Principal photography begins today on the as-yet untitled Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them sequel at Warner Bros Studios Leavesden outside London. Along with the main cast from last year’s $814M grossing franchise-starter, and previously announced additions like Jude Law as a young Albus Dumbledore, new faces will turn up in the magical universe, WB said today. The studio also offered details of the story that will see Dumbledore team with his former student Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to thwart Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp).
Set in the Wizarding World created by JK Rowling, this is the 2nd in a five-picture series with the original film’s director (and veteran Harry Potter helmer) David Yates returning.
The film expands the Wizarding World, moving from New York to London and on to Paris — and promises “some surprising nods to the Harry Potter stories that will delight fans of the books and film series.”
In her second go at scripting, Rowling wrote the screenplay for the film, which opens in 1927, a few months after magizoologist Scamander helped to unveil and capture the infamous Grindelwald in the first installment.
However, the logline reads: “as he promised he would, Grindelwald has made a dramatic escape and has been gathering more followers to his cause — elevating wizards above all non-magical beings. The only one who might be able to stop him is the wizard he once called his dearest friend, Albus Dumbledore. But Dumbledore will need help from the wizard who had thwarted Grindelwald once before, his former student Newt Scamander. The adventure reunites Newt with Tina (Katherine Waterston), Queenie (Alison Sudol) and Jacob (Dan Fogler), but his mission will also test their loyalties as they face new perils in an increasingly dangerous and divided wizarding world.”
(A bit of background on Dumbledore and Grindelwald’s complex history: As Pottermore notes, the pair started off as childhood friends, but became enemies after a duel which led to the death of Dumbledore’s younger sister, Ariana.)
Joining the above are Claudia Kim (The Dark Tower, Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Marco Polo) as a young woman first encountered as a featured attraction at a wizarding circus. William Nadylam will play a wizard named Yusuf Kama; Ingvar Sigurdsson (Baltasar Kormakur’s The Oath) joins as bounty hunter Grimmson; Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (The Missing) is Skender, who runs the wizarding circus; and Kevin Guthrie is Abernathy, the boss of MACUSA (Magical Congress of the USA).
Further previously announced cast includes Ezra Miller as Credence, whose fate was unknown at the end of the first film; Zoë Kravitz as Leta Lestrange, who was briefly glimpsed in a moving photo as a woman from Newt’s past in FBAWTFT; and Callum Turner as Theseus Scamander, a war hero and Auror, who is also Newt’s older brother.
David Heyman, Rowling, Steve Kloves and Lionel Wigram are producers, with Tim Lewis, Neil Blair, Rick Senat and Danny Cohen exec producing.
The creative team including DP Philippe Rousselot, production designer Stuart Craig, editor Mark Day, costume designer Colleen Atwood, and VFX supervisors Tim Burke and Christian Manz are all back.
Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Themwas the studio’s best performer of 2016, and proved a successful way to keep the Harry Potter money-making magic alive on screen. The film minted an estimated profit close to $165M.
WB has set a release date of November 16, 2018 for the sequel. No word yet if the scene-stealing Niffler is back.