Before a little-known Disney film called Star Wars: The Force Awakens began to occupy the lion’s share of Entertainment Weekly’s output, it was Harry Potter offshoot Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them that adorned the outlet’s cover, bringing with it a slew of details about Warner Bros. budding franchise starter.
It was here that we began to form a clearer picture of the journey that awaits Eddie Redmayne’s wizarding prodigy Newt Scamander, and today sees the release of a trio of high-resolution images for the spinoff that takes you up close and personal with the magical world of New York City during the 1920s.
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Much like previous stills highlighted, Redmayne’s travels bring him into contact with the Magical Congress of the United States of America, but as the first unofficial story synopsis revealed, there’s much more to the David Yates-directed adventure than the titular and elusive Beasts. Set long before the birth of Harry Potter and the legacy he spawned, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will take place in a Muggle-centric America that is deeply against the practice of magic – perhaps even more so than the United Kingdom in J.K. Rowling’s original franchise.
What this bigotry means for our leading characters will ultimately be told in time, but it’s a fascinating and timely topic to underpin the mystical events that will no doubt be lighting up the silver screen come next year.
This case is one of those way-way-way-bigger-on-the-inside magical devices, and within are expansive habitats for a collection of rare and endangered magical creatures from Newt’s travels around globe. He discovers the American wizarding community is fearfully hiding from Muggles (who are called “No-Maj” in the States) and the threat of public exposure is an even graver concern than in the UK (remember the Salem witch trials?). Fantastic Beasts is the story of what happens when this uniquely skilled English wizard travels to wiz-phobic America and a variety of his creatures, some quite dangerous … get out of their case.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is currently in the thick of production ahead of a theatrical release on November 18, 2016. Gemma Chan, Carmen Ejogo and Jon Voight, Katherine Waterston, Ezra Miller, Colin Farrell and Ron Perlman also star.