Fantastic Beasts is a fantasy film series set in the Harry Potter Expanded Universe (which was rebranded Wizarding World in 2016). The films are essentially prequels to the Harry Potter books and films and are exclusively written for the silver screen by J. K. Rowling. Most of the namesake fantastic beasts are based on the book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
The films take place in the 1920s and follow the adventures of British magizoologist Newt Scamander (the In-Universe author of the aforementioned book) and his friends, the regular human Jacob Kowalski and two American witches, Porpentina and Queenie Goldstein. Together with their allies and the help of some magical creatures Newt tamed, they witness and face the rise of the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald.
The series is currently intended to count five installments, with two having been released so far. It has its own character sheet.
Released and planned installments:
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (November 18, 2016)
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (November 16, 2018)
- Fantastic Beasts 3 (November 12, 2021)
- Fantastic Beasts 4 (TBA)
- Fantastic Beasts 5 (TBA)
Tropes in the series as a whole:
- Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: The magical creatures Newt keeps in his zoos come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
- Artifact Title: As soon as the first film, it's pretty clear that the namesake creatures are not the main focus. It's even more clear with the second film.
- Big Bad: The dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald is the series' main antagonist. He's enough of a threat for both the British Ministry of Magic and MACUSA to dread him, his goal is to establish wizard supremacy over muggles, and he is the archenemy of Albus Dumbledore.
- Canon Welding: To an extent. The films combine the canon of the original books with the visual aesthetic (and the odd Mythology Gag) from the movies — probably because the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films share a production designer, and the lead graphic designer of Fantastic Beasts has been with the franchise since Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
- Continuity Nod: A lot of them, the most obvious being mentions (and, as of the second film, scenes) of Hogwarts.
- Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Contrasting "Prequel" Main Character. Harry Potter is quite unacademic (including not being particularly interested in magical beasts), gregarious, and completely new to magic, and struggles with the pressure of being The Chosen One, serving as an access character and a classic hero. Newt Scamander is an adult skilled in magic and focuses on magical beasts studies, using them to solve problems, has No Social Skills, and is just an ordinary guy at the time dragged into a magical conspiracy that has nothing to do with him, because the audience already knows about the wizarding world and Newt genuinely doesn't have that huge a role in magical history.
- Experienced Protagonist: Contrary to Harry Potter, who was a young student of magic, Newt Scamander is already an experienced wizard and an adult when the series starts.
- Foregone Conclusion: No matter what happens, Grindelwald will still live in the end, as he is still alive (but locked up) as of the Harry Potter saga. Although he will eventually be brought down.
- Genre Shift: From High School in the Harry Potter films to a greater focus on Urban Fantasy.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: Most of the various namesake fantastic beasts borrow multiple features to Real Life animals.
- Period Piece: Comes with being set during The Roaring '20s.
- Predecessor Villain: Gellert Grindelwald is this to Voldemort, with his ambitions to reshape the wizarding world more to his twisted liking. And his followers are this to the Death Eaters.
- Prequel: The film series takes place several decades before the birth of Harry Potter, with some old enough characters such as Albus Dumbledore (and Grindelwald himself) showing up as their younger selves. It's essentially about the first large scale conflict in the Wizarding World with dark magic practitioners led by Grindelwald on one side and "good guys" presumably led by Dumbledore on the other. The repercussions of said conflict would lead to the rise of Voldemort and an even more devastating conflict in which Harry Potter has a central role.
- Sequel Goes Foreign: Or "Prequels go foreign", more exactly. The original Harry Potter books and films all took place in the United Kingdom, while the first Fantastic Beasts is entirely set in New York City, USA, and the bulk of the second film is set in Paris, France.
- World Building: The films aim at expanding the Wizarding World by featuring other locations and wizards than just those of the United Kingdom, which was where most of the action of the Harry Potter books and films was set, thus averting Creator Provincialism.