This summer, fans and mere muggles will learn more about the magical world and imagination of J.K. Rowling in the present day. But, at the Sunday night telecast of the MTV Movie Awards, a new longer trailer for this fall’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them whet appetites with information about the wizarding world 70 years before. The trailer shared links between Fantastic Beasts’ New York setting and the British wizarding world of Harry Potter’s adolescence, including the Dumbledore connection.
The main character in Fantastic Beasts, Newt Scamander (portrayed by Eddie Redmayne), was apparent expelled in 1926 from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he apparently was a Hufflepuff (accordingly to a telltale scarf in his suitcase). His Transfiguration teacher, a much younger Albus Dumbledore, opposed Newt’s expulsion for “endangering human life with a beast.” This was a couple of decades before Dumbledore argued against the expulsion of Rubeus Hagrid and his “pet,” Aragog, an Acromantula or gigantic spider, when Hagrid was framed by Tom Riddle for moaning Myrtle’s Basilisk –induced death.
The backstory about Scamander and Hogwarts in the trailer helps set the stage for the new Fantastic Beasts film, due out Nov. 18 in most of the world. The anticipation for this movie is different than for any of the Harry Potter and the XXXX films. For all eight of those movie releases, the plots were known ahead of time by millions who read the books. So, while expectations were high for how people and scenes would be portrayed, people knew what to expect. Fantastic Beasts is carving out new ground in New York.
Rowling told fans some information about the American wizarding (and No-Maj – their word for Muggles or non-magical people) environment leading up to the 1920’s. She even tied it to the Salem witch trials. There is a different version of a ministry (the Magical Congress of the United States of America) and methodology for regulating magic in the U.S.
Potter fans know that Scamander became a magizoologist who wrote the textbook, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Harry had to buy it for his first year at Hogwarts. Dumbledore wrote the foreword in that textbook. (The book is actually part of Rowling’s prodigious catalog of works; she wrote a version of the Fantastic Beasts book for charity.)
The two-minute preview shows Scamander’s magical suitcase, which sounds like it is full of exotic creatures. The only obvious animal in the new trailer is a niffler, which has a long snout and is essentially a living metal detector useful for seeking treasure. But an earlier one said it was a case of magical creatures and indicated they escape.
Redmayne, himself, also wondered about the links between Fantastic Beasts and the Potter world. “When I first heard the notion of this film and that it was set in a totally different time period [to Harry Potter] the question for me was, would those worlds ever collide? When I read the script, the delicacy with which J.K. Rowling weaves the names and the characters of a different generation to the one we know and love excited me. It still does,” he recently said.
“You’re an interesting man, Mr. Scamander,” whispers the trailer’s narrator, Percival Graves (portrayed by Colin Farrell). “Just like your suitcase, there’s much more to you than meets the eye,” he adds, further tempting viewers who loved Harry Potter’s world that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will have other links and countless surprises.
Written and Edited by Dyanne Weiss
EOnline: J.K. Rowling Explains Connection Between Albus Dumbledore and Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts
TIME: 5 Things We Learned From the New Fantastic Beasts Trailer
TheLeakyCauldron.org: Pottermore Interview Eddie Redmayne at the MTV Movie Awards
The Harry Potter books and movies
Fantastic Beasts screen shot credit: Warner Bros.