It’s been more than six years since Harry Potter fans have had any chance to speculate and theorize about what to expect in upcoming books. With J.K. Rowling’s announcement of spin off movie series about Newt Scamander, it’s time to get back at it.

We have very little information about the project, but the tidbits we did get in the press release allow us to revert to an old Potter fan favourite activity: Extrapolate wildly from every syllable that comes out of J.K. Rowling’s mouth. So below I’ve put together a list of what we know and what we can expect from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Newt Scamander

The best place to start is with Newt Scamander, the main character of the series. Newt was born in 1897 and graduated from Hogwarts. From there he worked for two “tedious” years at the Ministry of Magic’s Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures in the Office for House of Elf Relocation. If we assume that Newt finished Hogwarts in the standard seven years and started at age eleven, then he would have been at the Ministry from 1915/16-1918. In 1918 he was commissioned to travel the world and compile a list of Magical Beasts (eventually titled Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) by Augustus Worme of Obscurus Books. The first edition of the book was published in 1927.

“…seventy years before Harry’s gets underway.”

Harry’s story in the Philosopher’s Stone technically starts the day after Lily and James’s deaths in 1980, but let us assume that she is referring to when the story begins from Harry’s perspective in 1991 (this fits in much more closely with the context provided above). This puts us in the 1920s, which aligns nicely with the years in which Scamander started to write Fantastic Beasts. I think that makes it fair to assume the series will take place during this period from when Scamander was commissioned to write the book in 1918 and it’s initial publication in 1927. During this period Newt was be 21-30 years old.

J.K. Rowling also made it explicitly clear that this movie will not constitute a Harry Potter prequel in any way. However, for the sake of additional context it is interesting to note what was happening in the Wizarding World during this period that relates to Harry’s story. In 1925, Bob Ogden visited the Gaunt’s house. Later that year, Merope Gaunt used love potion to trick Tom Riddle Senior into marrying her. 1926 is marked by the birth of Tom Marvolo Riddle on New Year’s Eve. This almost certainly will not play a significant role in the story of Newt Scamander although there may be a reference or two thrown in as Easter Eggs for observant fans of the series.

“Newt’s story will start in New York…”

Throughout the Harry Potter canon, there have been various references to what the Wizarding World is like outside of Britain, but now we will finally get to see first hand what the Wizarding World was like in New York in the 1920s.

For an insight into the muggle side of New York City in the 1920s, we can look to what is arguably the most famous American novel of all time, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, much of which deals with the culture of the time in New York. The book describes a culture typified by excess, plenty and extravagance. Undoubtedly this will provide an interesting backdrop for where Newt’s story begins, how this will translate to the Wizarding World we can only guess.

The Beasts

One thing we know for sure is that the beasts mentioned in the book will be featured in the film. With the knowledge that the film begins in New York we can narrow down which beasts are likely to appear based on their geographical information in the book. Below is a list of beasts that appear all across the world (or where it isn’t specified) and those said to be native to America or North America.

Whole World
– Ashwinder: A thing pale-grey serpent born in magical fires
– Basilisk: Giant snake that kills with its stare
– Bundimun: Fungus-like creature with eyes, infests houses
– Chizpurfle: Crab-like parasite with fangs
– Doxy: Fairy covered in black hair with an extra pair of arms and legs
– Fairy: Similar to muggle concept of fairy, but very unintelligent
– Flobberworm: Brown worm that produces mucus
– Ghoul: Lives in wizarding houses and resembles an ugly ogre
– Hippogriff: Flying horse with head of a giant eagle
– Kneazle: Highly-intelligent cat
– Merepeople: Human-like people who live underwater
– Mooncalf: Calf that dances on its hind legs in moonlight
– Plimpy: Spherical fish with two webbed feet
– Puffskin: Docile spherical creature covered in custard coloured fur
– Salamander: Lizard that feeds on flames
– Sea-Serpents: Reaches up to a length of 100 meters, but not particularly dangerous
– Snidget: Small golden bird, used as early snitches
– Streeler: Giant snail that changes colour and leaves a venomous trail
– Werewolf: Human that becomes a violent wolf at the full moon
– Winged-Horse: Various breeds of winged horses are found worldwide

United States
– Clabbert: Looks like a cross between a monkey and a frog, tree-dweller
– Dugbog: Resembles a dead piece of wood and lives in marshes
– Gnome: Garden pest about a foot high
– Jarvey: Resembles an overgrown ferret, but can talk
– Jobberknoll: Blue speckled bird silent until the moment of its death
– Knarl: Hedgehog-like, but takes offers of food as an attempt to trap it
– Nogtail: Demons that resemble stunted piglets
– Re’em: Giant ox with golden hide, drinking its blood gives immense strength
– Shrake: Fish covered in spikes that lives in the Atlantic Ocean

This list leaves a myriad of possible beasts that could appear in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Hopefully these ideas will help spawn many more theories about what J.K. Rowling’s latest wizarding world endeavor will entail and Harry Potter fans can get back to what Harry Potter fans are best at… theorizing and wild speculation!

Legion is FX’s mysterious new show loosely set in the X-Men universe that begs plenty of questions, one of which is who is Sydney Barrett?

Sydney Barrett is one of the more interesting characters on Legion, and that is certainly saying something. The show is nothing if not intriguing, but Syd stands out as a character who poses as many questions as our hero, David.

Sydney was first introduced at Clockworks Mental Hospital, the psychiatric institution where David was being treated for schizophrenia. The first thing we learn about her is that she doesn’t like to be touched. She’s a bit distant (physically and emotionally), speaks her mind, and immediately agrees to be David’s girlfriend. And let’s not forget she’s named after the founding member of Pink Floyd, who is rumored to have suffered from schizophrenia himself.

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Legion is FX’s mysterious new show loosely set in the X-Men universe that begs plenty of questions, one of which is who is Sydney Barrett?

Sydney Barrett is one of the more interesting characters on Legion, and that is certainly saying something. The show is nothing if not intriguing, but Syd stands out as a character who poses as many questions as our hero, David.

Sydney was first introduced at Clockworks Mental Hospital, the psychiatric institution where David was being treated for schizophrenia. The first thing we learn about her is that she doesn’t like to be touched. She’s a bit distant (physically and emotionally), speaks her mind, and immediately agrees to be David’s girlfriend. And let’s not forget she’s named after the founding member of Pink Floyd, who is rumored to have suffered from schizophrenia himself.

Right from the start, something is different about Sydney. She challenges the idea that they’re all crazy. Just because David hears voices doesn’t mean he’s insane. Since we know these two things don’t have to be mutually exclusive, this immediately sends up a red flag. What does Sydney know that David doesn’t?

For one, she knows more about her powers than he does. Despite their emotional intimacy, there can never be any physical touching. Sydney knows what will happen if there is, but David does not. On the day she is set to leave Clockworks, David rushes over to kiss her, and we find out for the first time what exactly Sydney can do.

Her ability is to switch bodies with whomever she touches with her bare skin. David ends up as Sydney, confused and more than a little concerned he now has breasts, and Sydney ends up as David, distraught, afraid, and unable to control his immense power. She destroys Clockworks and kills Lenny (Aubrey Plaza). Eventually, David ends up in Division’s hands, while Sydney joins Melanie Bird’s team of fellow mutants.

It’s at this point where I’d like to pause and emphasize how unreliable of a narrator David truly is. Yes, he really does have powers, but if you have any knowledge about the comics, you’ll know that he’s also mentally ill (he even continues to question his own sanity in episode 3 despite now knowing about his powers). David has a variety of abilities, which are traditionally associated with each one of his personalities.

At least five times an episode I question whether or not Sydney is real. As of this writing, I’m convinced that she is, but that could change next week. Since David is so powerful, we really don’t know what he’s able to do, and it’s clear that he and Sydney have a surprising and mysterious connection.

Sydney is often seen alone with David. She’ll find him in a room or down by the docks. When they’re in a room with other people, she stands off the the side. She doesn’t always participate in the activities. This last point isn’t too surprising, however, because we know that even being close to people makes her skin crawl. She avoids direct contact with most individuals because she doesn’t want to risk triggering her powers.

The lack of interaction does make you scratch your head, but it’s important to note that the other characters can see and talk with Sydney. In this episode in particular, we watch Kerry track Sydney as she leaves the room before David is to be tested. We also see her go into and come out of David’s mindscape, and then interact with other characters while he’s unconscious. If she were a figment of his imagination, she would have little to no impact on the real world, but she does.

Lenny, on the other hand, is just in David’s head. The real Lenny is definitely dead, and so every time we see her pop up on our screens, we know she’s not really there. The interesting part of this is that David’s speech center is working even when he’s not outwardly talking to her (just inwardly having a conversation with his friend). No one else can see Lenny and no one else can hear him talk to her, but she’s real enough to David that she causes his brain to function as if she were there.

People with schizophrenia or Dissociative Identity Disorder assume what they see and hear is real, and therefore they (and their bodies) interact with their hallucinations as if they are corporeal. But what happens when you have someone with these disorders who also happens to be an extremely powerful mutant? Would they be able to manifest one of their personalities into the real world?

We cannot deny that David and Sydney have a strong connection. In episode 3, David talks about still being able to feel her from the time they switched bodies. His center of gravity is sometimes off and he feels as though he has to brush her long hair out of his face. This could absolutely be a side effect of Sydney’s powers, but what if it’s something more significant?

After all, no one but David and Sydney can see the yellow-eyed demon. When the demon attacked, Melanie and Ptonomy couldn’t see him, nor could they see the way he ripped apart the world in David’s mindscape.

But guess who could see the yellow-eyed demon? Sydney saw him when she was in David’s body back at Clockworks, but she could also see him when inside David’s mind. Again, this could be some sort of residual ability left over from sharing David’s mind, but it’s still worth pointing out that out of everyone, Sydney is the one who can back up David’s claims that the creature in his mind is real.

Legion is meant to test you mentally, and so far they are doing an incredible job at just that. Sydney’s existence continues to baffle me, and I hope we don’t get an easy answer here. I would love if David were somehow able to manifest one of his personalities (though this story line would be a bit narcissistic, no?), or, on the flip-side, if he were able to absorb her mind into his thanks to Sydney’s unique abilities, providing them with a connection unlike anything David has experienced before.

If neither one of these options is the case, I’d love for Sydney to be the one person to truly begin to understand how David’s mind operates. Melanie is at a loss, and considering she seems like the most experienced mutant at their facility, that is certainly disconcerting.

Whether or not Sydney is real, I hope she’s able to help David understand what he can do.

How are you enjoying ‘Legion‘ so far?

When the news broke about X-Men: Supernova being adapted for film, the reactions were as predictable as they were extreme: “Yay!” from the fanboys and “Oy vey” from the general populace. And strange as it feels to me, I align with the casual moviegoers, despite being the guy who went to see the last two X-movies dressed as Mystique and Cyclops.

A quick word about my X-geek credentials: I’m not a comic book reader, but was obsessed with all the TV shows, and transferred that obsession to the film franchise. And I don’t hate The Last Stand as much as you want me to; I just thought it was meh.

I think rehashing the Dark Phoenix storyline is a bad idea both financially and creatively. Financially, it wouldn’t go over well with casual moviegoers. Anyone who knows enough to be excited about a Dark Phoenix movie would go see it anyway, and everyone else will wonder why they should bother seeing a story they just saw 12 years earlier. There’s a reason Amazing Spiderman made less than two-thirds the gross of the original Spiderman, despite 3D and a decade of inflation — why bother paying to see a film when you can just stream the last incarnation?

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When the news broke about X-Men: Supernova being adapted for film, the reactions were as predictable as they were extreme: “Yay!” from the fanboys and “Oy vey” from the general populace. And strange as it feels to me, I align with the casual moviegoers, despite being the guy who went to see the last two X-movies dressed as Mystique and Cyclops.

A quick word about my X-geek credentials: I’m not a comic book reader, but was obsessed with all the TV shows, and transferred that obsession to the film franchise. And I don’t hate The Last Stand as much as you want me to; I just thought it was meh.

I think rehashing the Dark Phoenix storyline is a bad idea both financially and creatively. Financially, it wouldn’t go over well with casual moviegoers. Anyone who knows enough to be excited about a Dark Phoenix movie would go see it anyway, and everyone else will wonder why they should bother seeing a story they just saw 12 years earlier. There’s a reason Amazing Spiderman made less than two-thirds the gross of the original Spiderman, despite 3D and a decade of inflation — why bother paying to see a film when you can just stream the last incarnation?

Creatively, I want to see the film franchise take on a new story, instead of trying to do an old one better. Sony finally figured that out: no one wants to pay to see Peter Parker watch Uncle Ben get killed yet again, so just move on. Even from watching the cartoons and reading Wikipedia, I know that X-Men has some fantastic storylines to explore: Genosha, Legacy Virus, or House of M. When the films have given the fans a cinematic incarnation of an exciting new story, the results have been overwhelmingly positive: consider Days of Future Past, or the excitement for Old Man Logan.

Even if they redo Dark Phoenix, what are the odds it’ll be that much better? Sophie Turner is not a markedly better actress than Famke Janssen. It would be at the same studio, produced by a lot of the same people who did The Last Stand and Apocalypse. It may be time to just write off the Dark Phoenix saga as a lost cause for the film franchise. Fans will always have the original comics to return to, and two animated incarnations of it (‘90s X-Men and Wolverine and the X-Men).

It’s the same way I feel about the Harry Potter franchise: I wish we could get decent movie adaptations of the books, but I’m much more excited for new stories in Fantastic Beasts, and happy to ignore the movies in favor of rereading the books. Films are not the be-all-end-all creative expression of a story.

Of course, I’ll still go see X-Men: Supernova when it comes out, but I really hope the next X-Men film gives me something to be excited about. I am familiar with going in to see films and thinking, “God, I hope they don’t eff it up again.” That’s how I felt for the latter Harry Potter movies. I’d be happy if they did a film centered on Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey, because I thought she was one of the few highlights of X-Men Apocalypse, but I truly hope they just leave the Dark Phoenix storyline well enough alone.

Do you want to see a retread of Dark Phoenix, or are you over it?

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. showrunner Jed Whedon discusses those killer twists and writing fanfiction in the aftermath of the spring finale.

Jed Whedon wrote and directed Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15, the episode that brought the current LMD storyline to an ostensible close. “Self Control” also completely changed the game for the rest of the season, sending Daisy into the ‘upside down’ of the world of the Framework to rescue the rest of the team.

But the Framework is a world where resolved regrets have appalling consequences — and that world is run by the likes of Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen. Whedon offered up his thoughts on upcoming themes, that crazy return, and the life and death stakes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Hydra.

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. showrunner Jed Whedon discusses those killer twists and writing fanfiction in the aftermath of the spring finale.

Jed Whedon wrote and directed Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15, the episode that brought the current LMD storyline to an ostensible close. “Self Control” also completely changed the game for the rest of the season, sending Daisy into the ‘upside down’ of the world of the Framework to rescue the rest of the team.

But the Framework is a world where resolved regrets have appalling consequences — and that world is run by the likes of Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen. Whedon offered up his thoughts on upcoming themes, that crazy return, and the life and death stakes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Hydra.

First, what’s it like being an evil genius, destroyer of fandoms?

Oh well, you know! I get a lot of love-hate tweets at me.

When did you first have the idea to go into this alternate timeline, and basically write fanfiction of your own story?

You know, we end every year with talking about what next year will be. So last year, we had a lot of different things on our plate that we wanted to get into the season, and I think you can see we packed a lot in. But there’s sort of three big ideas — Ghost Rider, LMDs, and some sort of alt-world where we could, as you say, write some fanfiction for our characters and explore new things.

You know, I think this is our eighty-first episode that just aired, and that’s a lot of stories. So it’s refreshing for everybody, in production, action, and writers, to flip the script for a little while and get to sort of shake it out and use a new muscle.

So that’s something we talked about doing, and then figuring out how to do it, and how to make all those stories sort of become one thing was the real puzzle. And that’s where the Darkhold came in, and the idea that, finding a way that the Darkhold could sort of get us new tech, and the tech could get us to Alt-World. And so it was sort of a year in the making, and then it’s just a question of, what do we want to do in there? What kind of fun do we want to have?

Speaking of that, can you clarify the parameters of the Framework? Is it really an ideal world, as Aida and Radcliffe seem to think?

Yeah, I think that Radcliffe and Aida set out to duplicate the world, and with some of the info that Aida got from the Darkhold, they were able to do that. Now, the one change that they made was they plugged I think five people into it and repaired one regret for each of them, and that seems to have had a little bit of a ripple effect. We’ll get to learn more about the nature of that reality, but they were setting out to make our world. And it just seems when you change something, there’s a little bit of a butterfly effect.

So putting Jemma aside, who is decidedly her own case as she is apparently dead, which character’s new life do you think will be most surprising to fans?

Well, that’s a little bit of a wait and see question. But one thing I can say is that the themes we’re exploring are sort of, are you different if you’re in a different situation? Or are you inherently the same person? Obviously, we see May standing without much fear in a Hydra building, seemingly like she’s on top of the world. And so the question is, is she still her? Or have her new experiences changed her enough to be someone else?

Those are some of the themes that we’re going to explore. And you’ll get to see how each person is different and sort of judge for yourself who is the most different. But those are some of the themes we wanted to dig into. Is there a true you, or are you made up of your regrets — and what happens if you take those away?

And in terms of Jemma, you were very careful to obscure the date of her death on the tombstone. Is there any significance to that, or a mystery we should be keeping an eye out for?

In general in the Marvel Universe, dates are avoided. Because so much is connected… and I think that if you really asked, they would say that since the first Iron Man movie, like, two months has passed, or something insane! [laughs] You know, I think that we try to avoid them in general, but also it’s just so that you don’t know what’s happening, and we don’t have to answer all those questions, or stick super strictly to the exact timeline of when things would have occurred, so that we can have a little more wiggle room in terms of what stories we tell.

But yeah, we don’t know if it happened 20 years ago, or recently. We don’t know because we put a little flower over that!

But there’s a chance that we’ll see Jemma again?

There is a chance! And I’ll just say that we love Elizabeth [Henstridge] too much to have her go out off camera.

Okay, cool! So in terms of Ward, you definitely know how to keep the fandom churning! Is there a possibility that he will show up beyond the alternate universe, or is his role strictly in imaginary land?

Well, we’ll have to wait and see. But right now, there’s only five people in the Framework who actually have bodies in our world. [Ward] is a simulation, but he’s a simulation of exactly who he was. As Yo-Yo says, how do you populate a whole world? And Daisy very conveniently answers, “With the Darkhold.” It’s sort of our catch-all/fix-all solve this year, the Darkhold. It gave them this ability to sort of duplicate our world, so he is Grant Ward as we knew him.

Now, the world is different around him, and so whether or not he reacted the same to the changes in the world, we’ll see. But Grant Ward never enters the picture and makes things run smoother!

That’s for sure. So if you were to boil down what we can expect from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Hydra, what would you say?

Nightmares and dreams coming true.

…Oh boy.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×16, “What If…” will air on Tuesday, April 4 at 10:00 p.m. on ABC.