It’s official! After weeks of speculation and rumors, Warner Bros. has confirmed that Eddie Redmayne has been cast as Newt Scamander in the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film trilogy. Eddie has most recently won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything (and seriously, if you haven’t seen this movie yet, go do so!) and has also been celebrated for his acting in such films and television series as Les Miserables, Jupiter Ascending, My Week with Marilyn, and The Pillars of the Earth.
The Fantastic Beasts films will take place 70 years before the events of Harry Potter and are helmed by 4 time Harry Potter director David Yates with JK Rowling herself as screenwriter.
Who is Newt Scamander?
Not a whole lot is known about this character or what the upcoming film trilogy has in store for him. But we do know a few things. Newt is a the author of the book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a collection that catalogues magical creatures and their habitats. Newt had an interest in magical creatures since he was a child and after graduating Hogwarts in 1915 he joined the Ministry of Magic in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. He is responsible for the creation of the Werewolf Register in 1947 as well as the 1965 Ban on Experimental Breeding, which “prevented the creation of new and untamable monsters within Britain.” His work in the Ministry led him many research trips abroad and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the result of years spent studying magical (and the most bizarre) beasts. Dumbledore calls the book a masterpiece, stating, “no household is complete without it.” The book eventually became the approved textbook for Hogwarts students and is mentioned throughout the Harry Potter series.
Of Newt’s personality we know little. But from his research and love for magical creatures (and his passion to protect them) we can glean that he is a passionate about his work, intelligent and eager to discover the most bizarre magic of the natural world. JK Rowling stated that his grandson eventually married Luna Lovegood, which suggests perhaps, that a bit of eccentricity runs in the family.
While we will have to wait until November 18th, 2016 to find out, there is no doubt that Eddie Redmayne is sure to add depth, humor, and passion to a character that we are all still learning more about.