I was thinking of watching Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them but have so far avoided watching any of the Harry Potter series (mostly because I don't want to see them until I can get access to the entire series - to watch in chronological order).

Is enjoyment of Fantastic Beasts dependant on knowing details of the Harry Potter universe?

Note: from seeing various bits around here & the larger internet / real world I am familiar with some of the most basic parts of the HP universe, but only a small amount & at a very basic level (you'd have to be living under a rock not to have taken in some HP lore). Familiar with the existence of Hogwarts, Horcruxes, Quidditch ..

(Yes, I am aware that FB&WtFT is set before HP, but just want to check.)

  • 1
    You know there is a Harry Potter book series too, right?
    – tobiasvl
    Apr 20, 2017 at 18:26
  • If the question really is Is enjoyment of Fantastic Beasts dependent on knowing details of the Harry Potter universe? then it is off topic as primarily opinion based. Nobody prevents you from watching a movie or reading a book if you haven't consumed others in a series. It's totally a personal choice. And since the question is asking to quantify the subjective experience of "enjoyment", it is unanswerable. At the very least it should be re-worded
    – NKCampbell
    Apr 20, 2017 at 18:27
  • 1
  • 2
    @Gallifreyan That question is quite different though. That question is about someone who have read the Harry Potter books, but not the movies; whereas this question says "knowing details of the Harry Potter universe".
    – b_jonas
    Apr 20, 2017 at 18:30
  • @b_jonas - But the answers address both scenarios.
    – ibid
    Apr 20, 2017 at 19:36

2 Answers 2


There is no need to have read/watched Harry Potter to enjoy Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

It stands on its own. Though there are references to previous stories, they are not overly important to the story.

  • Not sure I agree. The movie tends to use spells and other magic without properly explaining them.
    – Kevin
    Apr 20, 2017 at 18:19
  • 1
    ^ and this is why the question is off-topic as opinion-based :)
    – NKCampbell
    Apr 20, 2017 at 19:31

The film's director, David Yates certainly hopes so. Although he included a considerable number of 'call-backs' to the previous films and books, he was keen for the film to work on its own.

"It is a delicate process [incorporating the Deathly Hallows], and we hope that people will be able to enjoy this movie without having too much prior knowledge," he says. "Fingers crossed. That they don't need to have absorbed seven books and eight movies. That's really for the people who love the world, and it's for them to enjoy that kind of stuff."


The film's producer, David Heyman also feels the same way.

DAVID HEYMAN: It’s interesting, that. I think that’s both a blessing and a burden. I mean, it’s a burden in the sense that people—you know, not “burden…” it’s not Harry Potter, so you don’t have that to hang it on. At the same time it’s quite nice that you don’t have people going, “They left that out! And this happens!” That’s kind of liberating in a way.

I think this film stands for what will be enjoyed by Potter fans but also people who haven’t seen (those movies). You don’t have to be a Harry Potter fan to watch this and enjoy it. I think it stands on its own two feet. If you have seen the Potter films, there are echoes to those stories that are enjoyable, and I think if we carry on with the series, I think those will become more explicit. I think people really enjoy it, but I think they’ll enjoy it just on this film.

‘Fantastic Beasts’ Producer David Heyman on the Future of the Franchise


What I think is so wonderful about this film is — and what Jo has written — is it can stand on its own. You don’t have to have read a single Harry Potter book or seen a single Harry Potter film to enjoy it. And yet, if you have, there’s a wonderful additional experience of this story.

Fantastic Beasts Producer Says Movie ‘Can Stand on Its Own’

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.