Some are seriously cute…
There are some ‘beasts’ you wouldn’t necessarily mind escaping into your neighbourhood. Take the Niffler; you’ll probably remember these from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, when Hagrid brings them into his Care of Magical Creatures class. Small and mole-like in appearance, Nifflers are gentle by nature; but they do have a mischievous side and will go after anything shiny, stashing it away in the seemingly bottomless pouch in their belly. The movie’s visual effects supervisor, Christian Manz, said that they took inspiration from footage of a honey badger “raiding somebody’s house with a completely insatiable desire to find food and nothing would get in its way.” Then there’s the adorable Bowtruckle, which is described as being “a sweet and intensely shy creature” – but more on those later!
…while others are scarier than Dementors
If you thought the final Harry Potter movies were dark, this November’s release looks set to be just as thrilling – partly due to the terrifying creatures that make an appearance! Thought that the Dementors’ ability to suck out people’s souls was creepy? Well, the brilliantly-named Swooping Evil – a brand new, flying reptile-like creature that isn’t mentioned in the books – can suck out people’s brains!
Meanwhile, the Nundu – a giant East African mammal, similar to a leopard – is considered one of the most dangerous species in the wizarding world, with a toxic breath that can wipe out entire communities. As we know from the Fantastic Beasts companion book, the only recorded time a Nundu was subdued was when hundreds of witches and wizards worked together to bring it down. Looks like Newt is going to need some help with this one!
Finally, with a serpentine body, the Occamy is somewhere between a dragon and a bird, with a fiercely aggressive nature that causes it to attack anyone who approaches. It also has choranaptyxic powers, meaning it can grow or shrink according to its surroundings… so what will happen if it has the streets of New York to spread its wings in? Eek!
That’s not a phoenix in the trailer!
If you thought you were looking at one of Fawkes’ ancestors in the movie trailer, think again; while closely related to the phoenix, that huge avian creature is actually a Thunderbird. The Thunderbird originates from Arizona in the US, and lends it name to one of the houses at Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Not only can these impressive creatures sense danger, but they can create storms with their many powerful wings. This doesn’t bode well for Newt, who is trying to return the Thunderbird in his magical briefcase to his natural habitat after rescuing him from traffickers in Egypt. Oh, and did we mention he called it Frank? Best name so far, we reckon.
Newt seems to have a favourite
Newt isn’t exactly supposed to have favourites – in fact, as a Magizoologist he shouldn’t really get attached to them at all! – but he can’t help but develop a soft spot for one particular Bowtruckle. Bowtruckles are small, tree-dwelling creatures that are generally peaceful unless their home tree is being attacked – in this instance, they can be placated with wood lice or fairy eggs. Actor Eddie Redmayne recently told Entertainment Weekly that a certain Bowtruckle was both his favourite and Newt’s: “There are many bowtruckles in the film, but Pickett has attachment issues. Newt knows he shouldn’t have favourites, but he loves Pickett.” Of course, it’s not just Pickett’s cute little stick-man face that makes him the teacher’s pet; as his name suggests, he also has a handy ability to pick locks!
Some could be impossible to catch
While it’s pretty easy to find a Niffler (just head to the nearest jewellers), other creatures are going to prove a real challenge for Newt to get back into his briefcase. The Thunderbird will be pretty hard to catch, of course, and trying to capture the native Australian Billywig is almost like catching a Snitch; small and fast, with wings attached to its head that make it spin around like a helicopter, it’s incredibly difficult to see – let alone grab hold of! As we know from the book, they also have a sharp sting on the end of their body that makes the victim levitate into the air (which is why they’re dried and used as a key ingredient in Fizzing Whizzbees, don’t you know?).
Then there’s the Demiguise, which we catch a brief glimpse of in the trailer. Looking like some kind of ape-sloth-baby yeti hybrid, with large black eyes, the Demiguise scores high on cute factor. But it can also turn invisible; not only that, but it also has precognitive ability – meaning it can only be captured if a witch or wizard does something truly unexpected. We can’t wait to see what Newt tries!
Newt isn’t the only one looking for them
These creatures aren’t just rare or dangerous; some are extremely valuable – from the Demiguise’s magical silver hair, which can be spun into invisibility cloaks (not quite as good Harry’s, but hey, not everyone can get their hands on a Deathly Hallow) to the Occamy’s eggs, which are made of pure silver (now we know why it’s so aggressive!). J.K Rowling has referred to these eggs once before on the Pottermore website – Gilderoy Lockhart once invented a shampoo whose primary ingredient was the yolks of Occamy eggs! Although it was certainly effective for creating luminous locks, it proved too dangerous and expensive to produce. So, there will certainly be other wizards looking to capture Newt’s creatures before he can get to them – and you can bet your last Galleon they’ll be a lot more menacing than Lockhart!
What other creatures from the books are you hoping to see in the film?