The next installment in J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series has started shooting in the U.K. Principal photography on the as-yet-untitled movie started Monday at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden outside London, where the Harry Potter movies were shot.
The studio offered new details of the upcoming film, which will see Eddie Redmayne return as magical beasts lover Newt Scamander to take on Gellert Grindelwald, the dark wizard played by Johnny Depp, who was unmasked at the end of the first movie.
Jude Law will star as future Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore in the film, a younger version of the character originally played by the late Richard Harris and Michael Gambon in the Harry Potter films. The sequel moves the main action to 1920s Paris, shortly after Scamander’s capture of Grindelwald at the end of the first installment.
Warner Bros. revealed that “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.”
Returning for the sequel are the characters Tina (Katherine Waterston), Queenie (Alison Sudol), and Jacob (Dan Fogler). But the effort to stop Grindelwald will “test their loyalties as they face new perils in an increasingly dangerous and divided wizarding world,” Warner Bros. said. Callum Turner also comes back as Newt’s brother Theseus Scamander, and Credence, whose fate was unknown at the end of the first move, makes a return, played again by Ezra Miller.
Zoe Kravitz will play new character Leta Lestrange, a fleeting glimpse of whom appeared in the first film, and Claudia Kim will also star as a young woman introduced in the film as an attraction at a wizarding circus.
The screenplay was written by Rowling, as with the first installment. David Yates returns to direct. Rowling, David Heyman, Steve Kloves, and Lionel Wigram will produce the new film with Neil Blair, Rick Senat, and Danny Cohen as the executive producers.
Other cast members include William Nadylam as a wizard named Yusuf Kama; Ingvar Sigurdsson as a bounty hunter named Grimmson; Ólafur Darri Ólafsson as Skender, who runs the wizarding circus; and Kevin Guthrie as Abernathy, who appears at MACUSA (Magical Congress of the USA).
The first Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them grossed more than $800 million globally. The new movie is expected to launch in November 2018 and will be the second in a planned five-film franchise.