Harry Potter Spinoff Fantastic Beasts Casts Its Female Lead

Following word that Eddie Redmayne had been officially cast to play the lead in the anticipated Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them comes news that Katherine Waterston has been signed to star opposite him as a witch residing in the United States, which is where the story will be set. And from what we know about her character, it's a crucial role.

This article contains a potential spoiler related to character information revealed in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.

Variety reported today that Katherine Waterston has been cast to play the witchy role of Tina in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, starring alongside previously confirmed Eddie Redmayne. The site reports that Tina "works her magic in the U.S.," which could indicate -- but doesn't actually confirm -- that the character is American. It's also possible she's British but lives in the U.S. More importantly, Variety confirms that Tina is short for Porpentina, which is a very strong indication that Tina is Newt Scamander's eventual love interest.

Set seventy years before Harry Potter attended Hogwarts, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them will tell the story of Newt Scamander, the magizoologist who travels abroad to New York to gather research for the titular textbook. At some point, Newt will apparently encounter Waterston's character, and from what little information about the man's life is revealed by J.K. Rowling in Newt's bio in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, we know that he eventually settles down with a few kneazles and his wife, Porpentina. What are the odds that Newt encounters more than one Porpentina in his life? I suppose it's possible, but it may be safe to assume Waterston's character is Newt's eventual spouse. If that's the case, then perhaps part of Fantastic Beasts' plot will involving a budding romance between Newt and Tina.

Katherine Waterston's credits include Inherent Vice, four episodes of Boardwalk Empire and a part in the upcoming Steve Jobs. Her casting in Fantastic Beasts doesn't come as a huge surprise, as she was one of a few actors reported to be in the running for a role in the film, along with Kate Upton and Elizabeth Debicki. It seems Waterston won out. And we're still left to wonder who will take he role of Queenie, Tina's younger sister. Late last month, it was reported that Saoirse Ronan, Dakota Fanning, Lili Simmons and Alison Sudol were all up for the part, but no official word has come down about who will play the character yet.

Another pivotal role yet to be cast, according to Variety, is Jacob, Newt Scamander's rival. And if what the trade reports is true, it sounds like the studio is aiming for actors with established credits to their name, as opposed to signing newcomers, so we might expect more familiar names when official casting news for Queenie and Jacob are announced.

And of course, we're eager to hear more details about the story, including the American setting. From what J.K. Rowling has said, it sounds like we'll be hearing at least a few details about the school where American witches and wizards get their magic training. What else will we learn about America's history of magic in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter universe?

Directed by David Yates, based a screenplay from Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is expected to arrive in theaters November 18, 2016. The film may go on to be a trilogy or more.

Kelly West
Assistant Managing Editor

Kelly joined CinemaBlend as a freelance TV news writer in 2006 and went on to serve as the site’s TV Editor before moving over to other roles on the site. At present, she’s an Assistant Managing Editor who spends much of her time brainstorming and editing feature content on the site. She an expert in all things Harry Potter, books from a variety of genres (sci-fi, mystery, horror, YA, drama, romance -- anything with a great story and interesting characters.), watching Big Brother, frequently rewatching The Office, listening to Taylor Swift, and playing The Sims.