Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the not-quite Harry Potter prequel film with a script written by J.K. Rowling, has just dropped its first teaser trailer.
The film revolves around Eddie Redmayne’s magizoologist Newt Scamander, Luna Lovegood’s Grandfather-in-law, who only intended to stay in New York a few hours but his plans are disrupted when his beasts — which were stored in his magically expanded case, think Hermione’s bag in Deathly Hallows — escape and wreak havoc on a society where things are already tense between Wizards and Anti-Wizard fanatics.
Clocking in at 1 minute and 56 seconds, with much of its time taken up by graphics, the trailer doesn’t reveal a whole lot. Luckily, in the age of screenshotting, we can employ some constant vigilance to find out more.
The first shot we see is of the American version of the Ministry of Magic, known as the Magical Congress of the United States of America. Filled with stiff seats, solemn faces, and dramatic dark lighting, its trial room looks similar to the Ministry of Magic’s dungeon trial room, which Harry sees for the first time in the pensive Goblet of Fire and experiences himself in Order of the Phoenix. It seems that no matter what time period or country you’re in, wizards like their courtrooms to be intimidating as hell.
The courtroom’s floor seems to depicts a pentagram with a dot pattern. Either there is an occult influence in this magical congress or, more likely, J.K. Rowling is taking a symbol and running with it to signify something that’s entirely her own. Maybe it’s some kind of Porkey that sends the person standing on it zooming away if the jury is displeased with them.
Ambiguous judges with great Hat Game
It’s no secret that most witches and wizards love a great hat game almost as much as Dumbledore loves a good sock game. This wizard authority, played by Selma’s Carmen Ejogo, doesn’t look too happy, but the jury is out on whether she’s a friend or a foe. More interestingly, the symbol behind her looks like a phoenix with an American flag — could that have some kind of connection to an early, pre-Voldemort American incarnation of the Order of the Phoenix? After all, Harry only hears about its history from Sirius and Lupin, neither of whom stick around to tell him more. And there’s no way Sirius would have researched its American history, if there is one.
Colin Farrell’s Graves Gravely Surveys the Rubble
Colin Farrell is playing an Auror named Graves — not to be confused with Merton Graves, the bassist of the Weird Sisters. It looks like he’s the one on the case as Newt Scamander’s escaped beasts demolish 1920’s New York. Either Graves is on his way to a fancy event after his investigation, or ‘20s era Aurors rock classy dress robes on a daily basis.
Newt Scamander Evokes the Leaky Cauldron and the Monster Book of Monsters
As Newt Scamander sits in what is presumably a hotel room or inn, peeking at a roaring briefcase, we’re reminded of a similar scene:
Newt seems understandably less perturbed than Harry, as beasts are his livelihood, but it’s good to know the cinematography is staying the same and callbacks will abound. In particular, according to the producer, look out for callbacks to Goblet of Fire, as that’s the Potter film Beasts is most similar to. From that we can glean it will be all fun and games until somebody dies at the end. Hopefully nobody will aggressively shake Newt while shriek-asking him if he put his name in the Goblet of Fire.
Porpentina is distressed
Although he’s been advertised the most heavily — probably because Eddie Redmayne is an Oscar winner — Newt Scamander is not the only main character. His wife Porpentina, seen here looking very concerned, is another protagonist. She’s also an ancestor of one of Harry’s classmates Anthony Goldstein.
Newt Scamander Wrecks Shit and Breaks the Law
Not only is Newt doing magic in the streets, but the character behind him — Jacob Kowalski, played by Dan Folger — is a muggle, otherwise known as No-Maj in American slang. That’s an offense punishable by law; Harry almost got expelled for it in Order of the Phoenix. Either the situation is so serious that Newt doesn’t care about breaking the law, or perhaps the American Magical Congress has different laws pertaining to magic in front of Muggles than the Ministry of Magic has. Or perhaps Kowalski is a Squib.
Either way, Newt still adheres to the basic laws, because that’s not an Unforgivable Curse he’s casting or the light would be green. It’s also not Harry’s signature Expelliarmus or the light would be red. What might Newt’s signature spell be?
All in all, the trailer offered a tantalizing glimpse of the 1920s Wizarding world while remaining as enigmatic as the Department of Mysteries. But with a script penned by J.K. Rowling, the setting of 1920’s New York, and actors like Eddie Redmayne, Colin Farrell, and Ezra Miller, there’s no chance this movie isn’t going to be like taking a shot of Firewhiskey. Fantastic Beasts comes to theaters in November of 2016.
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