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Feature
Wild Speculation, Based On Fact, About Harry Potter Spin-Off Fantastic Beasts
We wonder what to expect from J.K. Rowling’s return to her wizarding world

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What About The Setting?

New York 1921

There’s very little mention of the US in the Harry Potter books. We know that they play Quidditch there, but prefer a similar game called Quodpot. We know they have vampires because Amarillo Lestoat, the vampire author of A Vampire's Monologue, was born there (five points to you if you can spot the inspiration for that book). And we know that the Salem Witch Institute is an important centre of witchcraft in Potter’s universe.

But that’s about it! The Potter universe has, hitherto, been thoroughly UK-centric and so the really tasty prospect for this film is that Rowling might cut loose and do something radically different from what we’ve already seen before for this particular wizarding adventure. How will American wizards differ from their Old World contemporaries? Will there be as many of them? Will there be a Department Of Magic in the US government or will they be underground?

If there’s little to go on from a wizarding standpoint, we do know a bit about real-world New York in 1921. The Yankees won the American League; the first trans-continental air mail arrived in the city; Albert Einstein came to lecture on relativity; Prohibition was two years in; Harlem was swinging and the Jazz Age starting. The canyon streets were already a worry and had prompted legislation to limit them. There were steamships and airships and probably P.G. Wodehouse characters walking about all over. It had just overtaken London as the world’s most populous city and was generally humming.

All in all, 1920s New York is a very exciting setting for a wizard movie, especially if Warners can once again layer that reality with a distinct wizarding culture underneath and give it some of that Great Gatsby gleam.

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Have Your Say
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Your Comments

1
making a wizard film about a character the same age as most the audience that were the same age as Harry Potter when the original books came out? clever. More

Posted by sipi on Tuesday September 17, 2013, 18:49

2 Casting
So Scamander should be English and in his early-to-mid-20s? Daniel Radcliffe! Hahahaha More

Posted by Madhava on Tuesday September 17, 2013, 14:02

3 Expand, don't dilute
If we're trying to get a Potterverse up and running, which mightn't necessarily be a bad thing, there's a serious danger that the crucial British flavour of HP might be lost. Two places where Beasts might fall down could be making the world a bit too American, or over-referencing exisitng characters and stories. With Rowling writing I think we can expect something rather brilliant, which is reassuring, but the final scene of Deathly Hallows proves that even the best writers can end up writing hideous fan-fic. Matt Smith would be fantastic, but he'd more or less be playing the Doctor again so I doubt he'd do it. Any other ideas for projects in the Potterverse? I'd be interested to see a TV show about Aurors working for the Ministry, in the vein of Agents of Shield More

Posted by bleugh07 on Monday September 16, 2013, 15:27

4
Exciting as this project is, the cynic in me is really thinking that Warner Bros are finally going to get their dream of a (sort of) Potterverse film that'll be set in America and with (probably) a high proportion of US actors in the cast. With the endlessly parochial attitude of US film execs, the fact that the existing, UK-cast and -centric Potter films made many billions at the box office probably didn't fizz on them at all! More

Posted by BelfastBoy on Monday September 16, 2013, 12:56

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