Now that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has a new teaser trailer, it is officially no longer a Harry Potter fandom-induced fever dream. This thing is real, it stars Eddie Redmayne and Colin Farrell, and it's coming to a theater near you in November 2016.
The latest entry in the Harry Potter movie universe is neither a spinoff nor a prequel, really. As fans are well aware, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was the title of one of Harry Potter's Hogwarts textbooks, written by warlock and famous animal enthusiast Newt Scamander. J.K. Rowling later wrote the book for real, populating it with the many magical beasts she had already created within the Harry Potter world; she released it in 2001 to raise money for British charity Comic Relief.
The movie takes place about 70 years before Harry Potter arrived at Hogwarts, as Scamander (Redmayne) travels to the United States for a conference and accidentally releases a whole mess of creatures into the unsuspecting world. It also marks Rowling's screenwriting debut. (The Harry Potter movies were written by Steve Kloves.)
Between Fantastic Beasts, Rowling's play The Cursed Child (coming to the London theater scene in January), and the imminent opening of Universal Studios' Harry Potter amusement park in Los Angeles, 2016 will expand the Harry Potter universe almost 10 years beyond the final book's publication. It's impossible to tell just yet whether it will be a revitalizing year for the franchise or an ill-advised nostalgic turn.
But one thing is for sure: If Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne tackles Fantastic Beasts with even an ounce of the commitment he brought to Jupiter Ascending, the film will be in glorious hands.