Well, we couldn’t start off without mentioning the man himself! The eccentric English Magizoologist Newt Scamander is a bit awkward, a bit eccentric, and a bit of an outsider, who seems to get on better with animals than humans! On the Pottermore website, J.K. Rowling said of her protagonist: “My heroes are always people who feel themselves to be set apart, stigmatised or othered. That’s at the heart of most of what I write, and it’s certainly at the heart of this movie.” Will the unlikely Newt prove himself to be a worthy hero?
President of the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) – the American wizarding government and equivalent of the UK’s Ministry of Magic – Seraphina Picquery is described on the Pottermore website as being “charismatic, formidable, influential”… not to mention “extremely important.” So we’re expecting her to play a pivotal role in the film. Talking about her character, actress Carmen Ejogo has said that Seraphina is “commanding and she knows the power that she yields” – just like her jewel-encrusted purple wand, which is “elegant and regal” and, when necessary, very, very powerful. Just slightly more impressive than Cornelius Fudge, then!
Porpentina (‘Tina’) Goldstein
Porpentina – or ‘Tina’ to her friends – is a talented MACUSA Auror who has been relegated to a lower unit after standing up for the wrong person. We know that she’s ambitious, moral, and is prepared to fight for what she believes in; and of course, regular readers of the Harry Potter Wiki page will know that she just so happens to be Newt’s love interest (you little devil, Newt).
Tina’s younger sister Queenie is a Legilimens, which means she can read people on a deep level – not just their thoughts, but their innermost fears, secrets and desires. This ability deepens Queenie’s relationship with Tina and allows her to assist her, but it also makes her slightly vulnerable. In an interview on the Pottermore website, the actress who plays Queenie – Alison Sudol – said that her character’s power was “a lot to take on.” Described as being brave, wild and kind-hearted, she could just become our new favourite Rowling character!
Played by actor Dan Fogler – who has said that landing the role felt like winning the lottery! – Jacob is a First World War veteran and factory worker, with dreams of becoming a baker. It looks like those plans get put on hold though when he gets accidentally mixed up in Newt’s world, after witnessing the magical beasts escaping from his suitcase. If the trailer is anything to go by, these two soon become unlikely friends, and Jacob provides some welcome comedic relief to the action and drama.
Director of Magical Security and Seraphina’s right-hand man, Graves strikes a powerful and intimidating figure as the head of the MACUSA’s Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Colin Farrell’s character is tasked with tracking down Newt and his creatures – but he’s something of a renegade. He disagrees with the International Stature of Wizarding Secrecy that keeps wizards and No-Majs separate, believing that it was only designed to protect the No-Maj community; and according to the trailer, he refuses “to bow down any longer”!
The movie is of course set in 1920s New York, when (in the real world) America was going through Prohibition, and the selling and consumption of alcohol was illegal. Gnarlak is a Goblin gangster who cashes in on this by opening up a speakeasy. Yes, you read that right – a goblin gangster! We’re expecting him to be a serious, sinister character who will also provide some comic relief with his Al Capone mannerisms.
Mary Lou Barebone
Newt says the only thing he knows about the American wizarding society is that they have “backwards laws about relations with non-magic people” – and Mary Lou is a champion of those laws. This No-Maj is the leader of the New Salem Philanthropic Society, also known as the Second Salamers, an anti-magic group that wants to expose and destroy witchcraft and wizardry in the US. Cold, stern and filled with hate, it’s likely that she will be the movie’s key villain, played with great effect by Samantha Morton.
Credence is Mary Lou’s adopted son, and also a member of the Second Salamers. He’s a troubled soul with secret magical abilities, and he’s tired of his mother’s strict discipline and hateful mission. We see him talking with Graves in the trailer, so it seems as if he has turned and become an ally to the wizarding community…but can he be trusted? Fun fact: actor Ezra Miller was so keen on getting the part that he convinced Warner Bros. to rearrange his filming schedule so that he could make it work with other filming commitments!
Credence’s sister and the youngest of Mary Lou’s adopted children, Modesty, is described as being “a haunted young girl with an inner strength and stillness.” She has the ability to see deep inside people and understand them, and she also wants to rebel against her mother, secretly destroying New Salem Philanthropic Society leaflets when she isn’t looking.
And what about these guys…?
Considered one of the most fearsome Dark Wizards of all time, Grindelwald would have been 44 at the time the movie is set. Expelled from Durmstrang Institute for carrying out dark experiments on his fellow students, he had links with the Dark Arts and ambitions to dominate the Muggle world. He gets a name drop in the trailer, when Seraphina refers to “Grindelwald’s attacks in Europe,” so we know that the characters know who he is – but will he make an appearance?
Potter lore also tells us that Dumbledore would have been 37 at the time of Fantastic Beasts, and we know that he was a professor at Hogwarts by this point – in fact, he’s the one that saved Newt from expulsion! He also has a close relationship with Grindelwald, as the two once set out together to find the Deathly Hallows, overthrow the International Statute of Secrecy and create a new wizarding order. The movie is set in America so it’s unlikely that Dumbledore will have a major role, but we’re hoping our favourite headmaster of all time will be making an appearance in some way.
Like Newt, Bathilda Bagshot is an author of a key Hogwarts textbook – although she is a more experienced writer by the time Newt is setting off on his adventures. Of course, she’s also Grindelwald’s Great Aunt! Will she offer any sage advice to Newt during the movie? Now that you know a little more about the movie’s characters, we hope you’re even more excited about the big release! Are there any other characters you think might show their face?