How the Salem witch trials reportedly play into J.K. Rowling’s new movie

British wizards had Voldemort. American wizards had Salem, apparently.

The magical world of Harry Potter is relocating from the U.K. with the 2016 release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, starring Eddie Redmayne. For that film, based on the adventures of writer Newt Scamander, New England’s witchy history is essential to the story.

Fantastic Beasts is set in 1926 New York City, where Scamander will meet with students educated at an American version of Hogwarts, according to Entertainment Weekly. J.K. Rowling has revealed that the school won’t be the Salem Witches’ Institute mentioned in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, though EWspeculates that it might still be somewhere in New England. However, Salem’s witch stories will still be a movie plot factor.


Fantastic Beasts is EW’s cover story this week, and the magazine broke down all the movie details in their cover photo—in which Scamander (Redmayne) stands in the entrance of the Magical Congress of the United States of America, the American version of the Ministry of Magic.

Two phoenixes flank either side of the entrance as an homage to those who died during the Salem witch trials, “a major traumatic event in the history of American wizard and No-Maj (aka Muggle) relations,’’ according to EW.

Production designer Stuart Craig told the magazine that throughout the film, “the magical world is grounded in the context of the Muggle world, born out of things familiar and real.’’

In another EW article about “surprising things’’ the magazine learned on the set of Fantastic Beasts, EW reports that the wizarding world in the U.S. is more underground because of wizards’ fear of persecution by Muggles. There’s even a new group in Fantastic Beasts called New Salem Philanthropic Society—aka the Second Salemers—that aims to expose the wizarding community.

Prepare yourself for the beasts are coming....#FantasticBeasts #HarryPotter

A photo posted by Fantastic Beasts Film (@fantasticbeastsmovie) on

Our eyes are peeled for more updates about Fantastic Beasts before its 2016 release, which clearly promises to be a much different film series than the Harry Potter movies. After all, Scamander is a Hufflepuff.

Jump To Comments