On beyond the key characters and regular battles with Voldemort, one key thing separates the story of Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them from the rest of the Harry Potter franchise: its setting. Unlike the Modern England-set series, the latest film is not only set in America, but even transports audiences back in time to the 1920s. It makes the upcoming David Yates-directed movie significantly different from everything that’s come before it, and according to co-star Dan Fogler, it has the effect of massively expanding the magic universe that Harry Potter opened.
I had the pleasure of quickly chatting with the Tony Award-winning actor about his role in Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them last week at CinemaCon – the annual convention held in Las Vegas for theater owners – and he had some very interesting things to say about the importance of the new fantasy movie’s setting. I asked about what made the American location of the story significant within the Harry Potter sphere, and he explained that it’s really about widening the scope of the world and being able to show sides of it that have been completely unexplored at this point. Said Fogler,
Well, Potter films are so very deliciously British, and now bringing it to New York, bringing it to America, suddenly it expands the universe ten-fold where there are characters coming back from the war – now it’s a global thing. It just makes it that much more of a larger machine, and I think that people who are just fans of the movies are going to be excited to see that there’s so much more to see now.
We’re still months away from the release of Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, but already we know of certain institutions and terms that we wouldn’t have learned about without the expansion to American shores. For example, the movie will bring us deep into the world of the Magical Congress of the United States of America, and it’s been revealed that the U.S. doesn’t have the term “muggle,” but instead “No-Maj” as a way to describe those without access to magic. Surely this is also just the tip of the iceberg.
Set in 1926, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them follows the adventures of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), a wizard and creature expert who travels from England to New York in order to attend a meeting with the MACUSA. He brings with him a magical briefcase full of all kinds of dangerous “beasts”, but finds himself in serious trouble when they all manage to escape – leading Newt to be hunted by authorities and the entire wizarding world to be put in danger.
Be sure to stay tuned for plenty more updates on Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them in the coming weeks and months, and get excited for the film’s release on November 18th.