Fantastic Beasts is a film series based on the book of the same name by J.K. Rowling. The first film in the series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, was released in 2016, followed by Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald in 2018. Both films were directed by David Yates and produced by David Heyman, who also produced the Harry Potter film series.
The Fantastic Beasts series is set in the Wizarding World, but takes place in the 1920s and 1930s, long before the events of the Harry Potter series. The series follows the adventures of magizoologist Newt Scamander, as he travels around the world researching and documenting magical creatures.
The first film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, is set in 1926 and follows Newt Scamander (played by Eddie Redmayne) as he arrives in New York City with a suitcase full of magical creatures. However, when some of the creatures escape and cause chaos in the city, Newt finds himself caught up in a much larger plot involving the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (played by Johnny Depp), who is seeking to take over the Wizarding World and impose his views on non-magical people.
Along the way, Newt is aided by a host of colorful characters, including the no-nonsense witch Tina Goldstein (played by Katherine Waterston), her mind-reading sister Queenie (played by Alison Sudol), and the muggle (non-magical) baker Jacob Kowalski (played by Dan Fogler). The film also features a number of magical creatures, from the mischievous Niffler to the dangerous Obscurus.
The second film, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, picks up where the first film left off, with Grindelwald having been captured and taken to Europe to face trial. However, Grindelwald soon escapes and begins recruiting followers to his cause, including the troubled young wizard Credence Barebone (played by Ezra Miller), who may hold the key to Grindelwald's plans.
Once again, Newt is called upon to stop Grindelwald, this time with the help of his old Hogwarts friend, the future headmaster Albus Dumbledore (played by Jude Law). Along the way, Newt and his friends encounter a host of new magical creatures, including the majestic Zouwu and the terrifying Matagot.
The Fantastic Beasts series has been praised for its world-building, its memorable characters, and its stunning visual effects. The series also explores themes of prejudice, power, and identity, with the conflict between Grindelwald's vision of a pure-blooded Wizarding World and Newt's more inclusive worldview serving as a central conflict throughout the films.
As of 2021, a third film in the series is currently in production, titled Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. The film is set to be released in 2022 and will once again be directed by David Yates, with Eddie Redmayne and Jude Law returning in their respective roles as Newt Scamander and Albus Dumbledore.