The Wizarding world is coming to America.
Teen Vogue has the details on the Harry Potter prequel, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
If you’re the kind of person to re-read the Harry Potter books over and over again in the hopes of keeping the magic alive, we feel you. Who wouldn’t want to live at Hogwarts with Harry, Ron, and Hermione forever? While there’s going to be an official sequel, it’s a play on the West End in London and not all of us can afford tickets across the pond. What’s a Potterhead to do, then? Why, devour every ounce of information you can find about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the prequel trilogy of films that will begin to hit theaters next year.
Though there is a Fantastic Beasts book, it’s a mock-up of one of Harry’s textbooks, and doesn’t give away much to the plot about Newt Scamander, who will be played by Eddie Redmayne. Luckily, here’s what happens:
Newt, a magizoologist from England, visits America in 1926—but rather than checking your average luggage, the wizard has a suitcase that is sort of like Mary Poppins’s endless carpetbag. How? It contains not just wild and magical animals, but their entire habitats and ecosystems. In America, however, wizards live in hiding from the No-Maj (aka muggles) because after all, this is the country that hosted the Salem witch trials. Disaster ensues when some magical creatures escape Newt’s case, because of course they do.
There’s bound to be more twists and turns as the story continues, and the film co-stars Katherine Waterston, Colin Farrell, Alison Sudol, and more. But if you’re concerned that Fantastic Beasts won’t feature a diverse cast—an issue that’s rightfully at the forefront of Hollywood right now—don’t worry. The producers are actively working to make sure they cast a wide range of actors from all backgrounds in this film.
Executive producer David Heyman told Entertainment Weekly that “in New York in the 1920s, there was a segregation between white and black, the neighborhoods were largely separate, and that is reflected in [the film]. But the wizarding world is a much more open and tolerant society where people of color and different ethnic backgrounds exist harmoniously together.”
Seeing that the film is about how wizards had to live in hiding from the No-Maj, the concept of diversity and acceptance is going to be a big undercurrent, both on set and in the movie itself. And while Dean Thomas was notably one of the few characters who were played both by an actor of color and had speaking lines in the original eight films, this is an awesome step in the right direction.
One last detail: is it next November yet? Because that’s when the film is set to come to theaters.
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