Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone was published in the United Kingdom in 1997. (Or, Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, as it's known over there.) For the past 18 years, readers and moviegoers have lived in the vividly-drawn wizarding world of J.K. Rowling's imagination, getting to know and love characters like Harry, Hermione, Ron, Hagrid, Dumbledore, Snape, McGonagall, Lupin, and many many more. So as exciting as the news of a trilogy based on Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is, there's also a sense of apprehension: it will be our first trip to this fantastical world without those beloved characters. Well, we finally know who will be replacing them, so it's time to start falling in love with the characters of Fantastic Beasts .
As part of its recent cover story on the upcoming spinoff, Entertainment Weekly has unveiled a number of exclusives, including the American word for muggle ("no-maj"), the plot of the film (Newt Scamander's magical menagerie of monsters escapes in 1920s Manhattan), and now the identity of the protagonists — and antagonists. We've known that the likes of Eddie Redmayne and Colin Farrell were going to star in Fantastic Beasts... now it's finally time to find out who they're going to be playing.
Here's how EW describes each of the main players, as well as a little Harry Potter math to help us all start familiarizing ourselves with this new cast of characters.
Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne)
"An eccentric globe-hopping English 'magizoologist' wizard who's far more comfortable around beasts and creatures than he is around other people. Comes to New York on a quest with his case full of magical habitats containing rare and endangered species."
Rubeus Hagrid + Luna Lovegood
Who loves magical creatures more than Hogwarts groundskeeper Rubeus Hagrid? The correct answer is nobody, of course. Combine his love of all things four-legged/winged/fanged with Luna's social awkwardness, and you might end up with something close to the textbook author played by this recent Oscar winner.
Graves (Colin Farrell)
"A powerful auror and the right-hand man of the American wizarding world's president."
Kingsley Shacklebolt + Percy Weasley
If Farrell's character is half as badass as auror and Order of the Phoenix member Shacklebolt, he'll be an exciting addition to the HP canon. But as the lackey to the Stateside version of the Minister of Magic, there's also a bit of Percy to this character. (The name "Graves" certainly sounds like a butler.) Will this character be comedic? Valiant? Sinister? All of the above? So many questions...
Mary Lou (Samantha Morton)
"The narrow-minded leader of the fanatical Second Salemers, a group looking to expose and destroy wizards and witches."
Lord Voldemort + Dolores Umbridge
Ugh. Mary Lou already sounds like the worst. Since she's seeking to destroy magical folk, it's safe to assume that Mary Lou is a no-maj; but her tyrannical obsession with eradicating a whole subset of the population is very Voldemort-esque. And if she's half as maniacal as the franchise's most malevolent female villain to date (sorry Bellatrix), Morton's character will be absolutely terrifying.
Credence (Ezra Miller)
"Perhaps the cast's most mysterious character. He's Mary Lou's troubled adopted son."
Harry Potter + Tom Riddle
How much do you want to bet that Mary Lou's adopted son turns out to have a... magical... secret? The whole orphan thing is straight out of Harry's playbook, but if his mom is a Voldemort analogue, then this young wizard draws parallels to the Dark Lord before he became the Dark Lord. Will Credence succumb to the dark side like Tom Riddle? Or will he ultimately rise above it?
Porpentina "Tina" Goldstein (Katherine Waterston)
"An ambitious worker at the Magical Congress of the United States of America (aka MACUSA, the U.S. version of the Ministry of Magic) who meets Newt. Tina is relegated to an office well below her abilities after she stood up for the wrong person. She longs to fight for what's right."
Hermione Granger + Nymphadora Tonks
An ambitious, intelligent young woman fighting alongside our handsome hero for the powers of good... Are we about to meet our next-generation Hermione Granger? (Or previous-generation, technically, since Fantastic Beasts is a prequel.) Also, the story of a proficient government employee demoted because of her gender has shades of Tonks' story, when she was sidelined by the Order because of her pregnancy.
Queenie Goldstein (Alison Sudol)
"Tina's younger sister and roommate, a big-hearted free-spirit 'legilimens' who can read minds."
Ginny Weasley + Severus Snape
The description of Queenie as a spirited younger sister has "Ginny" written all over it. (If that's the case, does that mean Queenie and Newt will end up falling in love?) In Harry Potter, Professor Snape is the most accomplished practitioner of legilimency and occlumency; I never would have thought to pair him with the youngest Weasley, but the combination should certainly make for a fascinating new character.
Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler)
"An optimistic No-Maj (aka Muggle) factory worker/aspiring baker who gets introduced to the wizarding world when he meets Newt."
Ron Weasley + Dudley Dursley
And last but not least, our requisite sidekick. The bumbling guy playing second fiddle to the dashing protagonist is basically Ron's role, but the fact that he's not a wizard means there's also shades of Harry's cousin thrown in for good measure.
Will any of these characters become as iconic and cherished as Harry and his cohorts? We'll find out when Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them premieres on Nov. 18, 2016.
Images: Warner Bros. Pictures