There was Newt before there was Harry. At least according to the “Wizarding World” timeline. The lead character of the “Fantastic Beasts” films, which are prequels to the “Harry Potter” stories and take place in the same universe, is Newt Scamander, played by actor Eddie Redmayne.
Newt and some of his numerous interactions with magical beings have been included in three films thus far, but his existence within the Potterverse’s canon predates the 2016 release of the first “Fantastic Beasts” movie. Beyond what is depicted in the films, his life’s journey also involves his job, his descendants, and surprising links to other “Potter” characters.
It’s time to learn the untold story of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” character Newt Scamander, so get your wand ready and keep your briefcase nearby. There will be spoilers for “Fantastic Beasts,” “Harry Potter,” and any information that has been formally revealed outside of the movie.
Table Of Content
- 1 Newt is an unexpected choice for a franchise hero
- 2 Newt is a bestselling author
- 3 Newt’s briefcase is not what it seems
- 4 Eddie Redmayne auditioned for another Potter character first
- 5 Newt didn’t fit in at school
- 6 Newt was almost expelled from Hogwarts
- 7 Eddie Redmayne wonders if Newt is written to embarrass him
- 8 Newt worked with Ukrainian dragons in World War I
- 9 Newt was the first wizard to ever catch Grindelwald
- 10 Newt marries Tina Goldstein
- 11 Newt is related to Luna Lovegood
- 12 Rita Skeeter writes a biography about Newt
- 13 Newt is honored for his activism
- 14 Does Newt’s book reveal that J.K. Rowling exists in the Wizarding World?
- 15 Newt has a relaxed philosophy
Newt is an unexpected choice for a franchise hero
To say the least, Newt Scamander’s route to become the protagonist is unconventional. In 2011, Warner Bros. concluded the eight-movie “Harry Potter” storyline. Despite their being no more “Harry Potter” books to be adapted for the big screen, the studio wanted to keep producing “Wizarding World” movies. The possibilities were endless when J.K. Rowling, creator of “Potter,” joined forces with them to grow the property. Where should I start?
Rowling included a list of the mandatory reading materials Harry needs to buy for his first year at Hogwarts in the book version of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander is one of the books being read. That’s about it in terms of information; it may be presumed that Harry purchases the book and consults it while studying.
The fictional textbook was originally produced in 2001 by Rowling, who used the pseudonym Newt Scamander to ghostwrite the entire book as though he had genuinely gathered the encyclopaedia of magical animals. As Warner Bros. and Rowling worked to develop the Wizarding World, this served as their starting point. According to Deadline, the main character in the “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” movie series would be Newt Scamander. It would happen as Newt works on the book’s text, decades before Harry entered Hogwarts.
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” was a labour of love on Newt’s part. Scamander claims in the book’s introduction that it “represents the fruit of many years’ travel and investigation.” He continues by outlining how the book came to be. In 1918, Scamander was hired by publisher Augustus Worme of Obscurus Books to pen the book. The following ten years saw Newt “crossing the world on holidays in pursuit of new wondrous species.” He visited five continents on his journey, studying and learning from the creatures he came across. It is revealed in the film “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” that Newt’s book was finally released in early 1927, taking place between the events of the first and second movies.
Albus Dumbledore said that a copy of the book “resides in practically every wizarding family in the land” in his endorsement of a subsequent edition. Even Muggle readers have access to a version that was presented as a fictional work.
In the first “Fantastic Beasts” movie, Newt’s conversation with American witch Tina Goldstein highlights the need for his book. When he tells Tina he’s working on a manuscript for a book about magical creatures, she asks, “Like an extermination guide?” echoing the sentiment of most wizardkind at the time. The book, according to Newt, is just the opposite. He wants to explain “why we should be defending them instead of killing them,” instead.
Newt’s briefcase is not what it seems
Unaware observers might think Newt travels light and merely carries a briefcase while he searches the world for magical creatures. But there is more to the case than first appears. In essence, Newt is a mobile refuge for every kind of magical creature you can think of.
The rules of physics disappear as Newtnters his bag, or at least take on a magical state that is difficult for us Muggles to comprehend. The interior is a vast sanctuary that is divided into many spaces to replicate the natural habitats of the creatures Newt has in his care, some of whom are his personal pets and others of which are transient residents making their way to safety. It’s more than just a pastime for Newt; he explains to his friend Jacob that his goal is to save, raise, and safeguard magical animals while instructing wizards and witches on how to do the same.
Naturally, taking care of the animals requires a lot of time and effort. Because of how meticulously Newt guards the animals, he needs Bunty to aid him with the many duties involved in keeping them fed, clean, and safe.
Eddie Redmayne auditioned for another Potter character first
Actor Eddie Redmayne attended an audition for the part of Tom Riddle, often known as the youthful Lord Voldemort, years before he was offered the part of Newt Scamander.
Redmayne said to Empire in 2016 that he “properly failed” and didn’t receive a call back.
I had always hoped throughout the years that I might get cast as a Weasley family member, but sadly that didn’t happen. Redmayne stated that he auditioned for the character while he was still in college, which would have coincided with the release of 2002’s “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” even though Tom Riddle frequently appears in “Harry Potter” films as his youthful self.
In 2018, Redmayne reflected on his disastrous audition to Jimmy Fallon. The actor recalled the “La La Land” moment where Emma Stone is singing and the casting director picks up the phone after around three and a half phrases. “That pretty much sums up my experience. Not even three sentences were written by myself.” Picture Eddie Redmayne using the basilisk torment young Harry and Ginny!
Newt didn’t fit in at school
In his book, Newt claims that his fascination with magical creatures began when, at the age of seven, he began dismembering Horklumps as a way to pass the time. In his early years, Newt studied at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, just like many other wizards and witches that live in Britain. In “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” a flashback shows Newt being assigned to Hufflepuff, a Hogwarts house where members are renowned for their loyalty. Continuing his early interest, Newt later developed a fascination for the numerous magical animals that could be found both inside Hogwarts and on its grounds. Even during vacation breaks, he stayed at Hogwarts to take care of some of them.
Despite not fitting in with the majority of students, Newt became friends—possibly even more than friends—with his Slytherin classmate Leta Lestrange. Leta (Zo Kravitz) marries Theseus, the brother of Newt, when she is an adult. Leta is killed by the evil wizard Grindelwald before they can wed, although Bellatrix Lestrange, one of Voldemort’s closest Death Eaters, is a future descendent of her family. Leta refers to the closeness of their relationship, the traits she sees in Newt, and the darker aspects of herself that she knows Newt might see when she says of him, “He never met a monster he couldn’t love.”
Newt was almost expelled from Hogwarts
We do know that Newt almost got kicked out of Hogwarts during his stay there. Despite the fact that the entire episode is never completely revealed, observant fans can piece together the narrative from brief dialogue snippets in the movies and different official series companion books. In the first “Fantastic Beasts” film, Grindelwald (posing as Mr. Graves) claims that Newt was expelled from Hogwarts for putting human lives in danger while using a beast. Scamander asserts, “That was an accident,” in defence of himself.
According to CBR, a document from the expulsion is included in the behind-the-scenes book “The Case of Beasts: Explore the Film Wizardry of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” The document outlines Newt’s “proposed expulsion” for having a Jarvey, a being that Scamander himself described as a “overgrown ferret” with the ability to speak in his textbook. Albus Dumbledore supported Newt, which resulted to his name being cleared, according to the same source, which also indicates that the expulsion was never implemented.
Leta Lestrange was involved in the incident, according to the “Magical Movie Handbook” for the first “Fantastic Beasts” movie. The book claims she “went too far with an experiment and endangered the life of a classmate. Newt took responsibility for Leta’s expulsion rather than letting his friend suffer the same fate; he was expelled in Leta’s place.” Although these two descriptions might not seem to go together, we must presume they do because the tale is never fully detailed in the films.
Eddie Redmayne wonders if Newt is written to embarrass him
Newt Scamander takes his responsibility as a caretaker of magical creatures extremely seriously, and he will stop at nothing to make sure that each one is treated fairly and according to the specifics of its species. Sometimes this entails acting in ways or making noises that, while absurd to us, are entirely normal to the magical creature in question. In all three “Fantastic Beasts” movies, we witness Newt acting in some hilarious ways in the name of taking care of magical animals.
Redmayne regularly visited “The Tonight Show” to speak with Jimmy Fallon as he promoted each of the three films. Redmayne showed Fallon one of the Newt movements that appeared in each succeeding movie during each visit. In 2016, the two engaged in a mating dance that Newt uses to persuade an Erumpant to return to his cause. In 2018, Redmayne demonstrated to Fallon how to track a creature by using a wand to listen and then immediately licking the floor. They showed how to walk with your pelvis swivelled while calming a Manticore, a lobster-like creature, in 2022.
By the third time, Redmayne told Fallon a secret “Now I feel like they purposely write something to make me seem bad in each of these movies. That’s horrifying, but amazing because I get to teach Jimmy about it, I think to myself as I read it.”
Newt worked with Ukrainian dragons in World War I
A brief exchange from the first “Fantastic Beasts” movie alludes to an unexpected period in Newt’s life. Jacob Kawolski, a Muggle, asks Newt if he served in World War I, which at the time would have been recent history, as they get to know one another in New York in 1926. On the eastern battlefield, Newt says, he collaborated with dragons from Ukraine. This brief interaction serves as both the opening and closing of that discussion, but it also begs additional queries.
Are the same issues at the heart of World War I whether it occurred more or less for wizards as it did for Muggles? Do similar nations align with one another? How do Muggle actions during the war affect the actions or results of the wizards involved, or the other way around? These questions are never replied to. As specialised as wizarding society’s knowledge of magical beings appears to be, only a select few individuals could have offered the kind of assistance needed while working with dragons. Moreover, a conflict involving dragons? Again, so many further inquiries.
Although he doesn’t know who Newt is, a man at the Magical Congress of the United States of America refers to Theseus, Newt’s brother, as a “war hero.” This suggests that no matter how Newt contributed, it wasn’t as well-known as what his brother accomplished.
Newt was the first wizard to ever catch Grindelwald
When Newt travels the United States in 1926, as we see in the first “Fantastic Beasts” film, he receives more than he bargained for. While travelling from New York to Arizona with the intention of releasing a Thunderbird in its native environment, Newt encounters the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) and ends up foiling Mr. Graves’ evil scheme. The world’s most deadly wizard, Gellert Grindelwald, is then revealed to be Graves. Newt affirms in his book that he was the first magician to ever accomplish this accomplishment. Unfortunately, Grindelwald escapes at the start of the following movie and stays at large for the last two.
MACUSA recognises the wonderful service Newt has provided them, but they also have to accept reality. Nearly all of New York City was exposed to magic during the events that preceded Grindelwald’s capture, which featured Newt’s magical creatures escaping from his suitcase. Even if Newt is able to erase every Muggle’s memory in the city, this is a major offence, and he is thus prohibited from travelling abroad.
To continue pursuing Grindelwald with a group put together by Albus Dumbledore, Newt disobeys his travel ban. They don’t succeed in capturing Grindelwald, at least not in the films that have been released thus far, but they do stop the villain from being chosen to lead the wizarding community.
Newt marries Tina Goldstein
While Newt’s life in the late 1920s is only briefly touched upon in the “Fantastic Beasts” film series, there is actually a great deal more to learn about the rest of Newt’s journey, including his marriage to Tina Goldstein. Over the course of the three movies, Newt and Tina’s relationship is perpetually will-they-won’t-they, but “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” ends on a hopeful note with their reconciliation. We can only presume that this rekindling finally results in love because Tina is identified as Newt’s wife in the “About the Author” section of his book “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”
Given that he also mentions in his book that he was born in 1897, Newt has led a very busy life. Given that the book was republished in 2017 (both in the Wizarding World’s fictional canon and in real life) with fresh, contemporary notes created at that time by Scamander, we can infer that Newt has lived for at least 121 years. It’s encouraging to know he has survived to recount numerous tales of close encounters with supernatural beings throughout the years, especially with a vocation as perilous as his. We can assume that Newt is in good health because, according to a Daily Prophet newspaper clipping that was used as a movie prop and is now on display at The Making of Harry Potter in London, a wizard can live up to 137 34 years on average.
The Wizarding World contains a variety of unique family trees. Leta Lestrange, a companion of Newt’s, is distantly related to Bellatrix Lestrange, a Death Eater who is Sirius Black’s cousin and the godfather of Harry Potter even though they are not blood relatives. Just over 60 years have passed since the events of the “Harry Potter” films occur in the “Fantastic Beasts” films. Characters from the universe’s two eras are brought together by a number of surprising links, including a well-liked Ravenclaw student and a well-known author of magical animals.
J.K. Rowling disclosed that Luna Lovegood weds Rolf Scamander, Newt’s grandson, in a 2007 webchat. Rolf is a fictional character that has never appeared in a Wizarding World narrative; instead, he only appears in the extensive backstory that the series’ creator has declared to be canon. However, even if Luna and Newt never cross paths on TV or in a book, they would probably still find each other to be delightfully quirky and grateful to be related. Since “Harry Potter” takes place in the 1990s and Newt’s book claims he has lived through at least 2017 due to his role in overseeing reprints, it seems likely that the two have already crossed paths. It’s enjoyable to picture that kind of interaction. They might talk about whether Nargles are real or not.
Rita Skeeter writes a biography about Newt
We first encounter reporter Rita Skeeter in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” as she chronicles events of Hogwarts’ Triwizard Tournament for the Daily Prophet newspaper. Rita has a way of exaggerating the truth, fulfilling her readers’ appetite for gossip to the disadvantage of people she commits libel about. Rita writes a biography of the recently departed Albus Dumbledore in the 1990s, during the events of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” Rita will eventually write a biography of another wizard, him, as Newt Scamander reveals in the 2017 preface to his book “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”
The name of Rita’s book is “Monster or Man? The Reality Regarding Newt Scamander.” Skeeter publishes lies in it that poor old Newt has to refute, among them the claims that he was a spy rather than a magizoologist and that he had an affair with MACUSA President Seraphina Piquery. In his essay, “It Would Take Months to Contradict Every Other Wild Assertion in Miss Skeeter’s Book,” Scamander deems Miss Skeeter’s allegations “absurd.” We can only speculate as to what else Skeeter gets incorrect in her book on Newt and the extent he must to to maintain his reputation given that her biography of Dumbledore is rife with fabrications. When will these publications stop focusing on Skeeter?
Newt is honored for his activism
Over the course of his career, Newt’s efforts result in actual legislation to save species. Some of these accomplishments, such as the founding of the Werewolf Registrar in 1947 and the Ban on Experimental Breeding in 1965, are listed in the “About the Author” section of his book “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” For these and other societal accomplishments, Newt received the Order of Merlin, Second Class, in 1979. Newt has undoubtedly had an immeasurable impact through the countless readers who have improved the world for magical creatures to live in because they read his book, given the widespread praise of his work within the wizarding community, its continued success across numerous generations of wizards and witches, and its continued inclusion in Hogwarts’ required reading.
In addition to standing out for animals, Newt is compassionate toward all types of people, especially Muggles. In a time when Muggle connections are contentious, particularly in the United States, Newt is open to them and thinks wizards should be free to marry Muggles if they so want. Even to the point of serving as Jacob Kawolski’s best man at his wedding, he becomes good friends with a Muggle.
Does Newt’s book reveal that J.K. Rowling exists in the Wizarding World?
It can be difficult to distinguish between fiction and reality in “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” due of its subtleties. A genuine individual wrote a phoney book that was later published under a fake name. This fake book was made into a movie, and in the movie, a character writes the book. Simple!
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is a real book that you, a real person, can actually purchase in the real world, and all proceeds go to two charities. Comic Relief makes investments in “children and young people around the world, preparing them for the future,” as stated in the book. To ensure that all children have the homes they need and the futures they deserve, Lumos aims to “change systems of care internationally.”
An unplanned namedrop makes a wild suggestion while I’m explaining this to the readers. On the book’s back, a fictional character named Albus Dumbledore provides a recommendation for “Fantastic Beasts.” Dumbledore specifically refers to “J.K. Rowling’s international charity Lumos” in his quote and still within his words. Does that imply that J.K. Rowling exists in the “Harry Potter” fantasy universe? That’s a big revelation to drop, but it’s probably there so the reader can see exactly where their money is going. she a witch? She is she a Muggle? Is she a writer? Dumbledore, tell us more!
Newt has a relaxed philosophy
Many people would be alarmed by the nature of Newt’s job and the hazardous situations he frequently finds himself in, but he lives by a reassuring mantra. Newt tells Jacob Kawolski, “My opinion is that worrying means you suffer twice,” as he and Jacob work to subdue an Erumpant in Central Park.
It is evident that Newt means what he says when looking at his antics through this prism. Newt approaches life with a sense of assurance that disallows concern. Because of it, he is able to perform incredible things like release his brother Theseus, navigate a dark cavern, and think an Obscurial can kill its own parasite. Even though these things don’t always go as planned, the fact that Newt approaches them with confidence shows that he has shut off the part of his mind that thinks they can’t happen and fears an undesirable outcome. Instead, he merely advances, and as a result, the wizarding world is improved.
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