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EVERYTHING we know so far about fantastic Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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The wizarding world of JK Rowling is returning to the big screen later this year with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Here’s all you need to know...

The story

Many decades before Harry Potter arrives at Hogwarts, 'Magizoologist' Newt Scamander embarks on a mission to catalogue the world's magical creatures. In New York, he encounters many extraordinary characters, including a wizard named Graves.

It’s a Harry Potter spin-off

It’s been five years since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and we’ve been feeling the pangs. But while Harry himself remains firmly retired, it doesn’t mean that the Harry Potter universe doesn’t still have stories to tell. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is both a spin-off and prequel to the Potter stories, taking place around 70 years before the bespectacled wizard was born.

It’s based on a book. Sort of

JK Rowling published Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in 2001. It’s a fictional non-fiction book (if that makes any sense) within the Harry Potter universe (the printed version also includes hand-written scribbles from Harry, Ron and Hermione) and purports to be written by Newt Scamander. It’s probably truer to say however that the new movie is inspired by the book.

Eddie Redmayne is the main man

Man-of-the-moment Eddie Redmayne is Newt Scamander, an eccentric wizard who works for the British Ministry of Magic. When the Harry Potter series was launched, Warner Bros went with a young actor – Daniel Radcliffe – with only one film on his CV. This time they’re going with a bona fide star (and Oscar winner!).

“Newt is much better at communicating with beasts and spending time with his creatures than perhaps he is with human interaction,” says Redmayne. “On the journey of this film, he begins to find connections with people but he’s not exactly a people-pleaser. What I love about Newt Scamander is that he’s his own person. He’s a passionate man and he’ll do anything for those beasts.”

This is the first of a series

Warner’s have said that this film will be the first of a trilogy, so expect to see more of Newt Scamander and his amazing beasts.

JK Rowling makes her screenwriting debut with this film

She may be one of the most famous writers in the world, but JK Rowling has never actually written a screenplay. All the Harry Potter movies were adapted by different writers, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them marks the first time Jo Rowling has tipped her toes in movie waters. So this movie, more than even the Harry Potters, is 100% Rowling.

Old-time Harry Potter director Peter Yates is calling the shots

The director of the new film is Peter Yates, who helmed the last four Harry Potter movies, so rest assured, Potter-heads, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will definitely feel like it’s part of the Harry universe. And if fans are looking for a specific Harry Potter flick that feels close to this movie, Yates says The Goblet of Fire is probably the one it shares the most DNA with. “[It has] the charm of the fourth,” Yates says. “Mike [Newell, the fourth film’s director] talked about the fourth as being like an Indian musical — and it’s not that, but it’s got the humour of that film. It has the romantic comedy, that fish-out-of-water humour, that very human, natural character comedy.”

It’s out on 18 November

So there’s only five months to go. We’re counting the days!