Fantastic Prequels and Where to Find Them

fanThis week, Entertainment Weekly released the first official images and plot premise for the upcoming, much anticipated, film of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, based on the supplemental text that, along with Quidditch through the Ages, was a charity-support book that amused Harry Potter readers with annotations from our familiar favorite Hogwarts student trio, while we were champing at the bit for an overdue next installment.

The film’s plot, it appears, will be more story-driven than the charming little collection of various wizarding world fauna, observed and described by the intrepid “magizoologist” Newt Scamander, whose other primary contribution to Harry’s story is being the ancestor of Luna Lovegood’s eventual husband. While the book takes a dictionary approach and is entertaining primarily for the marginal notes (I love Ron and Harry’s game of hangman, in particular, and Harry’s commentary on the fact that Hagrid obviously never read the acromantula entry, along a with a few others), the film will follow Scamander on his 1928 adventures in New York, carrying a briefcase that would clearly come from the same accessory aisle as Hermione’s beaded handbag. Only, instead of books, Horcruxes, and too-small blue jeans, Scamander’s briefcase contains a number of the interesting creatures he has collected on his travels. The word on the street is that, while making American friends, seeing the sights (including the American counterpart to the Ministry of Magic, located in the Woolworth building), Scamander will run into trouble when some of those critters also decide to sightsee.

Rowling herself is penning the script, and while this also means we’ll continue to ponder the complexities of an author who continues to edit, revamp, and expand her literary world, it also means there will be plenty of the complexity and layering we have come to expect from the Hogwarts adventures. Even though she has never written a film screenplay, Rowling clearly has a strong grasp on the cinematic side of story-telling, long ago creating scenes that just begged to be filmed. Will Fantastic Beasts be Fantastic? It’s hard to tell, with a release date over a year out (November 2016), but the teasers and pictures do offer a few little tidbits that make us eager to see what Rowling has up her sleeve…. And what Newt has in his briefcase. So, here are the four things (one for each house, though in no particular order)  that I’m most interested to see develop as the film takes shape, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts on these and more. [Read more…]