Recapturing the Magic: Newt Scamander, Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them, and the Return of the Wizarding World
If you know me at all, you know that I love Harry Potter. I've been a fan since the 6th grade when my English teacher read the first book out-loud. After we got through the first one, I devoured the second one. And then, I skipped school to stay home and read the third one when it came out. Ever since then, I've been hooked.
So, you can imagine my excitement when J.K. Rowling announced she would be returning to the world of Harry Potter. No, it isn't a prequel or a sequel. It's better. Harry Potter is the perfect, self-contained story about a boy who comes of age. There isn't anything left to tell in Harry's story. But the wizarding world universe is fertile grounds for other stories. And that is where this new story finds us.
It appears that Newt was born in 1897, which should put his Hogwarts graduation year around 1914. According to J.K.R., the movie will take place about ten years from his graduation, putting young Newt at around 27. At that time, he was working for the Ministry of Magic in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, Beast Division.
His work in the Beast Division "led to many research trips abroad, during which he collected information" for Fantastic Beasts. It appears that this movie will be based on one of those research trips, as it starts out in New York seventy years before Harry's story takes place, and a couple of years before the first edition of Fantastic Beasts was published.
As the main character is older, it is safe to assume that the movie will probably be geared toward a slightly older audience than the first couple of Harry Potter movies. However, I think its also safe to assume it won't be rated R. Let's not forget why WB wants to make this movie - it wants Potter fans back in movie seats.
It is no secret that Hollywood has been trying, and spectacularly failing, to recapture some of the magic associated with Potter and Twilight. Since the success of those two, Hollywood executives have made several young adult novels into film franchises. Most of them have been unsuccessful, if not disastrous, with the notable exception of The Hunger Games. The most recent example of a failed young adult novel series is The Mortal Instruments, which didn't even open at number one (or two, for that matter). But there are other examples: Percy Jackson (one of my favorite book series that just can't seem to translate into film); Beautiful Creatures; and The Host.
So, if new books aren't getting people in the seats, it's time to bring back the old classics. And nothing is more classic than Harry Potter. It remains unknown whether Harry Potter fans will come out for the release of this movie, but I suspect that they will. I know I will see it opening weekend. I may even see it twice.
Rachel Paxton is a typer of words in Dallas, TX.