Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them marks the first on-screen appearance of Newt Scamander, the author of the book Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. While he was mentioned in the #HarryPotter books as being the author of one of their school text book, he never made an appearance in the films...
Or Did He?!
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban introduced Harry, and audiences, to the Marauder's Map. For those who don't recall it, the Marauder's Map was a magical parchment that mapped out the entirety of Hogwarts, and showed where every person was in the school at every moment. If someone moved from one room to another, it would show it.
Harry would use this to help him sneak through the halls. It even helped him follow Peter Pettigrew, who was supposed to be dead, yet still appeared on the Map. But, according to Remus Lupin, "The map never lies." So all of this begs the question, why did Newt Scamander show up on the Map as well?
At one point in the film, Newt Scamander's name was seen moving on the map just as the design of the map faded away. At first glance, one would think that this is just a happy little Easter Egg. But, knowing J.K. Rowling, it is probably a lot more.
Rowling loves setting things up years in advance. She basically had the entire series planned out when she wrote Philosopher's Stone and included plenty of clues for later books in the original. For example, during the first Potions class, Snape quizzes Harry (calling him out) by asking him about a Bezoar. In The Half Blood Prince, Harry has to use this knowledge to save Ron after he is poisoned.
Could Newt's appearance actually be significant? While I doubt the Fantastic Beasts series will carry onto the time period of Prisoner of Azkaban, this appearance lets us know that Newt will survive until the this time period. It also hints that Newt most likely become friends with Albus Dumbledore (thus, giving him access to Hogwarts).
Assuming that it is actually Newt, and not just an Easter Egg, then we can anticipate he is pretty old. Newt was born in 1897, and Prisoner of Azkaban takes place in 1993 and 1994. This means that Newt is in his 90s during his visit to Hogwarts, which would explain why his name is moving slower than that of other characters. But then again, #Dumbledore would have been 112 during this time period, so maybe Newt doesn't have it all that bad.
Newt's appearance was not the only peculiar thing to show up on the Marauder's Map, though. The credits sequence of Prisoner of Azkaban was based around the Map, with the film credits showing up in the rooms and halls of Hogwarts.
The credits sequence also featured feet, to represent people in the school. While most of the feet were walking, there were two pairs of feat that were doing something quite "naughty" in what we can assume to be a broom closet. See for yourself below... (look at the bottom left).
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Whether this cameo is just an random name that the filmmakers pulled out of a bag, or a foreshadowing of things to come, it really is something interesting to observe in the franchise. This universe that J.K. Rowling invented is truly complex, especially if it is true that she was planning on the Fantastic Beasts coming to be back in 2004 when Prisoner of Azkaban first hit theaters.
What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading!