Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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Fandom
Name: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Abbreviation(s): FBAWTFT
Creator: J.K. Rowling (Screenwriter), David Yates (Director)
Date(s): November 10, 2016
Medium: Film
Country of Origin:
External Links: Fantastic Beasts (film series) at Harry Potter Wikia
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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the first film in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, a film series taking place in the extended Harry Potter universe. It is set in 1920s New York and revolves around the adventures of Newt Scamander, celebrated magizoologist and author of the textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which features in the main Harry Potter book series. The film's setting also spans the initial rise to power of the dark wizard Grindelwald, who is the main antagonist of the series.

The Fantastic Beasts films have been generally well received by fans, despite some controversy over the casting of Grindelwald, and elements of J.K. Rowling’s world-building of the North American magical world, which were perceived to be racially insensitive. Fanworks, headcanons, meta and shipping revolving around the Fantastic Beasts universe all sprang up following the release of the first film.

Fan Reception of the Film

Casting and Reaction

Casting decisions for the four protagonists were announced in June–August 2015: Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander (4 June), Katherine Waterston as Tina Goldstein (16 June), Alison Sudol as Queenie Goldstein (9 July), and Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski (16 Aug).[1]

In a Reddit discussion thread on r/harrypotter about the news that Eddie Redmayne had been cast as Newt, fans expressed their disappointment over the choice of a white actor:

Sighhh. Eddie Redmayne is a fantastic (no pun intended) actor but I was really gunning for a POC. It would have been a great opportunity to put in some much needed diversity into the HPverse. Oh well.[2]
Me too, not just the HPverse, would be nice to have a major cinematic universe have a PoC as one of it's main characters for once. Hopefully Marvel will do it with Spiderman at least.[3]

Noooo, I was hoping for a colored actor as we all were at one time.

Because apparently there was news that it would be set in America during the 20s? And seeing a black wizard in that time would be an interesting POV.

Ah well.[4]

Newt Scamander isn't white....

Edit: I was mistaken; it was actually his grandson described as "swarthy," which at the least means an olive skin tone and dark hair. I guess I was really just hoping this would be a chance for a new actor, who wasn't already pretty famous, because that would be more interesting to me. It also would make for an interesting dynamic in 1920s New York to have a black or non-white lead. Eddie Redmayne will probably be great, he just isn't what I pictured. I'm still really looking forward to the movie(s).[5]

During the course of this discussion, several Redditors pointed out that any users who disagreed with Redmayne being cast as Newt, and particularly those who argued for a PoC casting instead, were being downvoted en masse by the rest of the community.[6][7][8]

For more on the casting hopes and fan headcanons for Newt Scamander, see Hopes for a PoC Newt Scamander.

On the overwhelmingly white main cast of the Fantastic Beasts film, which included but was not limited to a white Newt Scamander, fandom critic Stitch made this point in a meta essay:

Here’s the thing that has everyone so very mad: It’s not historically accurate to show this super white New York at any time after like the early 1800s.

New York was a hub of immigration not just for Europeans, but for a lot of other people. These people came from all parts of the world and they & their descendants deserve to be represented as more than afterthoughts or background characters in these overwhelmingly white stories.

[...]

Why would you set a movie what was one of the most amazing periods for Black American excellence in history and then not have a single actor of color in the core cast?

Why is that a thing?
--Fantastic Beasts & Invisible Diversity in the Harry Potter Series (25 Nov 2015)

Fandom

Spoiler Warning: This article or section may contain spoilers. If this bothers you, proceed with caution.

Terminology

  • Original Percival Graves: This term refers to the fan characterisation of Percival Graves as a character separate from the Grindelwald impersonation that we see in the movies. While this character does not appear in the movies, fans have formed their own headcanons about what he might be like, and he often appears in fanworks, either pre-Grindelwald, post-Grindelwald, or in AU fanworks where he is never impersonated.
  • Grindelgraves: The fan term for Grindelwald-as-Graves, i.e. Grindelwald's impersonation of Percival Graves. Sometimes written Grindel!Graves. (Not to be confused with the pairing Grindelwald/Graves).

Notable Fanworks

J.K. Rowling Features kirikawa_juu’s Fanart on Twitter

On 22 November 2016, the day that the first Fantastic Beasts film was released in Japan, a Japanese artist named kirikawa_juu posted an anime-style digital painting to Twitter. The fanart, entitled “Hero, change” (主人公、交代) featured Harry Potter walking away with his back to the viewer, “tagging in” Newt Scamander, the protagonist of the next series of Harry Potter films.[9]

Two days later, Twitter user thatarabicwitch drew the piece to the attention of J.K. Rowling, tweeting, “i'm in love with this pic, are you?” The tweet contained a link to the image but no attribution.

Rowling herself replied just three minutes later, eager to find out who the artist was.[10] thatarabicwitch replied that they didn't know, as they had discovered it on the social networking site We Heart It.

Fans immediately rallied to hunt for the artist, and multiple links were posted to kirikawa_juu’s original Tweet as well as to the artwork on pixiv.[11][12] Rowling then tweeted again to verify that she was being given the correct name: “I'm being told the painting is by @kirikawa_juu, is that correct?”[13]

kirikawa_juu then replied to the tweet: “I'm kirikawa ,Thank you for seeing my picture. It can't get any better than this! I will be your biggest fan forever...!!! 😭”[14] Rowling responded: “Thank you for that beautiful painting. It really moved me! They're two characters that mean so much to me.”[15]

Rowling then posted the fanwork in a new tweet, complete with attribution, and Pinned it to the top of her Twitter feed.[16]

The next day, kirikawa_juu posted a Tweet with a message of thanks to the Harry Potter fandom.[17] Translated, it reads:

“I actually spoke to my sister about this, and told her that the warmth from the ‘Harry Potter’ cluster of fans is out of the ordinary.

I never thought that drawing this picture would bring such happiness and create so many replies from people I’ve never spoken to. Truly, thank you.”

(Translation taken from RocketNews24)

Fanfiction

Fanart

Fanvids

References

  1. ^ Casting decisions and announcement links on the Fantastic Beasts (film series) page on the Harry Potter Wikia.
  2. ^ Comment by jondegi, r/harrypotter, 2 June 2015 (Accessed 25 August 2018).
  3. ^ Comment by bananiepie, r/harrypotter, 2 June 2015 (Accessed 25 August 2018).
  4. ^ Comment by SilverSuicune, r/harrypotter, 2 June 2015 (Accessed 25 August 2018).
  5. ^ Comment by TosieRose, r/harrypotter, 2 June 2015 (Accessed 25 August 2018).
  6. ^ Comment by bananiepie, r/harrypotter, 2 June 2015 (Accessed 25 August 2018).
  7. ^ Comment by sylviecerise, r/harrypotter, 2 June 2015 (Accessed 25 August 2018).
  8. ^ Comment by jondegi, r/harrypotter, 2 June 2015 (Accessed 25 August 2018).
  9. ^ Tweet by kirikawa_juu, Twitter. Posted November 22, 2016 (Accessed December 26, 2017).
  10. ^ Tweet by jk_rowling, Twitter. Posted November 24, 2016 (Accessed December 26, 2017).
  11. ^ Tweet by aikajellybean, Twitter. Posted November 24, 2016 (Accessed December 26, 2017).
  12. ^ Tweet by DulcimerKJ, Twitter. Posted November 24, 2016 (Accessed December 26, 2017).
  13. ^ Tweet by jk_rowling, Twitter. Posted November 24, 2016 (Accessed December 26, 2017).
  14. ^ Tweet by kirikawa_juu, Twitter. Posted November 24, 2016 (Accessed December 26, 2017).
  15. ^ Tweet by jk_rowling, Twitter. Posted November 24, 2016 (Accessed December 26, 2017).
  16. ^ Tweet by jk_rowling, Twitter. Posted November 24, 2016 (Accessed December 26, 2017).
  17. ^ Tweet by kirikawa_juu, Twitter. Posted November 25, 2016 (Accessed December 26, 2017).