In 2016, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them gave Harry Potter fans the world over an exciting new story to geek out over. Over the course of the film and its first sequel, we’ve learned more about Newt Scamander, his collection of beasts, and the abundant threats the Wizarding World faced long before The Boy Who Lived was even born.
If you haven’t seen the original Harry Potter films or watched Fantastic Beasts, then you might be wondering how the two storylines are connected. Fortunately, it’s extremely simple and not something you’re going to have too much trouble wrapping your head around.
How are Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts connected?
Fantastic Beasts is a direct prequel to the Harry Potter film series. The films take place from 1920 onward, decades before the main Harry Potter series begins.
This connection is super obvious to those who have seen both film series, as some characters from the original can be seen as their younger selves in Fantastic Beasts. One of the most notable examples is Albus Dumbledore, a key member of the plot in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and of course its upcoming sequel, The Secrets of Dumbledore. While the original Dumbledore was played by Richard Harris and later Michael Gambon following Harris’ death, young Dumbledore is currently being brought to life by Jude Law.
The major difference between Potter and Beasts is that the former largely takes place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry while the latter spends more time in the Wizarding World itself. Despite their disparate settings, Beasts lays the groundwork for the wizarding society that Harry Potter will ultimately find himself in, giving audiences further insight into everything from Aurors and the inner workings of the Ministry of Magic to the nefarious plot of the dark wizard Grindelwald, who Dumbledore will ⏤ spoiler alert! ⏤ ultimately defeat.
The new characters introduced in Fantastic Beasts might not have been around during the events of the original Potter series, but many are referenced in some form, especially the main character Newt Scamander, who was mentioned in the Potter books as the author of a required Hogwarts textbook also titled Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Potter mastermind J.K. Rowling released a paperback version of the book along with Quidditch Through the Ages back in 2001, so die-hard fans have known the name Newt Scamander for quite some time. (We have yet to meet Kennilworthy Whisp, though.)
If you’re a fan of either film series but haven’t seen both, it’s worth your time to check out the full compendium, as the more stories you watch from the Harry Potter universe, the better sense the interconnected storylines will make.