End the speculation: Eddie Redmayne is Newt Scamander. Warner Bros. announced Monday that the Oscar-winning actor will play the lead in the first Harry Potter spinoff, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
“Eddie Redmayne has emerged as one of today’s most extraordinarily talented and acclaimed actors,” Warner Bros. Pictures’ President of Creative Development and Worldwide Production Greg Silverman said in a statement. “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, the central character in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”
Scamander is the “the Wizarding World’s preeminent magizoologist,” spending his time traveling the magical globe, documenting its creatures, and publishing a Hogwarts history textbook that Harry, Ron, and Hermoine slave over for hours on end. What’s being touted as a trilogy will see the first film written by Rowling herself, with David Yates—who helmed the last four Harry Potter installments—aboard to direct. It will be Rowling’s first screenplay.
“Eddie is a fearless actor, brimming with invention, wit and humanity,” Yates said in a statement. “I couldn’t be more excited about the prospect of working with him as we start this new adventure in J.K. Rowling’s wonderful world, and I know she feels the same way.”
Rowling and Yates aren’t the only two mainstays from the Harry Potter cinematic family. Fantastic Beasts will be produced by them, David Heyman (producer for all eight films), Steve Klove (writer of seven), and Lionel Wigram (executive producer for the last four).
The surely omnipresent feature is scheduled for a Nov. 18, 2016 release in 3D and IMAX.