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Film / Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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"Yesterday a wizard entered New York with a case. A case full of magical creatures, and unfortunately, some have escaped."

Newt Scamander: I'm writing a book about magical creatures.
Tina Goldstein: Like an extermination guide?
Newt Scamander: No. A guide to help people understand why we should be protecting these creatures instead of killing them.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a film released on November 17, 2016, the first of the Spin-Off film series Fantastic Beasts and the ninth film overall in the Harry Potter franchise (rebranded Wizarding World when it came out). Written by J. K. Rowling and directed by David Yates, the director of the last four Harry Potter movies.

The film follows Newt Scamander, a British wizard with a penchant for magical creatures that he keeps in his spacious briefcase, who arrives in the United States in 1926 to do a favour for a friend. Unfortunately, a chance encounter with a No-Maj leads to the two accidentally switching each other's briefcases, leading to a few of Newt's creatures wreaking havoc on Manhattan when the suitcase is opened. When Newt learns of this, he also discovers that magic-related violence has struck the city, with his creatures being seen as a scapegoat for it. With the assistance of an ex-Auror, her sister, and the No-Maj, it's up to Newt to rescue his creatures, clear his name, and uncover the source of the magical violence occurring in New York City.

It stars Eddie Redmayne, as well as Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Colin Farrell, Ezra Miller, Ron Perlman, Samantha Morton, Carmen Ejogo, Gemma Chan, Jenn Murray, Faith Wood-Blagrove, Josh Cowdery, Ronan Raftery, Kevin Guthrie, Jon Voight, Zoë Kravitz, and Johnny Depp.

A sequel followed in 2018, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and the third film, entitled Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, was released in April 2022.

Previews: Announcement Trailer, Behind The Scenes Featurette, Teaser Trailer 1, A New Hero Featurette, San Diego Comic-Con Trailer, Japanese International Trailer, Final Trailer.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them provides examples of:

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    Tropes A – E 
  • Abusive Parents: Mary Lou. She has adopted at least four children, making clear that she has done so out of zero concern for their well-being and entirely concerned with molding them into soldiers in her crusade against witchcraft in America.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The original book was a defictionalized textbook from the Potterverse, and Newt Scamander was simply the author. Now it's the start of a major film franchise with Newt as the main character and an exploration of the rise of Gellert Grindelwald. And even if one considers only the "guide to monsters" nature of the original book, the movie includes new beasts such as the Thunderbird, and the beasts we already know about are given more detail in the physical sense, since the descriptions in the book were minimal.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole:
    • The film introduces some new beasts, which makes sense... but what doesn't is that they're now missing from a comprehensive book of magical creatures that's gone through more than fifty editions. This plot hole is later closed in yet another edition of the guidebook, which explains that American beasts were discouraged from being discussed to prevent interest that would lead to breaches of MACUSA's law against breeding them.
    • Newt was never known for anything besides his studies and book, making his involvement in wizarding history a surprise. The new edition of the book also covers this, explaining that Newt's activities were made confidential but are slowly being declassified, leaving room for future beast updates as the film series develops, and explaining why we never heard of Newt being anything other than a magizoologist.
  • All Take and No Give: How the friendship between Leta and Newt worked according to Queenie.
    Queenie: She was a taker — you need a giver.
  • All There in the Manual: History of Magic in North America, a series of four short writings by Rowling herself that brief the reader on the backstory. Major details include:
    • Many Anti-Wizard No-Majs are the descendants of rogue wizards known as Scourers who blended into No-Maj society and taught their No-Maj children about the existence of wizards and witches and to hate and persecute them as revenge for being hunted after the American wizards established their current government (the Magical Congress of the United States of America, MACUSA for short) after the Witch Trials (which at least two Scourers helped instigate); as a result, the Masquerade is thinner in North America than it is in other parts of the wizarding world.
    • MACUSA outlaws relations between wizards and No-Majs after an incident where a dim-witted witch spilled the secrets of the North American wizarding world to a Scourer-descended No-Maj who shot and nearly killed several innocent No-Majs he suspected of being wizards. In addition, he had shown the witch's wand to several reporters who believed him and printed articles about it, nearly resulting in a huge break in the Masquerade.
    • The published screenplay also reveals details that didn't make into the final cut, like the fact that Leta Lestrange was really the one who was responsible for "endangering human life" with a beast. Newt simply took the blame in a gesture of misguided loyalty that got him expelled from Hogwarts and estranged things between the two.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: While Jacob is getting a look at Newt's captured Obscurus, a flying insect-creature is caught by another lizard-creature with its extensible tongue. No sooner has it gulped its prey down than another long tongue lashes in from off-camera and drags off the lizard-creature.
  • Ambiguous Ending: The very last shot, where Jacob, who had his memories of the film's events wiped from his mind, shows a glimmer of recognition upon seeing Queenie in his bakery. It's unclear whether it's simply a case of Wistful Amnesia or if his memories of her have actually returned.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: The Goldstein sisters, whose last name is common among Ashkenazim, and who live in New York City, which has a large Ashkenazi population.
  • Amnesia Missed a Spot: Memory spells used to keep non-wizards from exposing the magical world are not completely fool-proof, as a No-Maj seems to remember the events of the film in the last scene before the credits. Jacob Kowalski is shown having made replicas of the magical beasts out of pastry. He also seems to recognize Queenie when he sees her and reaches for an injury he got during the adventure. When Newt described the Swooping Evil venom, he specifically said it removes bad memories, while Kowalski's experience was generally positive.
  • Anti-Magical Faction: The New Salem Preservation Society, a group of No-Majs looking to expose and hunt down witches and wizards, are a cross between this trope and The Witch Hunter, though given that The Masquerade is still being upheld, it's a more downplayed example of this trope.
  • Apologetic Attacker: A somewhat drink-mellowed Jacob apologizes to Gnarlack in the speakeasy during the MACUSA raid, right before jacking the cackling goblin right in the face.
  • Artificial Outdoors Display: The interior of Newt's case contains several partitions enchanted to resemble the natural habitats of various creatures in his keeping, including the desert of Arizona, a grassy field, a deep forest, and a clearing in the dead of winter.
  • Artistic Licence – History:
    • The Customs official says that Newt has recently been to Equatorial Guinea. It was known as Spanish Guinea until it gained its independence in 1968.
    • Newt, Jacob, and Graves are walking around New York with their heads uncovered. And no one gives them a second look, even though it was very much improper for a man to be outside without a hat in those days. Similarly, Queenie walks around with bare legs without anyone calling the cops on her.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Henry Shaw, Jr. Perhaps he simply didn't have his public persona switched on when he insulted Credence, but the more likely explanation is that he is used to dismissing people he considers beneath him.
    • Does anyone shed a tear for Mary Lou, whose latest attempt to beat her adopted son with a belt buckle is fatally interrupted by the Obscurus?
  • As You Know: Newt tells Tina (and the audience) about the restrictive MACUSA laws regarding No-Maj/wizard interaction, with the justification that Tina is asking Newt what he knows.
  • Badass Boast: An unusual one in that it's spoken softly, phrased as a question, and uttered at a moment that most others would have a major Oh, Crap! reaction instead (he's just been unmasked and captured by MACUSA). But his tone of voice, facial expression, body language, and the snarky little smirk he gives beforehand chillingly show how extremely confident of himself he is. Also can count as Foreshadowing/Call-Forward, as in the second movie he later does escape.
    Grindelwald: [to the president of MACUSA, softly] Do you think you can hold me?
  • Bag of Holding:
    • Scamander owns a magical suitcase bewitched with an extension charm in which he transports his luggage and a number of beasts while he travels. He can hide the magical contents from Muggles by flipping a switch on the case. Tina even stuffs him in there at one point to make sure that he can't back out of his MACUSA summons.
    • The Niffler's pouch can hold an immense amount of the riches it picks up, despite the creature being smaller than a puppy.
  • Bait-and-Switch: A rather clever example: Graves is telling Credence that there is a child in his house that he wants. Clearly, the audience (and the characters) deduce this character to be the source of the Obscurus — and that this source is the little girl who has been giving sinister glances the ''entire'' film, even has a toy wand under her bed. Or not. It's Credence.
  • Ballroom Blitz: The re-election rally for Henry Shaw Jr. is a formal dinner that is interrupted by an invisible and magical menace that kills Henry Shaw Jr..
  • Beam-O-War: Tina Goldstein and Percival Graves end up in one with their wands.
  • Beam Spam: Credence getting blasted by half of MACUSA.
  • Beyond the Impossible: Newt says that Obscurials never live past the age of ten because of the wild magic within them. The one he met, for instance, died at age 8. Credence is an Obscurial who has survived into his late twenties. Graves says that is a "miracle".
  • Bigger on the Inside:
    • Newt's suitcase contains an office for him to work in and a replication of the habitats of the many magical creatures he contains in the case, with special mention to the open fields the Thunderbird has to roam in.
    • MACUSA's headquarters are far more massive on the inside than the Woolworth Building's exterior dimensions would allow.
  • Big Rotten Apple: The film takes place in New York City, and makes full use of its location to show off everything good and bad about the city that never sleeps during The Roaring '20s. Confirmed Real Life locationsnote  so far include Central Park (and the Zoo), the City Hall Subway Station, the Diamond District, and the Woolworth Building. American characters also have accurate addresses — the Goldstein sisters live on West 24th Street in Chelsea, while Jacob Kowalski is a native Brooklynite living in Manhattan's Lower East Side, which at that time was a notoriously poor area for immigrant families.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Graves/Grindelwald's plan to break the masquerade and start a wizard-muggle war is foiled, but Jacob has to be mind-wiped, forgetting everything about his adventures with Newt, Tina, and Queenie — although, thanks to Newt gifting him with some Occamy eggs, he's able to set up the bakery he always wanted — and Credence is either killed or reduced to little more than a wisp.
  • Blatant Lies: After the police arrive to find Newt and Jacob covered in jewellery outside two smashed in stores, Jacob half-heartedly tries to cover for the two of them.
    Jacob: [pointing up the block] They went that way, officers.
  • Bookends:
    • A Satchel Switcheroo between Newt and Jacob is seen at the start and ending. The first was an accident, but the second was on purpose so that Newt could give Jacob the "collateral" he needed to open up his bakery.
    • Also, both the first and last meetings between the two men ends with Jacob in possession of the egg or eggshells of a fantastic beast.
    • The movie begins with Newt arriving at New York and ends with him leaving the city.
  • Brainless Beauty: All There in the Manual:
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: A magical beast gets loose and bites Jacob, leaving Tina to furiously question Newt about the symptoms. Newt tries to reassure her that the bite is mostly harmless and lists off a series of minor symptoms of the bite, until he stutters and tries to avoid the subject before having to list the last symptom: shooting fire from the anus.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the 3D version at least, magical creatures and effects will regularly jump outside of the letterbox (the black bars on the top and bottom of the screen), creating a rather, well, magical effect.
  • Broken Masquerade: Well, cracked. Thanks to the Scourers and one particularly dim witch, there are Muggles in America who know that wizards and witches exist and want them exposed. They only make up a small portion of America's non-magical population, but are a big enough threat that MACUSA forbids relationships with Muggles.
  • Car Fu: In order to get out of a duel in stalemate, Percival Graves throws a car at Tina.
  • Category Traitor: The Scourer, wizard mercenaries who filled the gap of a wizarding government in the early years of America's magical community. Eventually, they became corrupt and began turning fellow witches and wizards over to Puritans for rewards; they even helped instigate the Salem Witch Trials. Many of them managed to evade justice by marrying No-Majs, renounced magic, and taught their children to hate magic as revenge for being driven into self-imposed exile.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Newt takes time out of his busy day to explain what Swooping Evil's venom is to Jacob Kowalski, a friendly No-Maj. The venom proves essential to wiping the memories of those who saw magic exposed in the finale.
  • Church of Saint Genericus: The Second Salemites' rhetoric, clothing, and architecture are all evocative of the Puritans, but there's nothing in the film that explicitly marks them as Christian. They never mention God or Jesus, nor are there any crosses or Bibles in their building.
  • Cleanup Crew: A group of MACUSA wizards come together and use a mending charm in unison to repair all the damage that had been done to New York during the film's climax.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • Once Graves realizes he can't beat Tina wand-to-wand, he throws a car at her.
    • Newt is no match for Graves in a straight-up Wizard Duel, so he gets an assist from the Swooping Evil.
  • Cone of Shame: A deleted scene shows one of the heads of a runespoor, a three-headed snake, wearing one of these.
    Newt: You know exactly why you're wearing it. You stop biting the others and it'll come off.
  • Continuity Nod: One of Newt's animals is a Niffler, which made an appearance in the book version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, where they were used as a game to hunt for leprechaun gold. Later on, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Lee Jordan sets one loose in Umbridge's office when the school turns to mutiny against her.
  • Crapsack World: The American Wizarding community is even more close-minded than its British counterpart, if you can believe it. (Though the extent to which this is due to social norms being vastly different 70 years before the main series isn't completely clear.) On a larger scale, Newt reveals that a number of the creatures he holds in his suitcase are on the verge of extinction from being hunted by his fellow sorcerers out of fear and greed. And this is not even getting into the ceaseless string of terrorist attacks against both the magical and non-magical communities instigated by Grindelwald and his followers.
  • Crossing The Burned Bridge: Graves spends most of the film promising Credence he'll help him escape his abusive mother and join the wizarding world if the latter helps him find the Obscurious. When Graves thinks he got what he wanted, he harshly rejects a clearly distraught Credence, calling a "squib," declaring there's no place for him in the magical world, and declaring he's done with Credence now that the other is no longer of use to him. Less than a minute later, Graves learns that Credence was the Obscurious all along... and he's pissed at him. Cue a smarmy Graves trying to backpedal and convince Credence to trust and join up with him again.
  • Culture Clash: Newt's love and fascination of magical creatures and his European upbringing put him at odds with MACUSA and American Wizarding Culture in general.
    Tina: Mr. Scamander, do you know anything about the Wizarding Community in America?
    Newt: I know you have rather backwards laws about relations with non-magic people. [Tina gives him a look] You aren't allowed to befriend them. You can't marry them, which seems mildly absurd to me.
  • Cultural Posturing: Queenie and Newt get into a brief argument over whether Ilvermorny or Hogwarts is the superior wizard school.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Gellert Grindelwald, disguised as Percival Graves, being far superior to anyone in the world as someone whose abilities are nearly equal to Dumbledore, delivers this to anyone he fights, even an entire squad of aurors, who are quickly dropping like flies despite being all of them against him alone. He's only defeated because he didn't know about the Swooping Evil that Newt was carrying. Even then, it's clear that he'll recover from that defeat very quickly (which gets confirmed in the sequel).
  • Curb Stomp Cushion:
    • Tina, who was after all a professional Auror, battles Percival Graves to a standstill; only by throwing a car at her does he get away. Considering that this is really Grindelwald himself, that's especially impressive!
    • Newt is obviously no match for Grindelwald at spells, but he still manages to make him resort to several rather flashy lightning spells that Newt is able to deflect for a while, and even after he's overcome magically, Newt survives the onslaught, eventually winning via his superior knowledge of magical beasts.
  • Darker and Edgier: In contrast to the Harry Potter books, which were a Coming of Age Story that quickly became darker, David Yates states thatinvoked this story feels less young-adult and more "grown-up" because the story follows adults rather than teens. According to David Heyman, the producer, "[the film] is very funny, with a lot of heart, but a lot of darkness," later going on to compare it to the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. And with the inclusion of bloodthirsty witch hunters, political turmoil, speakeasies and flappers, and gangsters and dangerous creatures roaming the streets, it's no wonder that the tone of the franchise remains dark. It's also darker compared to the book, which was clearly comedic in nature with Caption Humour and such. However, it is ultimately zigzagged, as while Fantastic Beasts is darker and more mature in tone than the early Harry Potter books and films, it is also more whimsical and has more comic relief moments than Order of the Phoenix and Deathly Hallows.
  • Delegation Relay: Newt gives Tina his suitcase of magical creatures to care for if he doesn't return from dealing with Credence. She then gives it to Queenie before following him, and Queenie tries to pass it off to Jacob before he stops her.
  • Desperate Object Catch: To bring the escaped Occamy under control, Tina has to catch a live cockroach thrown across the room by Jacob in a teapot. Unbelieveably, It Makes Sense in Context.Which is...
  • Dissonant Serenity: The MACUSA executioners, to say nothing of the victims they prepare by painting smilies on their souls. Subtext with hindsight of the knowledge of Graves' true identity suggests that the executioners were under the Imperius curse.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Director David Yates claims the relation between MACUSA's colour-coded Magical Exposure Threat Level monitoring device and the real-life terrorism advisory system of the United States' Dept. of Homeland Security was completely intentional.
    • Further establishing the connection between Gellert Grindelwald and Adolf Hitler, Grindelwald begins a series of small-scale attacks in the 1920s, much like the Nazis' aggressive militant assaults such as the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch.
    • MACUSA officers dole out capital punishment (in a particularly horrifying way) and their aurors have a shoot-first-ask-questions-later policy, resulting in Credence being killed just as he's starting to come down from his rampage.
    • On the topic of capital punishment, the scene where Tina is being taken to be executed, begging for her life, can bring to mind The Holocaust, given her Jewish surname and Grindelwald's parallels with Adolf Hitler.
    • Even ignoring that, the actual method of execution is also reminiscent of the electric chair, the capital punishment of choice in the United States until lethal injections became the standard, or of the practice of dunking alleged witches in the 17th and 18th century.
    • The Magical Congress's laws banning Wizards and Witches from forming relationships with No-Majs bears a strong resemblance to laws banning marriages between people of different races, which were common in the United States until the mid-20th century (although such laws were never in place in the state of New York).
    • Meanwhile, House Elves and Goblins (especially the former) seem to have much more freedom under MACUSA's laws, wearing clothes, holding a variety of jobs, and basically being able to be what they choose. A subtle yet interesting mirror into America's own struggles with various -isms across its history, able to be simultaneously quite progressive and alarmingly backwards?
    • The way American Aurors use their wands, pointing without moving them and firing spell after spell rather than waving them around like European wizardkind, is extremely similar to handguns, especially noticeable in Credence's execution.
    • The source of Obscurus — magical children suppressing their powers until they burst out destructively — sounds a lot like some types of poltergeists, like the Rosenheim poltergeist or even the infamous Bell Witch haunting, which, according to one theory, is caused if young people's latent/unconscious/suppressed psychic energy bursts out and destroys things. This could be a Darker and Edgier reference to Peeves the Hogwarts poltergeist, who doesn't exist in the Harry Potter film universe.
    • A repressed boy with a religious upbringing goes to dark, secluded alleyways to meet with a handsome man who gently caresses him while they whisper inches away from each other.
  • Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off!: Played with. Every time Mary Lou gets mad at Credence, she makes him take his belt off so she can beat him with it.
  • Dramatic Drop: When Queenie senses that Tina and Newt are sentenced to death, she drops the tray of tea things she was carrying.
  • Drugs Are Bad: In-Universe. Very little is heard about Senator Shaw's political views, but he makes it very clear that he avidly supports Prohibition and thinks alcohol should be even more restricted than it already was in the twenties (among other things, such as pool halls).
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Newt has a finished manuscript and accolades as the man who bagged the wanted fugitive Gellert Grindelwald, Tina has her respect and position restored at MACUSA, the two (awkwardly) start to hit it off, Jacob finally has his bakery business and it is flourishing, and Queenie is elated to find out that Jacob's fond memory of her isn't completely obliviated.
  • The Empath: Queenie Goldstein is a natural Legilimens, which means that she can read people's thoughts, pasts, and goals without even needing to use a wand; indeed, she has trouble not reading them.
  • Escaped Animal Rampage:
    • Newt Scamander spends a great deal of time trying to prevent this due to some of his suitcase's magical beasts having escaped confinement.
    • The Erumpent that breaks into Central Park Zoo looking for a mate causes the escape of several non-magical animals, such as a lion, an ostrich, a hippo, a seal, and a baboon.
  • "Everybody Helps Out" Denouement: After the Obscurial and Graves are defeated, the wizards of the USA use their magic to repair the damage done to New York City while Newt's beast erases all non-magical memory of that terrible night.
  • The Executioner: The MACUSA executioners magically mesmerise their victims with their own happy memories to keep them docile while they're lowered into a dissolving potion. Between their methods, their stark white-on-white uniforms, and their cheerful Dissonant Serenity while they try to kill a terrified colleague, Tina, they're very much Played for Horror.
  • Expy:
    • Queenie and Tina Goldstein seem to be based on Luna Lovegood and Hermione Granger, respectively. One is a blonde with mild Cloudcuckoolander tendencies who is actually quite capable and aware, while the other is a more grounded and super-serious brunette who is far more dangerous than she appears.
    • Newt himself shares many similarities with The Doctor, specifically his eleventh incarnation. He is an All-Loving Hero with fluffy hair and an affinity for bow ties and tweed jackets, keeps Admiring the Abomination, is in possesion of a suitcase that is Bigger on the Inside, and brings entirely normal, non-magic people with him on dangerous adventures. He also uses False Reassurance a lot, with predictable effects.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Although the end of the film jumps ahead one week, the rest of it takes place over two days.
  • Eye Take: Newt Scamander does a hilarious one upon discovering his niffler posing as a mannequin inside a jewellery store. You can practically hear him thinking "Really?!?"

    Tropes F – J 
  • Fake Period Excuse: Queenie smuggles Newt, Tina, and Jacob out of MACUSA headquarters by claiming she's feeling unwell and taking the rest of the day off. When her supervisor asks what she's carrying in Newt's suitcase, her response is "lady things." She even invites him to take a closer look, but he, stammering, declines and sends her on her way.
  • False Reassurance: "There's absolutely nothing to worry about," says Newt, as he sticks Jacob in a helmet and body armor. Jacob lampshades this, asking if anyone ever believes that.
    Newt: Well, my philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice.
  • Fantastic Nature Reserve: Newt's suitcase, Bigger on the Inside, has several compartments that resemble the native habitats of all the fantastic beasts he keeps in it.
  • Fantastic Noir: The interactions between MACUSA and the heroes play off very much like a noir movie, down to the heroes temporarily seeking refuge in a goblin-owned speakeasy. For added points, the collection of Aurors who execute Credence and try to do the same to Graves/Grindelwald point and fire their wands as if they were handguns, rather than waving them around like the British wand usage.
  • Fantastic Racism: Because of the Anti-Magical Faction advocating for their destruction, American wizards are very suspicious of normal non-magic folk to the point you can't even befriend a Muggle, let alone marry one.
  • Fantasy Americana: Wizards and magical beasts mucking it up in Roaring Twenties New York. Not to mention that magic in the United States has its roots in Native American culture.
  • Fat and Skinny: The two male leads of the movie, the slender Newt and the chubby Jacob, form a duo like this.
  • Fictional Currency: The dragot, America's wizarding currency, makes its Potterverse debut (not counting a few brief mentions in Pottermore).
  • Fictional United Nations: In response to the murder of a No-Maj/Muggle, a collection of magical world leaders, including the British Minister of Magic, convene at the Magical Congress of the United States to discuss the matter and how to preserve The Masquerade.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Demiguises rely on probability for sight and can see the future. The Demiguise that Newt tries to recapture (along with an Occamy) realises that a Christmas ornament will startle it and potentially strangle and likely kill Jacob. The starting event happens, but it saves Jacob after the Occamy gets startled.
  • Food Porn: The meal prepared, or rather conjured by Queenie looked very decadent and appetizing. Especially with the strudel for dessert, which definitely helps seal the deal of Jacob becoming enamored with her.
  • Foregone Conclusion:
    • We know from the introduction of the book that Tina will become Newt's wife.
    • Grindelwald will inevitably escape from custody and continue his reign of terror in Europe before he is finally defeated by Albus Dumbledore.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • A lot on Graves, who the movie alternatively sets up as either a Red Herring or merely a follower of Grindelwald, but is still shown to be a formidably skilled wizard, even capable of doing strong wandless magic. Turns out he is Grindelwald himself. Note the pendant that he gives Credence. It bears the symbol of the Deathly Hallows, which was Grindelwald's sigil during the height of his power. Also, the first shot of Grindelwald in the prologue and the first shot of Graves in the movie proper, back of the head with the head slightly turned, are nearly identical. Even their hairstyles are similar.
    • The fact that Credence was really the Obscurial was foreshadowed pretty early. Note that the first victim was the senator and presidential hopeful Henry Shaw — who brushed the family off and insulted Credence early on.
    • Tina notes that while Mary Lou beats all her adopted children, she seems to hate Credence the most (in fact, the reason Tina was demoted from being an Auror is because she defended Credence from Mary Lou's abuse with magic). Hmm, wonder why that could be? Could it be that it's because he's the only one of her kids she knows is of magical descent?
    • Early on, Newt tells Jacob how the eggshells of a creature called an Occamy are made of silver. At the very end of the movie, Newt gives Jacob some to use as a deposit for his bakery.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Newt and Tina are the introverts, and Jacob and Queenie the extraverts. Relatively to each other, Tina is more of a thinker and for justice Melanchonic, and Newt is more of a feeler and for mercy Phlegmatic, and he fits the "humble, thoughtful, compassionate" character. Queenie is a charming and quirky Sanguine, Jacob is a hard-working and goal-oriented Choleric.
  • Frame Break: In the IMAX 3D release, magical elements such as the creatures and spells have a tendency to move outside the letterbox bars while everything else remains contained within the main screen.
  • Freaky Is Cool: How Jacob reacts to Queenie after getting over his initial embarrassment that her ability to read minds meant she knew what he was thinking when he first saw her. It's because of this that they quickly bond.
  • Freudian Slip: During Newt's and Tina's farewell, Newt slips up and immediately realizes what it sounded like, judging from his (moreso than normal) awkward expression afterwards.
    Tina: If you haven't said all those nice things to Madam Piquery about me, I wouldn't be back on the Investigative Team now.
    Newt: Well, I can't think of anyone I'd rather have investigating me.
    (cue awkward Oh, Crap! expression]
  • Funny Background Event: Inside Newt's suitcase, giant beetle-like creatures are seen making sculptures out of dung while Newt gives Jacob Kowalski a tour.
  • Gas Leak Cover Up: Double Subversion. A cop tries to claim the destruction at Kowalski's apartment is the result of a gas leak, only for all the witnesses to berate him and point out the lack of gas's scent. One man steps up to say that they all saw a magical beast cause the destruction, but before he can, Newt casts a spell over all of the witnesses and they frantically claim in agreement that it was a gas leak that caused everything.
  • Gentle Giant: Most of Newt's large creatures are quite benign and non-malicious, even though they cause destruction due to their animalistic behaviour and instincts, such as the female Erumpent, Frank the Thunderbird who can detect danger (though it's a bit reserved with strangers), or the escaped Occamy who can change its size depending on the place it establishes.
  • Glamour Failure: Tina and Newt are led off to be executed while in MACUSA, which involves stepping into a pool that hypnotizes people by acting similar to a Pensieve and showing them warm memories before disintegrating them. Tina, who goes first, is shaken out of hers by her memories of seeing Credence being beaten and abused by Mary Lou, which shocks her enough to free her.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Subverted with the Goldstein sisters — Queenie's femininity and (seeming) flightiness might lead one to peg her as the beautiful sister, while her more practical, serious, career-oriented Tina can seem like the smart one. However, the sisters are very close, and both are intelligent witches.
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: When Graves suggests that Newt brought an Obscurius into New York to weaponize its mass destructive abilities, a horrified Newt responds that it's a harmless (when it doesn't have a host) parasitical being that killed a child... why on earth would he want to weaponize it?
  • Halfway Plot Switch: When Newt gets arrested right at the halfway point in the movie, the plot's focus becomes the obscurial plot and Graves becomes more openly antagonistic.
  • Head-in-the-Sand Management:
    • To President Picquery, Newt's magical creatures are the obvious culprit for the recent mayhem, and she brushes off his diagnosis of Henry Shaw, Jr.'s wounds as from an Obscurial, because "there are no Obscurials in America!" No-one's ever seen one in a hundred years, therefore, it's not possible for them to exist. Flawless logic, right?
    • Likewise her scornful retort to a German magical official that "I will not be lectured by the man that allowed Gellert Grindelwald to slip through his fingers!" As it turns out, she will later be lectured as the woman who employed a disguised Gellert Grindelwald as her Head of Magical Law Enforcement for who knows how long, wreaking all kinds of havoc and having who knows how many innocent people executed, under her very nose.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Many MACUSA Aurors wear brown leather Badass Longcoats.
  • Hilarity in Zoos: A female Erumpent that escaped Newt's case enters the Central Park Zoo looking for a mate, breaking the cages and releasing a number of animals until Newt and Jacob manage to capture her.
  • Historical Fantasy: This movie lovingly showcases J. K. Rowling's magical community in 1920s New York, putting the movie squarely between this and Urban Fantasy.
  • Historical In-Joke:
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters:
    • A sentiment expressed by Newt. He's not worried about his creatures hurting people. He's worried about people hurting his creatures.
      Newt: We're going to recapture my creatures before they get hurt. They are currently in alien terrain, surrounded by millions of the most vicious creatures on the planet — humans.
    • The two worst threats in the film are not the creatures, but an abusive woman who beats her adopted son, and a dark wizard who manipulates said son whose repressed magic creates an extremely destructive being.
  • Human-Focused Adaptation: The original Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was a handbook centered around all kinds of magical creature, while this film centers around the author of said book.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Being the second greatest wizard in the series, Grindelwald gives off the appearance of this even while holding back. Literately no-one but Newt even comes close to being an actual threat to him and even Newt is still very obviously outclassed. He is only able to capture Grindelwald due to a surprise attack utilizing an area of magic most power-seekers underestimate and ignore, magical creatures.
  • I Have No Son!: Mary Lou, to Credence as he whimpers for forgiveness:
    Credence: I'm sorry, Ma...
    Mary Lou: I'm not your mother. Your mother was a wicked, unnatural woman!
  • I'm Standing Right Here: While Tina is lecturing Newt about the differences in British and American magical culture:
    Newt: ...that you can't marry them, which seems mildly absurd to me...
    Tina: [motions to Jacob] Who's gonna marry him?
    [Jacob, despite suffering from his Murtlap bite, gives her a Death Glare]
  • Impersonation-Exclusive Character: There's nothing really known about who Graves is/was, since we only know him as being impersonated by Grindelwald. He's apparently from a very prestigious family in the American wizarding community and is/was a very powerful wizard, but nothing is confirmed beyond that. It's unclear if he's still alive, how long the impersonation had been going on, and if Credence had first made contact with him before the impersonation began.
  • Implausible Deniability: Newt manages to catch the Niffler, but in the process, he and Kowalski get surrounded by police while covered in the jewellery the Niffler stole from a store right next to them. Kowalski half-heartedly points down the street and says "They went that way," as one of the windows of the jewellery store shatters behind him.
  • In Name Only: The film is this relative to the book that it's inspired by. While the book is reference material about the titular fantastic beasts, the movie is a narrative of that reference book's author and an adventure he had before completing his book. However, it's justified in that if the film were a direct adaptation of the source material, then the film would just be a fictitious documentary about magical animals in the Harry Potter universe. On the other hand, a fictional "making of" film of the Fantastic Beasts documentary or book could have also been done with human characters. Imagine a Steve Irwin-esque Newt travelling the world in search of fantastic beasts.
  • Internal Homage: This isn't the first time in the Wizarding World that a lollipop has been a target of the invisible.
  • Ironic Echo: Early on, while Jacob is trying to look/sound impressive to Queenie while he and Newt are staying in the Goldstein Sisters' apartment, Queenie asks him if there are a lot of no-majs like Jacob, and he replies "there are none like me". Later on, before he subjects himself to his Victory-Guided Amnesia, he tries to let Queenie go by saying there's lots of guys like him, to which she replies with the same line back at him.
  • Irony:
    • Despite being in a country famous for its democracy, MACUSA are even more draconian than their European counterparts, to the point of punishing their highest crimes with execution rather than imprisonment.note  Political commentary about how people view the states aside.
    • As this movie is meant to be Newt's story before writing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, not only are most creatures in the book not present (which will hopefully be further addressed in the sequels), but this film also contains animals that aren't in that book at all for reasons unknown in-universe, as Newt already showed plenty of knowledge about them, like the Thunderbird's natural habitat where you could find it. Then again, the original book never states that it's the complete guide (it was even missing animals mentioned in the main series by that point, such as Boggarts), and Dumbledore's foreword indicates it could simply be abridged despite containing Harry and Ron's doodles. Backing this up is how short nearly every entry is apart from the entries for the dragon, quintaped, and lethifold. The true irony might just be the fact that, after seeing Newt's personality, that he never contested the MoM rating tier, since the harmless ones (such as the Horklump) are rated as "Boring".
    • Graves accuses Newt of conspiring to break the masquerade and instigate a war between the wizards and the No-Majs, which is exactly what Grindlewald (as Graves) is trying to do.
  • It Wasn't Easy: When Newt, Tina, and Jacob try to catch Newt's Demiguise (with the powers of Futureshadowing and Invisibility), Tina wonders aloud how Newt managed to capture it the previous time. Newt Scamander replies, "With immense difficulty," which doesn't answer Tina's question, as she was hoping for a repeatable plan.
  • It Was with You All Along: A possible case with Jacob. He needs money to open a bakery, but has neither the money nor valuables to secure a loan. Then we see there seems to have been a hidden space behind his grandmother's portrait, and the Niffler seems to have found something there.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: The bank manager is right to ask that Jacob offer collateral to justify the bank taking on the risk of his business loan. His condescending attitude, however, was uncalled-for and even a bit unprofessional.
  • Jesus Taboo: The Barebones are clearly based on Puritans and fundamentalist Christians but they never mention God, Jesus, or anything explicitly Christian.

    Tropes K – O 
  • Landmarking the Hidden Base: MACUSA's headquarters are hidden in the Woolworth Building in Manhattan.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: While the Obliviate Charm is an old mainstay of the franchise, the movie's climax takes memory erasure to a new level. Newt has his Swooping Evil's venom blown into a storm by Frank the Thunderbird so it can rain on the city and erase the memory of magic from every No-Maj witness in the city.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: When Credence turns into his Obscurus form, he brutally kills Senator Henry Shaw, Jr., in retaliation for insulting him earlier that day.
  • Laugh of Love:
    • Queenie tends to laugh when she's with Jacob, which he tends to reciprocate. A particularly touching one occurs at the end of the film, when she giggles softly upon seeing Jacob at his bakery after he's had his mind wiped, and he grins in response, indicating that he remembers her in some capacity.
    • Tina also tends to laugh when she's with Newt, at least after she eventually warms up to him, particularly when he offers to give her a copy of his book in person at the end of the film. The book's introduction reveals that she's his future wife.
  • Leitmotif: "Hedwig’s Theme", the main theme of the Harry Potter film series, is reprised several times throughout the film's score: most notably when Jacob begins to realize that magic exists, after he and Newt apparated together for the first time, and when the duo later track the Erumpent down to the Central Park zoo so they can capture it.
  • Magic Map: As the Obscurus is on a rampage, MACUSA officers are watching a map of Manhattan which shows its progress as a white light.
  • Magic Missile Storm: A group of twenty or so Aurors end up simultaneously blasting offensive spells at a single target in the climax. The combined force of the spells is enough to obliterate a sentient storm of dark magic; however, trying the same thing on the magical terrorist Grindelwald fails because he's skilled enough to block each of their spells with individual Shield Charms.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Gnarlack persistently mispronounces Scamander's name — he puts the accent on the first syllable instead of the second, as if to rhyme with "scavenger".
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: In the US, wizards are forbidden to marry or even befriend No-Majs. It's already been established in previous installations of the franchise that the UK does not have similar restrictions; indeed, Mr. Weasley states that wizards and witches would have died out if they hadn't married Muggles.
  • Morphic Resonance: One clue pointing to Graves being Grindelwald in disguise is that they have similar "short back and sides" haircuts.
  • Muggles: Featured prominently, this being a film set in the Potterverse. However, in North America, they're actually called "No-Majs", because they have no magic.
  • Muggles Do It Better: When Queenie is having trouble opening a locked door with a variety of spells due to comprehensive counter-enchantments on the lock, Jacob simply kicks it open.
  • Muggle–Mage Romance:
    • MACUSA bans such relationships because of Scourer descendants such as the New Salem Society. Newt, being from the UK where there are such no restrictions, finds it absurd.
    • Played straight with the attraction between Jacob and Queenie.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: There is a slow-motion scene of someone diving to catch a cockroach with a teapot.
  • Mundane Solution:
    • After two standard opening spells fail to unlock Graves's spell-protected office, Queenie sarcastically asks Jacob if he knows a spell that can work in this situation. He responds by kicking in the door.
    • For the bigger creatures he has to capture, Newt forgoes using magic directly, preferring to use their natural traits and weaknesses.
    • When it comes to stopping Credence's Obscurus rampage, no amount of magic seems able to work for long. What finally gets through is Tina talking him down from the edge... which is then tragically negated when The Cavalry arrives and kills him with a barrage of lethal spells.
    • After an entire film of creatures escaping out of Newt's case by various means, the final scene shows him having tied it up with string.
    • In general, the wizarding world is shown to focus on magical solutions to the point of neglecting physical defences.
  • Mundanger: An ordinary, abusive mother is the cause of much darkness here.
  • Myopic Architecture: Good idea: enchanting your lock to be immune to all magical forms of unlocking. Bad idea: leaving the frame weak enough to simply kick it open (although the door at least had an alarm on it).
  • Mythology Gag: This film is chock-full of references to both the main canon and the film adaptations, to the point where it has its own page.
  • Never My Fault:
    • The Scourers, who started the Salem Witch Trials, train their children to hate and fear wizards and witches because they were driven into exile after the Trials ended. They don't seem to believe they had any part of it, even though they were the ones that started the trials in order to settle personal vendettas and were the ones that allowed it to grow into hysteria.
    • This also applies to MACUSA, who have Tina and Newt arrested for supposedly not immediately coming forward that there were magical creatures loose in New York, when Tina had attempted to do that in the beginning of the movie, only to be brushed off because there were other problems.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer seemed to imply that Shaw's election campaign would play a much larger part in the movie than it does.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Newt's lax security with his suitcase and a poorly timed Satchel Switcheroo means a bunch of magical creatures escape, which has major repercussions.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: When Newt finds the niffler at a jewellery store, it tries to pose as a display dummy. Newt isn't fooled.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Credence devastates a wide swath of New York City in his final rampage, but MACUSA only holds him responsible for killing Shaw, and everything gets put back to normal after a mass memory charm and some repair work. Evidently his gigantic building-shredding cloud of death only damages property.
  • No Ontological Inertia: People inside their homes are shown to be affected by Frank's amnesia-inducing rain as well as the people outside. The film attempts to handwave this by showing them drinking glasses of water or taking a shower, but this implies that the Swooping Evil's toxin has not only instantaneously travelled from rainwater into the city's water main, but also into glasses of water that were already poured before the rain started. note 
  • No Party Given: It's never stated what political party the Shaws belong to in Henry Jr.'s senatorial campaign. However, if the political environment of the Wizarding World is roughly similar to ours, they can be inferred to be Democrats. Henry Sr. is analogous to William Randolph Hearst who was a Democrat at the time. In the 1926 midterm elections, Democrats also carried the ticket in New York, including a flipping a senate seat from a Republican.
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever got Newt kicked out of Hogwarts involved an accident with a dangerous beast.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Tina gets brushed off by the Aurors and President when she tries to turn in Newt for releasing magical creatures in New York. No-one ever tries to follow up with her about this man who she brought in either. Graves does visit her later in her office and opts to have a look inside Newt's suitcase to see the evidence — problem is, thanks to the Satchel Switcheroo that took place earlier, all they find is a bunch of Kowalski's pastries, and he dismisses the case. She even gets admonished for not reporting it sooner when she finally gets to reveal Newt's actions in an official setting.
  • Not What It Looks Like:
    • The first No-Maj building Scamander enters in New York City is a bank, and the Niffler is quite happy about it as it escapes. So happy that Scamander has to chase it with Jacob all the way down to the bank's vault, which Scamander opens. Then the alarm rings and the bank's director catches them "in the act". Scamander then has no choice but to Full-Body-Bind Curse the director and flee with Jacob using the Apparition spell.
    • The police arrive to find Newt and Jacob thoroughly draped in jewellery after Newt's madcap chase to recapture the Niffler trashes two jewellery stores.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Farrell's American accent is quite good, but his normal Irish one very noticeably comes out when he says, "honoured among wizards."
  • Ominous Crack: When Newt chases his Niffler around the jewellery shop, they both clamber up a display case, which tips over and lands propped on the window glass. Newt and the Niffler both watch, wide-eyed in alarm, as the glass slowly cracks, to dump them both out onto the sidewalk.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: The re-election rally for Henry Shaw Jr. starts to go wrong when spooky sounds begin to emerge from the pipe organ in the balcony of the event space... it goes downhill from there.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Everybody recognizes the name Newt Scamander. Not many seem to know him as Newton Artemis Fido Scamander.
  • Open and Shut: The door-opening Alohomora spell gets an interesting twist here: it can even open a locked No-Maj bank vault, but the process is complicated enough that it takes a while. This is consistent with how Alohomora is rendered in the movies, as Hermione's use of it in Philosopher's Stone physically moved the bolt on the door. A bank vault simply has more mechanisms to affect.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: Seraphina Picquery, president of the Magical Congress of the United States of America during The Roaring '20s, is a Twofer Token Minority, being both African-American (a good 88 years before there was a black No-Maj president) and female (which still hasn't happened in the mundane Presidency). However, her status as a President Minority in the magical community only applies to her skin colour, as there have been female MACUSA presidents since the 18th century. She also overturned the laws regarding Prohibition within the magical community because being a witch or wizard was tough enough as it is. Overall, she was certainly quite a different character from her No-Maj contemporary.

    Tropes P – T 
  • Pensieve Flashback: The Magical Congress of the United States uses magic that resembles the Pensieve from Harry Potter (they are in the same universe, after all) as part of their execution process. The person to be executed has their memories extracted from their brains and put into a pool, which displays their fondest memories in order to keep them calm enough to allow the execution to go off without a hitch.
  • Person of Mass Construction:
    • Newt uses Reparo to reconstruct an entire demolished apartment in the time it takes someone to walk up three flights of stairs.
    • At the end of the movie, wizards are shown repairing entire chunks of New York that were ripped apart during the chaotic finale.
  • Pet Gets the Keys: While Newt's bowtruckle companion, Pickett, doesn't outright bring him a set of keys, he does repeatedly pick locks to get Newt out of handcuffs.
  • Pet the Dog: Graves (Grindelwald) has several moments in which he is kind to Credence, particularly healing wounds caused by his abusive guardian and sharing a Headbutt of Love. He's clearly using Credence to his own ends, but it's possible that there is some genuine affection behind his actions.
  • Police Are Useless: Downplayed. It's not that the NYPD is incompetent; they're just way out of their league when facing a force of dark magic.
  • Post-Modern Magik: Relative to the time frame and their UK counterpart, MACUSA is not shy from adopting mundane techs for their own use. Compare, for instance, the Ministry of Magic's traditionalist style of using feather pens and scrolls to MACUSA's use of animated mechanical typewriters for writing things.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: That's what an Obscurus is. It's what happens when a magical child actively suppresses their magic because of fear or abuse. It's not actively evil, it's just scared and hurt after a lifetime of pain.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: After listening to Graves try to recruit him one last time upon realizing that Credence, not Modesty, is the Obscurial AND that he can control his Obscurus, a bitter Credence is the portrait of Tranquil Fury as he replies "I don't think I want to, Mr. Graves..." Cue New York on the business end of a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown...
  • Prequel: The movie is set roughly seventy years before Harry sets foot in Hogwarts.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Tina Goldstein was demoted from Auror to the Wand Registration desk apparently for incompetence, but actually for embarrassing the government by magically assaulting an abuser in front of a large crowd of No-Maj witnesses.
  • Red Herring: Newt's Obscurus was taken from a 8-year-old girl who was suppressing her magic and there is no known case of an Obscurial living past the age of 10, so clearly 10-year-old Modesty, who recites Mary Lou's creepy witch-burning rhymes, witnessed Sen. Shaw bully her brother, hid a toy wand, and had no contact with wizards other than being taught to hate them, should be the one, right? It's actually Credence, who's older, male, and had been Graves' contact for a while.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Here we have two sisters, vivacious and bubbly Queenie and the stoic, reserved Tina. Goes along with their fashion choices, Queenie predominantly in pink and her sister in blues and grays.
  • Relationship Reset Button: Jacob and Queenie spend most of the movie flirting, but magical law requires that he have his memory erased at the end. She visits him in his new bakery at the very end, suggesting that their relationship might continue in some form.
  • Retcon: In the book's foreword, Newt is stated to be a graduate of Hogwarts. Here, he was expelled. He may have gotten his OWLs, but been expelled during his NEWT years.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • During the emergency meeting at MACUSA headquarters, the otherwise-composed Graves is shown briefly fidgeting out of concern when Grindelwald's acts of violence are mentioned. Knowing the ending puts this scene in a completely different light.
    • When Graves is interrogating Newt at MACUSA, the first thing he asks is why Albus Dumbledore is so fond of him and then asks him what he knows about the Obscurus. He's testing to see if Dumbledore sent Newt to America to stop Grindelwald, a.k.a. himself.
    • The face of a wanted poster in Gnarlack's speakeasy is torn off. It's Grindelwald's, revealing that he's the blond wizard at the beginning of the film and hiding that he's played by Johnny Depp.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Several of the magical creatures, especially the Niffler, a platypus-like creature with the tunnelling propensity of a mole and an attraction to shiny things; and the bowtruckle, a sociable stick insect not unlike a tiny Groot.
  • The Roaring '20s: The film's time period, seventy years before the start of the main series. For context, Harry's adventures happened during the 1990s. Details on what characters will be seen are up in the air, but this places it within the lifetime of Dumbledore, Grindelwald, Nicholas Flamel, and other long-lived characters who were present in Harry's time. It also takes place the very year Tom Marvolo Riddle, a.k.a. Voldemort, was born (1926). Dumbledore is mentioned as part of Newt's backstory, while Grindelwald's campaign in Europe is mentioned as occurring simultaneously with the events of the film. Fittingly, period suits and hats, art deco styles, jazz music, and even a speakeasy (run by a goblin) abound.
  • Running Gag:
    • The latches on Newt's case keep opening of their own accord, sometimes with disastrous consequences. By the end of the movie, he's tied it shut with rope as an added precaution.
    • Newt's bad attempts at coming up with a cover story for why he's actually in New York and no-one believing him.
  • Salem Is Witch Country: There were at least two Scourers among the judges that instigated the Salem trials to settle their personal feuds. This led to several real witches being killed alongside innocent No-Majs that were caught up in the hysteria.
  • Satchel Switcheroo:
    • Newt's suitcase full of magical creatures is accidentally swapped with Jacob Kowalski's pastry suitcase, leading to some the magical beasts being released into the open after Kowalski opens it.
    • Done again deliberately at the end — Newt gives an oblivated Jacob a suitcase full of occamy eggshells that are made of silver, providing him with the collateral needed for the bank loan for his baking shop.
  • Saved by Canon: Porpentina Goldstein and Newt Scamander, given that they go on to get married, have a baby — and a grandson, Rolf, who will go on to marry none other than Luna Lovegood — and retire in 1979 with three Kneazels (not to mention that the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them book's canonical publication date is one year after the film takes place).
  • Saying Too Much: When interrogating Newt, Graves brings out the Sudanese Obscurus from Newt's case as "Evidence" of his plotting to bring down The Masquerade. Newt is adamant that he keeps it for study, and that without a host, it can't hurt anyone. What Graves says next tips Newt off that there's something not quite right about the Auror...
    Graves: So it's useless without the host.
    Newt: "Useless"? "Useless"? That is a destructive magical parasite that killed a child. What on earth would you use it for?
  • Secret Compartment: Newt's magical suitcase is a supernatural variant of it. It is Bigger on the Inside and houses a Pocket Dimension filled with magical beasts of all kinds. But with a flip of a switch, it can instead open like an ordinary suitcase filled with Newt's things like a Hufflepuff scarf in case he needs to go through security.
  • Sentenced Without Trial: The head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement (or rather, the Big Bad impersonating him) attempts to dispose of Newt and Tina by giving them a death sentence for a trumped-up charge in a private meeting, handing them straight to the executioners, and informing the President after the fact.
  • Separated by a Common Language: There's even different lingo for American wizards, who call Muggles "No-Majs". At the time the film is set, "Muggle" was slang for marijuana joints in the US which is likely why a new term was created.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: The first time a film in Harry Potter continuity is set primarily in the US.
  • Sequel Hook: Plenty:
    • The film takes place in the Roaring Twenties. Gellert Grindelwald, the Greater-Scope Villain, was not defeated until the forties... and the film saga is slated to end in 1945, the year of his defeat.
    • Obviously, Porpentina and Newt will get together at some point.
    • The plot hook of Newt knowing Leta Lestrange is not filled, implying that it may be a plot hook later on.
    • Modesty has a wand, was possibly descended from wizards or witches, and her fate was not shown.
    • A small orange wisp of Credence's Obscurus floats away after Grindelwald is escorted out of the subway. A Deleted Scene shows Credence on the same boat as Newt leaving America, but it was cut because Word of God said it felt too much like a cheap Cliffhanger, though Credence being alive and well is still canon.
    • This movie takes place only one or two months before the birth of the wizard who will become Voldemort. This may be a coincidence — but, given that this is a J. K. Rowling work, is it likely to be coincidental?
    • Newt's many bad attempts at trying to come up with a cover story for why he's actually in New York that no-one buys imply that the real reason he's there will be revealed later.
    • Who is Newt's mysterious friend?
  • Shake Someone, Objects Fall: Newt holds his Niffler upside-down and shakes it in a bank vault, causing several hundreds of pounds of gold and jewellery to fall out of its pouch.
  • Shaky P.O.V. Cam: As Director Graves investigates a collapsed building, an invisible creature tears through the streets and the camera cuts to its perspective as it flies up into a building before flying away.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: It's the Roaring Twenties! Natty suits, badass longcoats, and fedoras abound. This also emphasizes an important difference between American and British wizards — American wizards try to blend in with No-Majs and wear contemporary fashion, unlike British wizards who presumably all wear robes (in the books) or dress like Charles Dickens characters (in the movies).
  • Shout-Out: Newt's personal philosophy of "worrying means you suffer twice" echoes the Buddhist parable of the two arrows.
  • Sibling Team: Two of the heroes, Queenie and Porpentina Goldstein, are sisters.
  • Spinning Paper: Covering the fight against Grindelwald.
  • Stumbled Into the Plot: Jacob Kowalski, a non-wizard, gets involved in magical shenanigans as he was (un)lucky enough to bump into Newt.
  • Story-Breaker Power: Grindelwald is the main antagonist of the film, as revealed in the end, and being that he is the second greatest wizard in the entire series, just barely surpassed by Dumbledore, it is required that he doesn't use the Elder Wand, instead just Graves' wand, and has to suppress his abilities in order to give the heroes even a slight fighting chance against him. Even then it's only due to surprise attacks that he is defeated, demonstrating exactly what happens when someone who is around Dumbledore's level fights anyone, even groups of trained wizards and witches.
  • Teleport Spam: Like most of the David Yates Harry Potter films, wizards use rapid Apparition to catch their opponents off-guard and avoid powerful attacks. This is especially true for Newt in the climax, who has to Apparate across rooftops to keep up with the action and then across a subway to avoid massive spells thrown his way.
  • Tempting Fate: Tina, when she sarcastically asks Newt who would marry Jacob. The connection between Queenie and Jacob is almost Love at First Sight...
  • That Came Out Wrong: This exchange as Newt and Tina are saying goodbye:
    Tina: Listen, Newt, I wanted to thank you.
    Newt: What on earth for?
    Tina: Well, if you hadn't said all those nice things to Madam Picquery about me, I wouldn't be back on the investigative team now.
    Newt: Well — I can't think of anyone I'd rather have investigating me. [wince]
  • Through His Stomach: Jacob is already enamored of Queenie when they meet, but then she makes him dinner and that's it for that.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: After all that Jacob has been through with Newt and the calamities that followed, the amnesia he ultimately accepted doesn't go unrewarded; the Satchel Switcheroo with him near the end turns out to be the investment he needs to start his own bakery business. It's possible that he may legitimately get the Happy Ending he's Earned when Queenie visits him one more time.
  • Title Drop: Tina does this when she tells Newt she'll be on the lookout for his new book.
  • To Unmasque the World: Grindelwald believes that Muggles should live under the rule of wizards, and attempts to force wizards into the spotlight so that their only way to survive will be through conquest.
  • Trilogy Creep: Fantastic Beasts was originally announced as the opening of a trilogy of films. Then, just before the release of the movie, it was announced that the film would be the start of a pentalogy instead note  — a decision which proved to be prudent when the movie opened well, had great legs, and made a huge profit of about $165 million for WB.

    Tropes U – Z 
  • Urban Fantasy: Magical community in New York City? Check! (See also: Historical Fantasy.)
  • We Can Rule Together: Graves gives Credence this offer upon realizing that he's the Obscurial.
    Graves: Come with me! Think of what we could accomplish together!
  • Weird Historical War: Subtly referenced. Apparently Newt attempted to use dragons, specifically the Ukrainian Ironbellies, during his participation in the Eastern Front of World War I, but the programme was cancelled as the dragons tried to eat everyone other than Newt. Newt's brother, an Auror, also participated and was regarded as a "war hero", but it's not further detailed. There's also an in-universe book detailing the involvement of owl airforce during the war in Europe. The Other Wiki also contains this image of World War I in the Wizarding World universe.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Modesty's fate, and that of her unnamed older sister (called "Chasity" in the script), is left ambiguous. Possible Sequel Hook, especially since it was implied that the former had some interest in magic. The script book, however, says that Chasity was also killed during Credence's attack on their mother, albeit seemingly unintentionally given her lack of involvement, so only Modesty's remains unclear.
    • The fate of the real Percival Graves is never revealed. Supplemental materials stated that Grindlewald used Polyjuice Potion to impersonate him; however, J. K. Rowling later statednote  that Grindlewald accomplished it entirely via Human Transfiguration. Therefore, Grindelwald may not have had any reason to keep Graves around, unless he needed to interrogate him, but this has yet to be confirmed.
    • By the end of the film, the Billywig (a blue flying insect-like creature) is the only creature that is unaccounted for. In fact, it completely disappeared after the first half of the film, and Newt doesn't seem to realize that it is missing. Then again, Billywigs are not dangerous (their sting causes giddiness and levitation as the only effects), and there's only one of it loose, so Newt might simply be unconcerned given that it can't breed (Billywigs being native to Australia) and won't harm people.
    • At one point, Newt and Jacob apparate away as a lion (released from the Central Park Zoo) approaches a group of police officers. The outcome of this situation is never revealed or even brought up.
  • You Don't Look Like You: Several of the beasts are depicted differently from their descriptions in the book. To wit:
    • The Diricawl is described in the book as being identical to a dodo bird. In the movie, it looks only vaguely like one, having multi-coloured feathers and a parrot-like beak.
    • The Nundu is described as a gigantic leopard with disease spreading breath. While the Nundu in the movie does look like a big cat of some sort, it has a spiky mane around its neck and lacks the disease breath.
    • The Mooncalf is said to have smooth, pale grey skin in the book. In the movie, they have thick, fluffy fur.
    • The Graphorn's depiction in the movie is very different from the book. In the book, it is described as a hump-backed, greyish-purple creature with two long horns and four-toed feet. The one in the movie is brown, somewhat tiger-like in shape, and has an array of tentacles on its face.
    • In a sort of inversion of this trope, the Erumpent is depicted exactly as it was described in the book — as a grey, rhino-like creature with a massive horn on its head. The thing is, an Erumpent's horn had previously appeared in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. There, it was shown as being much narrower and spiral-shaped, like the tusk of a narwhal.