‘Harry Potter’ Spinoff Lead Cast

The Harry Potter universe is about to get a new leading man.

Eddie Redmayne, a recent Oscar winner for The Theory of Everything, will be starring as Newt Scamander, author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in the latest series of movies to hit the Pottersphere. Harry Potter series author J.K. Rowling is penning the screenplay for this latest venture, which is due out in theatres November 18, 2016.

Redmayne was officially announced as the lead actor, setting Rowling’s Harry Potter fan base reeling in excitement. The excitement will no doubt continue to grow for some time, as three movies are planned based on Fantastic Beasts. None of the other roles, such as those for Tina, Queenie, or Jacob, have been announced, but both Rowling and director David Yates could not be more excited to see Redmayne join the world of Harry Potter officially.

“We are thrilled to welcome him into J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, where we know he will deliver a remarkable performance as Newt Scamander,” Yates said in a statement. The director not only directed the most recent Potter films, but is also on tap to direct Fantastic Beasts.

Rowling herself is also excited that the Oscar winner will be joining the world of Harry Potter, and she is excited that she will be seeing a silver screen return of the wizarding world she loved so dearly. She said in a statement that “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world. The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York, 70 years before Harry’s gets underway.”

Redmayne is likely best known for his role as Stephen Hawking, but was also most recently in Jupiter Ascending, so this will not be his first foray into the science fiction or fantasy world. At 33, he is likely one of the hottest young actors on the scene right now, so it will be interesting to see what he makes of the world of Harry Potter. The first movie in the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone(called Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in Canada and the U.K.) was released when Redmayne would have been just 19. He has several credits under his belt to date, but this will be only one of the handful of films where he has effectively led the cast.

This Harry Potter spinoff will no doubt leave fans breathless and anticipating more great things from J.K. Rowling to hit the big screen. When it finally debuts in November, 2016, there will doubtless be fans with every sort of opinion about this next work in the Potterverse.

[Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen / Getty Images for Variety]

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