Entertainment Weekly brings the news that the Academy’s favorite Stephen Hawking understudy will don the wizard sleeves of Newt Scamander, who travels the world studying magical creatures. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, scripted by series author J.K. Rowling, will once again bring David Yates back to direct what could be the first installment of a potential new trilogy. Franchise mainstays David Heyman, Steve Kloves, and Lionel Wingram will produce, and the film is scheduled for release on Nov. 18 of next year.

I’ve been revisiting the Potter films over the last several weeks, and I’m finding them a pretty heavily mixed bag. There are lots of moments that fall totally flat, but when they’re functioning at their best, they’re crazy good. The last four, all directed by Yates, have a workman-like quality, which is a positive and a negative. Half-Blood Prince is the clear standout of the Yates entries, though it leans too heavily on a soft, muddy color treatment. I think Yates is a good director, but I think Fantastic Beasts should step outside the soft, desaturated look that the series fell into in its latter half.

As far as Redmayne goes, I’m sure he’ll be fine. I don’t like every performance I’ve seen outta the guy*, but he’s young, talented, and still exploring his range.


*It’s also incredibly unrealistic for me to like every performance I see from an actor, obviously.