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Fantastic Beasts stars explain how new movie is different from Harry Potter films

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There are just two weeks to go until J.K. Rowling introduces a new era of her wizarding world with the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Ahead of the film’s Nov. 18 debut, stars Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston stopped by EW PopFest in Los Angeles to tease a little new footage and weigh in on what to expect from the new franchise.

While at PopFest, Redmayne and Waterston talked to EW Radio’s Julia Cunningham and Kyle Anderson about what Fantastic Beasts has in common with the Harry Potter film series — and how it’s different.

“The first thing that’s different is it’s set in the 1920s, and it’s set in New York,” Redmayne said. “And it’s this amazing age of the Jazz Age and Prohibition, and there’s a kind of vibrancy to that place at that time. But also there are rumblings of this huge war of good versus evil going on. And this Englishman, this English wizard, arrives in New York, and the beasts getting out sort of sets into motion a whole load of things. There’s that kind of epic J.K. Rowling start of a massive battle thing going on.”

“Like in Harry Potter, these sort of reluctant heroes kind of come together and find themselves in the center of this impending war,” Waterston added. “What’s so lovely about it is you get to know them as this is happening, so you find yourself rooting for them.”

Both Waterston and Redmayne revealed that they were enchanted by the sheer amount of detail that went into the Fantastic Beasts sets, from the intricacies of the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) to little details like a wizard-only wand polisher.

“So you know how back in the ‘20s, you’d have shoe polishers or that sort of thing?” Redmayne explained. “Well here, there’s a sort of wand polisher made out of feathers. It’s by the elevator. Both of us were weirdly obsessed with the wand polisher.”

Fantastic Beasts will hit theaters on Nov. 18. Head here to read our full recap of Waterston and Redmayne’s panel at PopFest, and for more EW PopFest interviews, listen to EW Radio on SiriusXM (ch. 105) all week long.