This week, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is released in Irish cinemas. Set many years before the events of the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise, the film follows Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), as he journeys to the magical community in New York City on the trail of magical beasts in his quest to document them all for his upcoming text book. Disaster strikes when a No-Maj – American English for Muggles – releases Scamander’s creatures into the city, a city already on edge with tensions between the wizarding and No-Maj communities.

To celebrate the release of ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ in Irish cinemas, Movies.ie has gathered together 10 facts about the film that you really ought to know.

1. Inspiration
‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ was mentioned many times throughout the ‘Harry Potter’ books and films, and J.K. Rowling wrote a novella of the same name for charity in 2001.

2. First Time for Everything
‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ marks J.K. Rowling’s first time as screenwriter; she reviewed all the scripts for the ‘Harry Potter’ films, and served as producer on the final two films in the franchise ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ Parts 1 and 2.

3. First of Many
The ‘Harry Potter’ franchise may have wrapped up in 2011 with ‘Harry Potter and the Deatjly Hallows – Part 2’, but ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ marks the beginning of a brand new cinematic franchise set in J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world. There are five films planned in the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ franchise, which Rowling confirmed in October of this year.

4. Stand Alone
J.K. Rowling has stated that this film “is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world. Newt’s story will start in New York, seventy years before Harry gets underway”.

5. Casting
The ‘Harry Potter’ franchise had an incredible cast, which appeared in all of the films, and ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is also shaping up to showcase incredible actors. As well as Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, the film stars Colin Farrell, Ezra Miller, Zoe Kravitz, Ron Perlman, Jon Voight and the recently announced Johnny Depp as the Dark Wizard Gellert Grindelwald.

6. Joining in
Colin Farrell previously appeared in ‘In Bruges’ (2008), featuring fellow Harry Potter actors Brendan Gleeson, Clémence Poésy, Ciarán Hinds, and Ralph Fiennes. This is Farrell’s first appearance in a film set within J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world.

7. Audition
Back in the early 2000s, Eddie Redmayne auditioned for the role of Tom Riddle in ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’but was turned down after reading one line. Christian Coulson was cast instead. This seems to have worked in Redmayne’s favour, however, as he is now playing the lead role in this new franchise.

8. Ivermorny
Fans of Pottermore will already know that Ilvermorny is be the name of the American School of Witchcraft and Wizardry much like Hogwarts is for the UK. The Houses of Ilvermorny do not mirror those of Hogwarts, however, they are named after magical creatures; Pukwudgie, Thunderbird, Horned Serpent and Wampus.

9. Director
David Yates – director of the final four films in the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise – is the director of this new instalment of J.K. Rowling’s world. Presumably, this is to create a feel of continuity and cohesion between both franchises.

10. When can I see ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’?
‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is released in Irish cinemas on November 18th. Watch the trailer below…