5:00 pm EDT, October 21, 2015

First video and photos from ‘Fantastic Beasts’ set depict protests, politics

A 'No Witchcraft in America' campaign will be an aspect of the story

The first outdoor shoots for Fantastic Beasts are happening in Liverpool this evening, and onlookers have taken great video and photos at the scene.

Fantastic Beasts filming is taking place in and around St. George’s Hall this week as the Wizarding World spinoff shoots scenes set in 1920s New York. Thanks to a few fans, we’re learning a couple of things about the movie’s plot.

First let’s talk about the video. Footage shot by @Zak_Bamford on Twitter — whose university’s residence hall is conveniently located across the street from filming — depicts large crowds of people on the steps of St. George’s Hall as someone arrives in a vehicle. Crowds surround someone leaving a car as he or she walks up the steps. The people are chanting, “We want [inaudible],” repeatedly.

At one point we see the person they’re chanting toward wave to the crowd. Is this a politician?

Meanwhile, photos from @Portkey offer additional clues about the scene. The Muggles on the steps are holding up signs that read, “No Witchcraft in America,” and a shot of the inside of St. George’s Hall reveals an interior decorated in patriotism.

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Theory time: Some sort of election will be taking place over the course of Fantastic Beasts, and at least one politician will have an anti-Wizard stance. The video suggests the politician in this particular scene likes the “No Witchcraft in America” signage since he waves to the crowd.

How this plays into Newt Scamander’s story remains to be seen. Remember, J.K. Rowling teased last year that Newt “only meant to stay in New York for a few hours.”

So what’s keeping Newt in New York? Does he decide to get involved in an election that could potentially remove wizards, witches, and magic from America? We know Newt is personally invested in having the option of visiting the USA since he’s dedicated himself to the study of magical beasts. Like any good Magizoologist, he needs to be able to come and go as he continues his work.

The anti-witchcraft campaign is certainly interesting considering the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy that is in place according to canon. Why is the secret suddenly so public?

Fantastic Beasts opens next November and stars Eddie Redmayne.

Thanks to Justin for the tip!

Note: An early version of this article reported the signs said, “No Wizards in America.” The signs actually read, “No Witchcraft in America,” according to @Portkey.

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