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Harry Potter Fans Rejoice for Fantastic Beasts

By ADELINE DAVIS

After over a decade of gracing pages and screens with his adventures, Harry Potter’s journey ended in 2011 with him sending his youngest son, Albus, off to The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Though Harry’s story has come to a close, the wizarding world lives on, making 2016 a big year for Potter fans.

The highly anticipated stage play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, following Albus’s life at Hogwarts, was released on July 31. According to The Guardian, the stage play became the fastest-selling book of the decade. In the U.S. alone, more than two million copies of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child were sold within the first 48 hours. The success of the stage play proved promising for the upcoming film adaption of J.K. Rowling’s book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, due to hit theaters on Nov. 18.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was first mentioned in Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone as one of the required textbooks for first year students. In 2001, J.K. Rowling brought the textbook to life, writing under the pen name of the fictitious textbook’s author, Newt Scamander.

The book details the 85 magical species Scamander discovered during his travels around the world. Several of these species appear in the Harry Potter series, and more are expected to pop up in Fantastic Beasts. According to Comic Relief, the book raised $21 million alongside Quidditch Through The Ages, another textbook for Hogwarts students. The enormous success of these books predicts a successful opening for Fantastic Beasts. In fact, the film was nominated as the most anticipated film for the Teen Choice Awards.

The film takes place in 1926, 54 years before Harry Potter was born. It is set in New York during the Second Salem, a fictional period created by Rowling, where people accused of witchcraft are persecuted. Upon arriving in New York, magical creature enthusiast, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) faces trouble when his creatures accidently get released into the real world. Due to the political tension of Second Salem, the release of these creatures threatens the balance between the muggle and magical citizens.

To add to the conflict, the dark and dangerous wizard, Gellert Grindelwald, is gaining power and followers. In order to save the wizarding world’s identity, Scamander finds help in Porpentina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), a worker for the Magical Congress of the U.S., and in No-Mag, the American term for muggle, Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler). Johnny Depp is also rumored to be playing the dark role of Grindelwald in the films following Fantastic Beasts, but will only have a brief cameo in the first film.       

The film will be the first installment in a five-part series, with J.K. Rowling debuting as the screenwriter, David Heyman as the producer, David Yates as the director, and Eddie Redmayne as the starring role. Heyman and Yates both worked on the Harry Potter series, with Heyman producing all eight and Yates directing the last four films. Before his breakout in 2004, Redmayne previously auditioned for the role of Tom Riddle in Harry Potter, but did not get the part. Now he’s the star and hero of Rowling’s newest franchise.  

Although Scamander will not be visiting platform nine and three quarters, fans can expect Fantastic Beasts’ adaption of the wizarding world to be just as magical.   

Adeline Davis can be reached at adeline.davis@spartans.ut.edu

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