This November 18th, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be unleashed in theaters and we’ll be introduced to Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scamander, a collector of magical creatures. Even though the screenplay was written by J.K Rowling and it takes place in the same world as the Harry Potter stories, Potter and his friends won’t be showing up.Since the film is set in 1920s New York City, the ramp up to Fantastic Beasts has thus far been comprised of tidbits about North American magical history, not the titular beasts. With roughly three months to go until release we’re finally getting a look at a few of the magical creatures that will be featured.The photos and information about the movie was debuted by Entertainment Weekly, but for some of these creatures the source text for the film can be used to elaborate.Despite being the basis for what Warner Bros is hoping will be a trilogy of Newt Scamander movies, the original short book that Rowling wrote in 2001 is not available digitally at Pottermore, the official site for Rowling’s digitial publications. Luckily, we have a copy on hand to reference for some extra tidbits of information.NifflerAppearing in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire novel, the Niffler is making his onscreen debut in Fantastic Beasts. The little bag it is holding is where it keeps the treasure it finds. It’s an enchanted bag, so it can hold more than it looks like it can. Nifflers seek out treasure like jewelry or coins (in America, the wizarding coin is the “dragot”) and covet it in the bag/pouch.Harry and his fourth year Care of Magical Creatures class were sent on a scavenger hunt to find buried leprechaun gold by Hagrid as a contest. Each student was given a Niffler to help dig and search. The scene didn’t make it into the film adaptation, so this is the first visual pass at the little buddy.“We saw some great footage of a honey badger raiding somebody’s house with a completely insatiable desire to find food and nothing would get in its way,” said Fantastic Beasts special effects supervisor Christian Manz. In the Fantastic Beasts book, it’s revealed that Nifflers breed in litters of six to eight. Fun facts!BowtruckleThe bowtruckle got only a passing mention in the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 movie when Hagrid bemoaned to Harry at Privet Drive “I brought you here sixteen years ago when you were no bigger than a bowtruckle.”The Fantastic Beasts book describes Bowtruckles as woodland creatures that grow no taller than eight inches in height. Even though they are difficult to find in their native Scandinavia, Newt Scamander has at least four of them including actor Eddie Redmayne’s favorite beast of the movie, a bowtruckle named Pickett.“Pickett has attachment issues, so Newt knows he shouldn’t have favorites, but like he loves Pickett to sit in his top pocket,” says Redmaybe. “I felt for him quite badly.” Apparently his name is also a new bowtruckle function which EW hints at by saying “it can be very handy to have around when there are locks to pick.” That detail is absent from the Fantastic Beasts book.ThunderbirdThe Thunderbird is noteworthy for a few reasons, among them its prominent placement in the trailer (“was that a hippogriff?”) and its status as one of the mascots for a house at Illvermorny school of magic. The Thunderbird is entirely absent from the Fantastic Beasts book, so all we have is a quote from Entertainment Weekly as to what to expect from this particular fantastic beast:“The Thunderbird is a large, regal avian creature native to the arid climate of Arizona. Its head is similar to that of an eagle or, in the wizarding world, a Hippogriff. Its multiple powerful wings shimmer with cloud-and sun-like patterns and their flapping can create storms. Thunderbirds can also sense danger. After rescuing a Thunderbird from traffickers in Egypt, Newt named him Frank and promised to return him to his natural habitat in Arizona.”It’s name is Frank.Swooping EvilAs you can probably guess from the name, this creature has not appeared in previously published material. Instead it’s a new creature that appeared in the Fantastic Beasts trailer when Newt threw some sort of orb in the air (yes, it kind of looks like he’s choosing a Pokémon).The new information about the swooping evil actually makes it much more sinister like its name, not like it’s appearance: “when at rest, the swooping evil lives in a green spiny cocoon. But when it spreads its colorful, spiked wings, it is strangely beautiful. It can be dangerous, as it is capable of sucking out brains, but, conversely, if properly diluted, its venom can be quite useful to erase bad memories.”DemiguiseThe demiguise is a creature also seen in the trailer and a few successfully guessed the identity out of the Fantastic Beasts book. These primate creatures originate in the “Far East” and they are peaceful beasts who can turn invisible at will. That ends up making them valuable because their silvery hair can be used to weave ultra-rare invisibility cloaks (not ones as good as Harry Potters, but not everything can be a Deathly Hallow).What the movie is adding to the mythology of the demiguise is that it has light precognitive abilities, so to catch it, you have to do something completely unpredictable. The book hints that they could only be caught by “wizards skilled in its capture,” now we know why…they can feel the future.OccamyLast but certainly not least is the occamy. This creature appears in the Fantastic Beasts book and is the final image released in the new creatures batch, in both incarnations it is very, very dangerous.The book portrays the occamy as aggressive, especially in defense of its young. Occamy eggs are made of silver and worth a lot of money, so wizards are warned to be cautious when encountering an occamy. However, the book lists the occamy as a feathered, two-winged creature that can grow up to fifteen feet in length while the movie version is choranaptyxic, meaning it will grow or shrink to fit the container it is in. That could be bad news if it gets out in the open air, right……guess we’ll have to wait until November to find out.
As Nerf guns, the Scravenger and Evader are fun, but don’t offer overwhelming firepower. The Scravenger is lever-action and single-shot, while the Evader is semiautomatic, so you can’t just spray darts everywhere. If you want to do that, the Nerf Modulus Regulator is the best pick with its select-fire semiautomatic, three-dart burst, and automatic modes. These are still really gun, and the Scravenger lets you do the same goofy lever-spinning tricks you can with the SlingFire, just with a rougher, more orange design. The Evader is simply a solid short-to-mid-range motorized automatic Nerf gun, with the sleek, stealthy look of transparent plastic.These are prototype blasters, and the Nerf Zombie Strike Survival System Scravenger and Nerf Modulus Ghost Ops Evader won’t hit stores until this Fall. The Scravenger will retail for $49.99, while the motorized-but-comes-with-fewer-accessories Evader will retail for $39.99. And I look forward to seeing what new main series Elite Nerf guns, along with any other Modulus, Zombie Strike, Doomlands, and other guns, Hasbro will unveil next month at Toy Fair. We like Nerf guns here at Geek.com, and Nerf seems to like us, because they’ve given us access to the two newest dart blasters coming out this Fall. The Nerf Modulus Ghost Ops Evader and Nerf Zombie Strike Survival System Scravenger are the first of many new Nerf guns we’ll see next month when Hasbro comes to town for Toy Fair, and we have the prototypes in our lab right now. Yes, we have access to prototype foam weapons. We’re prepared.One of them is invisible, and the other is trash. And, if you’re familiar with Hasbro’s Nerf Zombie Strike line, that’s a compliment to both. So let’s start with the trash.The Nerf Scravenger is a garbage beast, because that’s the Zombie Strike line’s whole aesthetic: scavenged parts turned into weapons. Its full name is the Nerf Zombie Strike Survival System Scravenger, because it starts with the base rifle and adds a whole bunch of rail, grip, and barrel accessories, which the Zombie Strike line has generally shied away from. Also, Scravenger is a great name, up there with Doominator (which is also a Nerf Zombie Strike gun).The blaster itself is a lever-cocked rifle similar mechanically to the Zombie Strike SlingFire. The mechanism is like a Winchester rifle, with a reloading lever on the grip you flip forward and back to load the next dart from the magazine (or, if you want to be fancy, flip the entire gun forward and back to make it look like you’re twirling it. There’s also a selector switch if you want to fire every time you pull the lever back instead of pulling the trigger after cocking, like the slamfire features on some other mechanical Nerf guns.It’s more of a snub-nosed design than the SlingFire, with lots of molded plastic accents to look like it was thrown together. There’s molded tape on the grip and top rail, the body is covered in slotted screw and bolt heads, and the reloading lever looks like a set of angled pliers taped together. The blaster takes normal Nerf magazines, and comes with two 12-dart clips. It also has top and bottom accessory rails, a barrel accessory mount, and a butt accessory mount, making it as customizable as a Nerf Modulus blaster.That brings us to the Survival System part of the Scravenger’s name. It doesn’t include just the rifle. It includes a slew of accessories. There’s an orange butt stock molded to look like it was made in a machine shop, a white-and-orange barrel extension with blasted holes in it, a gray-and-yellow combination scope and clip holder that looks like it was built out of plumbing supplies, and a yellow-and-orange tactical light with the grip of a screwdriver. And they all mount on the Scravenger to make a huge, schlocky beast. If that isn’t enough, the Scravenger also comes with a two-shot backup blaster. It’s a garishly orange pile of gloriously molded trash, perfect for fighting zombies while leaning away from the usual green color scheme of other Zombie Strike guns. Of course, this is a prototype, so the color and other details can easily change before release.As chunky and garish as the Scravenger is, the Nerf Modulus Ghost Ops Evader is sleek and, well, clear. It’s a completely transparent Nerf gun (presumably the first of several transparent Nerf guns in the Modulus Ghost Ops line), with the exception of a few orange accents and the mechanical and electronic components. It’s a submachinegun-style rifle with no stock and an even shorter snub-nosed barrel than the Scravenger. It features two pistol grips, each with their own triggers. The foregrip trigger activates green LED lighting that illuminates the gun, while the rear grip has a lower trigger that spins up the motor (powered by four AA batteries) and an upper trigger that pushes a dart from the side-loaded magazine (a clear 12-shot clip is included) into the flywheel to fire. It’s sleek, curved, and looks deceptively simple.Because it’s a Modulus blaster, it can handle plenty of attachments. There’s an accessory rail on the top, an accessory rail on the bottom, a third accessory rail on the right side, and stock and barrel extension mounts. It also comes with a clear silencer-style barrel extension, which gives the gun an extra bit of heft and length that makes it look like a cohesive weapon. Stay on target Exclusive: Nerf Ups Its Game With New Kid-Friendly ‘Fortnite’…Geek Pick: Nerf Rival Phantom Corps Kronos XVIII-500 Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.