First conceived by J.K. Rowling in 2001 as a Hogwarts textbook authored by the eccentric magizoologist Newt Scamander, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them has evolved into a massive film event, with the first leg of the saga due out next year. According to Entertainment Weekly, the film contains several important variations from the book. (Well, duh; the original material is 42-pages long.) Mainly? It’s not the Newt-show. Fantastic Beasts will actually feature four co-stars: Newt (Eddie Redmayne, looking hot in tweed and tousled hair, Tina (Katherine Waterston), Queenie (Alison Sudol), and Jacob (Dan Fogler). “The assumption is Newt’s front and center, but it’s a quartet,” Redmayne told EW. While the lineup doesn’t quite quell fans’ displeasure with lack of diversity in the cast, per Rowling’s Twitter request, we’ll hold judgment until more actors are announced.
But wait — there's more! The film’s plot may have been unveiled a couple of days ago, but what we didn’t know then was that the story will take place almost entirely in New York City, the locale where Newt arrives in 1926 with his trusty bag of rare and endangered magical creatures. Rowling’s version of prohibition-era NYC is decidedly wizard-unfriendly, with constant fear of No-Maj persecution keeping American wizards in the broom closet. A new group called the New Salem Philanthropic Society (otherwise known as the Second Salemers) led by Mary Lou (Samantha Morton) is looking to launch something resembling the second coming of the Salem Witch Trials. But never fear: Instead of a Ministry of Magic, there’s a Magical Congress of the United States of America hidden inside NYC’s Woolworth Building. Other important things? Fantastic Beasts will have slightly more “grown-up” and modern feel — not surprising, thanks to the big-city setting and since the stars are all, er, grown-ups. And you knew we were in for more films, but Rowling, who wrote the Fantastic Beasts screenplay, has officially confirmed that she already has the next two mapped out. Now where’s my Niffler? I seem to have misplaced my wand...you know, the one that makes brunch appear before me.