Analysis: “Fantastic Beats and Where to Find Them” Movie (A Harry Potter Spin-Off Trilogy)

Who doesn’t know the story of Harry Potter? He’s the everyday London boy who is informed one day that he is a famous wizard and will go to the most prestigious wizard school in the world in order to one day defeat the evil Lord Voldemort. He’s been in the limelight for a pretty long time. He has a bestselling book series that started in 1997 spanning seven epic books. He took the world by storm in 2001 and onward to 2011 with the blockbuster movie series of eight. Since then, where hasn’t he been?

The Harry Potter movie franchise is my favorite movie series of all-time. Sorcerer’s Stone is one of my favorite individual films of all-time. I love every second of the films, all the characters, the lore, the stories, and pretty much everything about them. I can even recite several of its fictitious spells. Seriously, I love the movies.

When the series finally ended, I was in the camp of optimists that hoped for another Harry Potter book/movie. Since then we’ve heard many things about whether J.K. Rowlings would continue the series and if we’ll ever see another Potter adventure again. Though we may never get another Potter film in the style we have always known, we are getting our wish in a way.

Enter Rowling’s 2001 book titled “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”. This is a textbook used by Harry sometime within his first four years at Hogwarts. A film adaption in the form of a trilogy was announced in 2013 which will share a universe with the Potter series. With its recent release date announcement of November 18, 2016, I feel the need to investigate.

Due to the nature of the book, the story doesn’t have much of a synopsis at this time. What we do know is that it will take place 70 years before the Harry Potter movies- specifically in 1920’s New York. We will naturally have a new protagonist, Newt Scamander, the fictitious author of the textbook the book is based on. The films will follow his life story.

A little background on Newt, he is what is known as a magizoologist (a person who studies creatures of a magical quality). He like most other Harry Potter characters went to Hogwarts as a Hufflepuff. (Finally, the first major Hufflepuff character). He ended up working for the Ministry of Magic soon after. His career is quite diverse having worked briefly in house-elf trade, the beast division, dragon research, law passing, and creating the “werewolf register”. As a connection to the original movies, his grandson Rolf would become the husband of Luna Lovegood. (Poor Neville).

I was initially skeptical of a movie talking place that far before the Potter films. At that point, how much connection would you have to the initial series? Now that I got a little more insight, I actually do see where you can go with this kind of story.

I like the idea of this character. While I don’t exactly have much grasp of his personality yet, his experiences could make for some good possibilities. We have little to no major Hufflepuff characters in the entire series so far. Seriously! We had pure pandering to Griffindor and Slytherin in the HP films and at least a couple Ravenclaw characters. This could bring about a new perspective.

They also picked a pretty good time period for the film. 1920’s New York brings can highlight a great era in American history. Speaking of which, Harry Potter took place almost entirely in the UK. There are now additional opportunities with a US setting. It’ll be cool to see how the magic is handled in other parts of the world.

But what will the movie’s plot specifically be about?

Given that Newt was born in 1897, he would be at least 23 in this movie; far from Hogwarts age. This will probably be his misadventures during his early career as a Minister of Magic. What particularly? Maybe we’ll see him in house-elf trade for a short time, bringing a conflict of morality subplot. However, I think the main cluster of the first movie will be him in the Beast Division. That’s just my prediction.

Will there be cameos? There better be!

You need every opportunity to tie this into the HP series to get the casual viewer interested. If you go with his house-elf trade thing, you could easily make a Dobby and/or Creature cameo. If you flash back to his Hogwarts days (which they probably will), Dumbledore is a shoe-in. Maybe you can have the ancestors of the HP characters.

But enough predicting and dreaming on my part. Now we get into the technical aspects. As of right now, we have a couple of essential components already in place.

The screenwriter is none other than J. K. Rowling herself. There is no better fit. When you think about it, this movie series is kind of like her making 3 new books only on the big screen by default. I say this because the Newt trilogy can’t exactly be found in any of her books. So, we’re in good hands.

A director has been selected for at least the first movie: David Yates. Yates directed the final four Harry Potter movies. The best decision you could of made with director is to get someone who knows the Harry Potter series. This is also a great pick just for the sake a familiarity. On that note, David Heyman returns as the movies producer.

Filming will take place at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, where all the Harry Potter movies were filmed. It conveniently also houses the “Making of Harry Potter tour”. I would also predict that filming could take place in-part in New York. That’s probably not happening because of how different 1920’s New York is from 2010’s New York. However, it could happen for the sake of area convenience for simple walking scenes or edited panoramic views.

We also know the release dates for all three movies. The first movie will release November 18, 2016, the second on November 16, 2018, and the third on November 20, 2020.

The first one has a lot of competition. The weeks before its release will have DreamWorks’ Trolls,  Universal’s Skull Island, and Marvel’s Sinister Six. The weeks after has a Disney movie by the name of Giants followed by a Star Wars spin-off. Coincidentally, Fantastic Beasts is a spin-off movie among a bunch of other spin-off movies. It’ll be interesting to see which is more successful. If you ask me, it depends on which franchise has the most star-power: Harry Potter, Star Wars, Spider-Man or King Kong? the DreamWorks and Disney movies are beasts all their own. I think Fantastic Beats could outdo Sinister Six, but not Star Wars.

2018 could be a piece of cake for Fantastic Beasts 2, but that’s contingent on what ends up being announced around it. It’s too far to give an accurate picture, but the only major threat it can have is with the Marvel movie that comes out 2 weeks earlier and the Disney movie that follows it the week after.

The third movie is impossible to predict. It is practically the only movie announced for 2020. DC’s cinematic universe announcement doesn’t even go that far. So who knows?

There is only one big thing beside the plot that we don’t know: the cast. We do know who is apparently not in the film, Daniel Radcliffe. He has already stated he has no involvement with at least the first movie. That may also scratch off Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as potential cast members. To be honest though, I kinda saw that coming. What I’m interested to find out is who they get to play Newt. My guess lays with a fresh new face. I’d actually be surprised if they get a known actor, but that’s not out of the realm of possibility either.

Overall, I see some pretty great things coming from this spin-off trilogy. As long as they at least try to make some ties to the original films and show that in the marketing, I believe this can be a successful movie. Either way, I’m clearing my calendar for this movie.

What do you guys think? Are you excited for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them? Will you see it? What do you hope to see in the films? And do you think that it can compete? Let me know in the comments and we’ll discuss it together!

I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!

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