Earlier this year, casting for the pre-Harry Potter wizarding film ‘Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them’ was in full swing. The movie directed by David Yates and written by J.K. Rowling was said to be looking at a number of actors to star as Newt Scamander, the magizoologist who went on to pen one of the most recognizable textbooks to any Hogwarts student (or Potterhead). While it was said that ‘Doctor Who’ star Matt Smith was an early favorite for the role, a different kind of doctor (and Academy Award winner) Eddie Redmayne quickly became the frontrunner. Now, Warner Bros. has announced who will officially play the author/adventurer as he studies magical creatures in various locations around the world including New York City during the 1920s.

According to Deadline, WB announced that Eddie Redmayne has landed the role of Newt Scamander in the upcoming magical prequel. The star of the Stephen Hawking biopic ‘The Theory Of Everything’ and the sci-fi space opera ‘Jupiter Ascending’ was said to actually be the studio’s first choice for the part and the comments from Warner Bros. Pictures President of Creative Development and Worldwide Production Greg Silverman in the press release definitely allude to that. I mean, it definitely doesn’t hurt to have an Oscar winner as part of a potential franchise, right?

“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.”

Director Yates weighed in as well on behalf of himself and Rowling, who is making her screenwriting debut with ‘Fantastic Beasts’:

“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.”

Even before this formal offer was issued, it was basically assumed that Redmayne had got the gig already. But now that the official word has been given about the film’s star, we’re likely to know who else will be joining him in the cast sooner rather than later. Until then, what do you think about Eddie Redmayne starring in ‘Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them’ as Newt Scamander? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ apparates into theaters on November 18, 2016.