7:36 pm EDT, June 1, 2015

It’s official: Eddie Redmayne is Newt in J.K. Rowling’s ‘Fantastic Beasts’

And director David Yates is speaking out about the project for the first time.

Warner Bros. announced Monday afternoon that Eddie Redmayne will portray Newt Scamander in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter spinoff, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

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Update: J.K. Rowling has expressed her full approval of Eddie! Yay!

Said director David Yates of today’s announcement, “Eddie is a fearless actor, brimming with invention, wit and humanity. 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.”

Added Greg Silverman, WB President of Creative Development and Worldwide Production, “Eddie Redmayne has emerged as one of today’s most extraordinarily talented and acclaimed actors. 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.’”

J.K. Rowling did not offer a comment in today’s press release, but we wouldn’t be surprised if she shares her thoughts on Twitter sometime this week.

Fantastic Beasts opens in theaters November 2016 and is the first film in “at least” a trilogy. With the casting of Newt complete, WB is now moving to cast three other lead characters named Tina, Queenie, and Jacob. Stars like Dakota Fanning and Saoirse Ronan are up for these new roles.

Are you happy that Eddie is entering the world of ‘Harry Potter’?

Since the characters in this new film — the screenplay of which is penned by J.K. Rowling — are virtually brand new, it’s hard to say whether certain casting decisions are good or bad ideas. Unlike the Harry Potter film series, we don’t have substantial book material to look at to decide if someone like Redmayne is right for the role.

All we can do is trust producer David Heyman, who also produced all eight Potter movies.

Redmayne won an Oscar earlier this year for his lead role as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything.

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