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Eddie Redmayne: Here's who he's playing in the 'Harry Potter' world (+video)

Actor Redmayne has officially come aboard to star in the 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' movie, playing a character who is an expert on magical creatures. The planned movie is only one of many that's expanding previously successful fictional universes.

We now know who will be starring in the "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" movie.

“The Theory of Everything” actor Eddie Redmayne has officially come aboard to portray the character of Newt Scamander, a character who first appeared in J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” books. Rowling is writing the screenplay for “Fantastic Beasts.” 

“Eddie Redmayne has emerged as one of today’s most extraordinarily talented and acclaimed actors,” Greg Silverman, president of creative development and worldwide production for Warner Bros., said in a statement. “We are thrilled to welcome him into J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, where we know he will deliver a remarkable performance.”

Director David Yates, who helmed the last several movies in the “Harry Potter” series beginning with the fifth, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” has come aboard to direct “Fantastic Beasts.”

Redmayne won a Best Actor Oscar last year for his portrayal of cosmologist Stephen Hawking in the movie “Theory of Everything.” He also starred as one of the male leads in the 2012 big-screen musical “Les Miserables” and co-starred with actress Emma Watson – known to “Potter” fans as Hermione Granger – in the 2011 film “My Week With Marilyn.” 

The “Fantastic Beasts” movies are yet another example of the spin-off trend in Hollywood. Sequels and reboots abound, but just as popular are films that take place in the same fictional universe as a previous, successful movie but center on a different character. The “Fantastic Beasts” movie is set decades before the “Harry Potter” series and centers on a character peripheral to Harry, the Boy Who Lived.

Marvel Studios has proven that introducing new characters from previously established fictional universes can be a good bet. 2011’s “Captain America: The First Avenger,” for example, took place many years before Marvel’s successful “Iron Man” movie. And Disney is spinning off the “Star Wars” series into movies, according to the company, with one titled “Rogue One,” which fans hope will center on X-Wing pilots. 

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