“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” was the first film in the extended “Harry Potter” family to win an Oscar. Costume designer Colleen Atwood prevailed last winter for her sumptuous creations in this film which took us back to 70 years before Harry’s adventures. It also took us across the pond to New York, where writer Newt Scamander (Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne) encountered a secret community of witches and wizards. Scamander would end up writing the textbook that Harry and his peers study at Hogwarts. While J.K. Rowling published “Fantastic Beasts” under Scamander’s name in 2001, she took credit for her work on the screenplay.
She has also written the sequel, in which the actions shifts to Paris. Production kicked off July 3 and the release is already scheduled for November 16, 2018. Director David Yates and Redmayne have returned as have Johnny Depp as the villainous Grindelwald, Katherine Waterston as Scamander’s love interest Tina and Dan Folger as his pal Jacob. Jude Law joins the cast to play a young Albus Dumbledore.
Dumbledore was the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he mentored Harry (Daniel Radcliffe. The role was played in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (2001) and “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” (2002) by Richard Harris, but upon the actor’s death in 2002 the role was recast with Michael Gambon for the remaining six films.
The sequel moves the main action to 1920s Paris, shortly after Scamander’s capture of Grindelwald at the end of the first installment. Warner Bros. released the following plot description: “Grindelwald has made a dramatic escape and has been gathering more followers to his cause — elevating wizards above all non-magical beings. The only one who might be able to stop him is the wizard he once called his dearest friend, Albus Dumbledore. But Dumbledore will need help from the wizard who had thwarted Grindelwald once before, his former student Newt Scamander.”