There are lots of cool movies coming out this year, but between Captain America: Civil War and Rogue One it’s easy to overlook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a brand-new adventure set in the Wizarding World of the Harry Potter series. The release date announcements and the brief teaser trailer have created tremendous excitement in the Potter fandom, to the point that we’ve had a new awakening of our own. But if you’re not on board yet, here are some very good reasons you should remember that we have a new Wizarding adventure coming out:
1. The Wizarding World is going multimedia: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them is J.K. Rowling’s first screenplay and based on the information in the behind-the-scenes video that came out recently she has some input in the production of the film. It will be interesting to see how the film compares to the original Potter films or even the books, since this story was created originally with the film in mind. And also, this fall we have a stage play coming out, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, also written by Rowling detailing the lives of the Potter gang and their posterity. The Potter story isn’t just a novel format anymore—it’s changing shape and expanding.
2. The Fandom is waking up and it’s going to be glorious: New fan art. new fan stories, fanfiction, fanon (fan canon) and headcanons. New cosplays. The Potter nation has been complaining about a lack of new material. When they get new material to work with, they’re going to run with it. It’s going to be an explosion.
3. New Characters, New Setting, New Story: As much as we love Hogwarts in Harry’s generation (or if you’re in the fandom, the generations before and after), Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will take us to new places in the Wizarding world and introduce us to new characters and new kinds of people. A new American Wizarding school, a new magical government, new Dark Wizards and cultural divisions. It’ll be like what we got before but different. Fans will have new ways of interpreting themselves. There will be a new story, not about crazy teachers and Horcruxes but about magical creatures and people who have to put up with them.
4. Newt Freaking Scamander: The more we learn about this guy, the more interesting he sounds. He’s being played by Oscar-winning actor Eddy Redmayne. Newt is a Hufflepuff. If you have had any kind of exposure to the Potter fandom, you know that Hufflepuffs are not to be as easily dismissed as they are in the Potter books. They are proud and embrace their characteristics of hard work and loyalty. And if the Internet is to be believed, they are on the ascent. We can see from the posters that Newt is hardcore and has excellent dress sense. And from the “just a smidge” line we got in the teaser, Newt might also have a quirky personality.
5. We’re finally getting a MUGGLE involved in the Wizarding World! Yes, you heard me right, one of the central characters of the story is a Muggle, or, according to early-20th century American Wzarding slang, a No-maj. In the sneak peak video we learn that the No-maj protagonist, Jacob, is a veteran of the first World War and still trying to find his way in civilian life. Well…things are about to get really messed up for this guy. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always wanted to see what would happen if a Muggle discovered the Wizarding world, or if a Muggle could openly interact with the Wizarding world. Fans on Tumblr are all about Muggleborn headcanons where they somehow sneak WiFi into Hogwarts and amaze their pureblood friends with pop culture references. But ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary situations always find a way to prove themselves. A lone No-maj stumbling across Newt Scamander’s case of creatures might not be as interesting as a Hogwarts Muggleborn, but he’ll be confused and the wizards he meet will be confused in turn. Worlds colliding…yeah, always fun to watch.
6. And we’re finally getting AMERICAN Wizards! I’m even more excited about this. American Wizarding society, and in the 1920s, is going to be a different Wizarding culture than near-contemporary Wizards in Britain. They probably have different slang and different spells for doing things with. Do they have different views on Muggles and blood status? Do they fangirl over British wizards the way American Muggles fangirl over British wizards (and British people in general)? What kind of transportation do they use? America is a much bigger country and we don’t use trains nearly as much. How do American Wizards respond to our Muggle insanity? And do American wizards do Quidditch differently? So many questions!
7. There’s an American Wizarding School we can’t wait to find out more about. A recent news release labeled the American school as Ilvermorny, and it’s somewhere up north. The female protagonist Tina and her sister have already been through this school. How is it different from Hogwarts? Do they learn magic differently from Hogwarts students? How do the students get there if they live across the country? If the news is to be believed, more information about Ilvermorny will be revealed on Pottermore soon—so naturally it’s going to trickle down.
8. THE CREATURES! I mean, it should be obvious from the movie’s title and premise, but think of the opportunities! We’ll see more of the magical creatures we saw from the books and maybe some that didn’t make the movies. And then we might get some we’ve never even heard of before…but just think about it for a moment: Dragons, basilisks, nifflers, bowtruckles, crups and knarls and kneasles, unicorns, hippogriffs. Fire salamanders. Blast-ended skrewts? Crumple-horned snorkaks, anyone?
9. The Time Period: The year is 1926. The place is New York City. You know what that means?
10. The Lead Female Protagonist Looks Awesome: Tina Goldstein works for MACUSA, aka the American Wizarding government. From an article I found online a while ago, it sounds like something bad happened and she got into some kind of trouble, so she’s out to redeem herself for her employers. The pictures and footage we have already show she has a preference for wearing pants. Tina’s sister Queenie is also one of the lead characters. So we can look forward to being entertained by two strong, independent Roaring 20s women.
11. The American Wizarding Government: The Magical Congress of the United States of America meets in the Woolworth Building in New York City. In the teaser we got a glimpse of Tina walking into one of their meeting rooms. At their head stood a woman wearing some kind of a crown. It will be interesting to see how MACUSA is structured and what their policies are. Considering the trouble that Newt is having with the magical creatures he’s collected he might be facing some kind of opposition from the Wizarding political leaders. Are they as easily misguided and corruptible as the British Ministry of Magic?
12. MERCHANDISE! Action figures! T-shirts! Wands! Lego sets! Not just the official stuff but the stuff that the fandom is inspired to create. So much to look forward to!
13. New Spells! We might get to see some kinds of magic we never saw in the Harry Potter books or films. Considering the storyline, there might be spells for working with magical creatures involved. We may also see new magical objects like Time-turners and portkeys.
14. Wizards working with magical creatures. Heck, people in general working with magical creatures. We didn’t get nearly enough of this in the Potter series.
15. Getting to see elements of the Harry Potter series again: Hopefully in Fantastic Beasts the filmmakers are careful about including the visual cues and other elements that the fans recognize and care about from Harry Potter that made that world unique. For instance, Floo Powder, broomsticks, Quidditch (in some way, shape, or form), magic candy, and, most importantly, OWL POST! Fantastic Beasts will definitely have a new flavor, but hopefully for myself and millions of other Harry Potter fans it will feel like coming home.