander’s character is to be played by Eddie Redmayne (Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, and Marius Pontmercy in Les Misérables). The film is set for a release November 18th, 2016. Ample enough time to reread every Potterworld book ever written, and to stock up on Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans.