J.K. Rowling says ‘Fantastic Beasts’ was ‘informed by a rise in populism around the world’

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“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” held its world premiere on Thursday, kicking off the final countdown until Muggles and No-Majs can head to theaters to dive into a brand new film series set in the Wizarding World.

“Harry Potter” author and “Fantastic Beasts” screenwriter J.K. Rowling joined the film’s cast and crew in New York for the premiere and fielded questions at a press conference. She dilvulged more details about the movie’s themes, as well as the return of fan-favorite character Albus Dumbledore.

Recently revealed as the first in a five-part film series, “Fantastic Beasts” follows British wizard and magizoologist Newt Scamander (played by Eddie Redmayne) as he travels to New York in 1926. The film will depict a world where wizards live in fear of persecution, addressing themes of authoritarianism and xenophobia.


“This period was threatening to become very dystopian,” said Rowling, according to the New York Times. “You were looking at the rise of a very dark force. I conceived the story a few years ago, and I think I was partly informed by a rise in populism around the world.”

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“Harry Potter” fans, of course, are no strangers to serious themes such as racism and oppression interwoven into Rowling’s work.

Rowling also discussed how Dumbledore will be featured in future installments of the “Fantastic Beast” films, including whether Dumbledore’s sexuality will be openly addressed.

“You will see Dumbledore as a younger man, and quite a troubled man,” she said. “We will see him in what I think is the formative period of his life. As far as his sexuality is concerned: Watch this space.”

While no actor has been cast for the part, Rowling did share with E! News that she did have someone in mind for the part, but she is choosing “to just keep quiet” to respect whoever does get cast.


Rowling, an activist who has been very vocal about her politics, declined to discuss President-elect Donald Trump at the event, focusing instead on “putting some good things out into the world.”

“Anytime you release a movie, you’d like to think you’ll give everyone a couple of hours of pleasure, and solace, for everyone — because life’s tricky, right?” she told USA Today at the premiere. “And that’s why we make movies and like music, and maybe I feel that hopefully, putting out something that’s lovable in this world in this moment is not a bad thing.”

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” will hit theaters on Nov. 18.

Twitter: @tracycbrown