Eddie Redmayne worked out a great deal to prepare for a scene in Fantastic Beasts where Newt Scamander goes shirtless to show off the scars he has gained from years handling magical animals. Unfortunately for Redmayne, the scene was deleted in the final cut of the movie.
2. Newt Scamander chose magizoology because of his interest in fabulous beasts, and at the encouragement of his mother, who was a Hippogriff breeder. In 1979, his contributions to the field earned him an Order of Merlin, Second Class.
3. For his role in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Eddie Redmayne spent time in the wilderness tracking wild animals to learn more about them. He also worked with zookeepers at a zoo in Kent to better understand how people interact with animals.
4. Gellert Grindelwald is a key character in Fantastic Beasts, and he is mentioned throughout the film as a “dangerous force on the European continent.” He’s also a central figure in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, where he is often referred to as the most dangerous dark wizard in history, prior to the rise of Voldemort.
5. J.K. Rowling specifically invented the word choranaptyxic for the film. A choranaptyxic creature is one that can shrink or grow to fit the available space. The Occamy, a winged, serpentine-bodied creature from the Far East and India, is one such creature, and it makes an appearance on screen.
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6Scamander and Hagrid
The only character from the world of Harry Potter who seems to care about animals as much as Newt Scamander is Rubeus Hagrid himself. In fact, they were both expelled from Hogwarts for a very similar reason: a mysterious accident involving a magical creature. However, though we know Hagrid to have been framed by Tom Riddle, from what we know about Newt, his expulsion may have been justified.
7. Fantastic Beasts has a connection to real American history. Many of the American laws surrounding magic are derived from the Salem Witch Trials of the 1690s. In the Magical Congress of the United States, the names of those who lost their lives during the witch trials are noted on four golden phoenix statues in the entrance.
8. In Tina and Queenie’s apartment, there are several brightly colored books on the shelf behind Jacob at dinner. The books are the seven volumes of Chadwick’s Charms, which are the American equivalent of The Standard Book of Spells used at Hogwarts.
9. Carmen Ejogo wanted her character Seraphina Picquery to be left-handed, as left-handedness has long been associated with witches and dark magic. She also suggested placing rings on her dominant hand to further emphasize her left-handedness.
10. Fantastic Beasts is the first movie in the franchise to feature a main character with no magical abilities or potential. Jacob Kowalski is regular, working-class New Yorker who comes into contact with Newt during his American adventures.
J.K. Rowling has stated that Fantastic Beasts is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter books/films. While Newt’s story in the film does take place 70 years prior to the start of Harry Potter, Rowling considers it an extension of the wizarding world.
12. The fans of Harry Potter know that the word typically used to describe non-magical people in the books/movies is “muggle,” which is why they might have been confused not to hear it used in Fantastic Beasts. Just like with their different currency, Americans also have their own term for non-magical folk: “No-Maj,” short for no magic.
13. Newt Scamander owns a magical suitcase, enchanted with an Undetectable Extension Charm, that allows him to house entire habitats and a shed for himself in the case while he traveled. In the Harry Potter series, Hermione Granger uses the same charm on her handbag, which allows it to hold dozens of large items at a time.
14. Before being offered the chance to write Fantastic Beasts, Newton Scamander worked at the Ministry of Magic. For two years he worked in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, and then another two years at the Office of House-Elf Relocation before being transferred to the Beast Division.
15. Hogwarts is unique to the United Kingdom, but it has a North American counterpart called “Ilvermorny,” which is on top of Mount Greylock in Massachusetts. Actress Alison Sudol, who played the eccentric Queenie, came up with lyrics to the school song, and there was actually a scene where Tina and Queenie sing it to Newt, but it was cut from the film.
In the scene where Newt shows Jacob his collection of fantastic beasts, there is a Grindylow in a bubble of water. That’s a nod to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, where the creatures were featured in the Triwizard tournament’s underwater challenge.
17. Magical Government works a bit differently in the United States than it does in the United Kingdom. Instead of the Ministry of Magic, there is the Magical Congress of the United States (MACUSA), led by a Wizarding President. The Congress’ headquarters is hidden inside the Woolworth Building, a classic part of Manhattan’s skyline.
18. The grey and yellow scarf that Newt Scamander wears in the final scene of the film references the fact that he was in the Hufflepuff House when he attended Hogwarts—Hufflepuff’s colors are yellow and black.
19. In an interview, Daniel Radcliffe joked that he was “jealous” of Redmayne’s costume in the Fantastic Beasts film. While Harry Potter’s costume mostly included either bulky robes or jeans and a zip top sweater, Redmayne’s character Newt has an elegant teal coat, a corduroy waistcoat, and a “snazzy” bow tie.
20. Part of the tension in the movie comes from a magical law in the United States that prohibits fraternizing between magical and non-magical persons. J.K. Rowling actually developed an extensive backstory for the law, called Rappaport’s Law after Emily Rappaport, the 15th president of the Magical Congress of the United States.
Queenie Goldstein’s character is a Legilimens—someone who can use magic to navigate the layers of someone’s mind. A Legilimens can’t simply read a person’s thoughts, but they are able to gain an extremely deep understanding of a person through the use of their magical abilities.
22. In the opening scene of the Fantastic Beasts movie, the first notes of music reference John Williams’ iconic theme from the main series before changing into an original composition.
23. The wizarding currency used in the Harry Potter books is knuts, sickles, and galleons, but apparently, even wizards have to convert their money to American currency. In the film, Americans don’t use dollar and cents, but dragots and sprinks.
24. A Niffler is a small treasure hunter that looks like a cross between a mole and a platypus and has a penchant for shiny things. In the Fantastic Beasts movie, it’s Newt’s Niffler that sets the story in motion. When the creature escapes from Newt’s briefcase, he goes on a stealing spree, and Scamander recruits the non-magical Jacob Kowalski to help him catch it.
25. Of all the fantastic beasts in the film, Redmayne has admitted that the little Bowtruckle creature was his favorite. He loved it for its clinginess, and for the emotions that it reveals with every movement. At the movie’s premiere, he actually wore a bowtruckle in his breast pocket—the small prop had been made by a fan.