Warner Bros. held a nationwide screening event and Facebook Live chat for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them on Thursday with the cast of the upcoming Harry Potter spin-off and J.K. Rowling herself there to get fans excited for the upcoming film. There, Rowling revealed that there will be a whopping five movies, the second film will take place in another big capital city, and though the dark wizard Grindelwald is mostly in the background of the first film, he will play a prominent role in the story going forward. The first ten minutes of Fantastic Beasts was also shown.
British muggles and American No-Majs: turn back now if you want to remain in the dark. Wizards, press forward if you’d like to know what the first 10 minutes revealed.
Much like the Potter films, Beasts opens with a series of newspaper articles flashing across the screen. “Hogwarts Increases Security,” one headline proclaims. “Anti-Wizard Sentiment on the Rise,” another says. “Beast Ownership Ban,” a third reads. Lastly and most ominously, one asks in block letters, “Where is Grindelwald?”
During the Q&A segment of the presentation, Eddie Redmayne mentioned that while on set he picked up a random newspaper only to discover that every article was filled in with detailed stories corresponding to the date. This made him feel more than ever that he was in good hands, though he hardly needed proof. “We are all fans and grew up watching these films,” he said. “Seeing a Potter film every few years was diving into that warm cozy place that made you feel happy about the world.”
The next scene is much like the scene at the beginning of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, in which we see an alarming event out of context. In Goblet of Fire, it was Voldemort and Wormtail murdering the Muggle Frank Bryce in the village of Little Hangleton. Here, several men in bowler hats stand on a shadowy moonlit street as some force we can’t quite discern tears through the air and rips through the ground. Is it a fearsome beast? Dark wizards? Some kind of bomb from No-Majs? It’s unclear.
The scene then shifts to a ship approaching the Statue of Liberty. We watch as Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scamander checks in with a customs officer. When the officer asks to see his briefcase, he flips a tab on his briefcase that says “Muggle worthy.” This was featured in the trailer.
Then it’s time for the debut of Colin Farrell’s auror character Percival Graves, who is investigating the scene of that mysterious crime. He stands among the rubble of the ripped up street and building, while the men in bowler hats try and fail to describe exactly what happened. A crumbled wall next to him appears to move on its own.
During the Facebook Live event, Farrell described Graves’s storyline as “parallel to the others.” Farrell said, “The segregation between wizards and No-Majs really eats at his heart. He’ll do anything to promote their well-being,” adding that Graves “feels they haven’t gotten a fair shake of the stick — or wand as the case may be.”
It sounds like Graves is something of a wizard Nationalist and as the next scene shows, he might have sound reason.
The film cuts back to Newt, who has stumbled upon a gathering on the steps of a stately-looking building. A woman stands in front of a small crowd, yelling about witches among us. Behind her there is a colorful banner.
Curious, Newt pauses to observe the scene. In the crowd behind him, we get our first glimpse of Porpetina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) who is eating a hot dog and giving Newt sideways glances, and the No-Maj Jacob (Dan Fogler) who is pushing through the crowd as he rushes up the steps, evidently late for work. He carries a briefcase that looks identical to Newt’s, and the men collide and drop their briefcases. He picks one back up and continues hurrying up the steps past the woman.
Spotting Newt’s flashy blue coat and perhaps wondering about the unfamiliar face among her usual followers, Mary Lou calls him out. “Are you a seeker?” she barks at him. “A seeker after truth?”
“I’m more of a Chaser, really,” he says.
By his side, his briefcase is rattling. Someone in the crows has dropped lose change — and as we know from Order of the Phoenix, when Lee Jordan dropped a Niffler in Umbridge’s office and he went after her rings, Nifflers like shiny objects. Sure enough, we see a Niffler get loose right in the middle of Mary Lou’s anti-Wizard protest.
…and the scene cuts.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hits theaters on November 18.