The Harry Potter wizarding world is alive and well. The final movie in the actual Harry Potter franchise, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, came out back in 2011, but with the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, J.K. Rowling has brought fans back to that world. The story centers on famed Magizoologist Newt Scamander, but as fans have recently pointed out, he was actually featured in a Harry Potter movie quite some time ago. Kind of.
Warner Bros. has been handling the Harry Potter movie franchise from the very beginning and they have treated it very well in the eyes of most fans. The character of Newt Scamander has been around since 2001 when the book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was published; a textbook written by the fictional character Newt Scamander (actually written by J.K. Rowling) documenting magical creatures. So there was always a chance he could show up in the movies at some point, and he did. At least in name.
Now that Newt Scamander is the center of attention, it has been pointed out by many fans online that in a "blink and you'll miss it" moment, he was featured in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. During the scene when Fred and George Weasley first show Harry the Marauder's Map, Newt Scamander's name can be seen on it. Since the map shows the location of every single person at Hogwarts at the given time, that means Newt Scamander was somewhere on the grounds at the school during that time. So, even though he wasn't featured on screen. Newt Scamander was definitely a part of the Harry Potter universe before this new Fantastic Beasts movie.
It is hard to know whose idea it was to put the little Newt Scamander Easter egg in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, be it J.K. Rowling or director Alfonso Cuaron. Either way, it is definitely a nice little touch, especially now. At the time, Warner Bros. was definitely consulting with J.K. Rowling, but she had only written the books, not the screenplays for the movies. She actually made her screenwriting debut with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. At the time it could have literally just been a little throwaway thing, but in hindsight, it seems really cool and raises some fun questions. Most importantly, what was Newt doing at Hogwarts in the early 2000s?
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them takes place in New York in 1926 and follows Newt Scamander (played by Eddie Redmayne) as he tries to round up a bunch of magical creatures who manage to get loose in the city. So Newt would be an old man in that timeline, but again, it was probably just a fun little Easter egg. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2 is already in the works and is set for release on November 16, 2018, with David Yates returning once again to the director's chair. You can check out the little clip of the Marauder's Map from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for yourself below.