Today, I found this YouTube video that is a character study of Newt Scamander. In particular, it spoke of the character’s masculinity and how it affects his perceived worthiness to be the protagonist of Fantastic Beasts, as well as the upcoming movies. I wrote a comment below the video in YouTube, but found I had a lot to say, so I decided to write a post on it as well.
*Please remember, this is not my own character study, it’s just one that really spoke to me. It was posted by Pop Culture Dectective.
I loved this character study of Newt Scamander, and I loved Newt Scamander as a protagonist. Personally, I hope they keep him as the MC for the upcoming movies. I agree with Pop Culture Dectective, however, that he is not the typical Hollywood leading man.
I am the mother of boys, and one of my hopes is that society starts to recognize what men who are not your stereotypical “macho” males have to offer. MCs like this can be role models for boys, used to demonstrate and teach the value of empathy, and show how much you can learn and grow when you try to understand others and look beyond the exterior. This latter can be seen from both our own viewpoints in trying to understand Newt, and from Newt’s viewpoint in how he tries to understand others (and in particular, animals). It can show our boys, and our girls, that strength is not just physical, but also mental, intellectual and emotional.
I loved how Pop Culture Detective mentioned that Newt shows signs of perhaps being on the autism spectrum. But of course, as PCD says, it is not openly stated. I’m sure I’m on the spectrum somewhere as well, but in my youth this was not something commonly talked about or understood. I hope many others make that connection as well. I watched a video on Facebook today, fortuitiously only an hour or so before I found this one, that talked about neurodiversity (mental diversity). It spoke of how great it would be if those who are different were recognized for their gifts, not made to feel lacking or like they had to fit into a certain framework (I’m paraphrasing here).
I don’t know how to share videos from Facebook, or even if it can be done. But I have shared this video on ‘Neurodiversity’ on my FB author page. If you are interested in viewing it, please go to my page to check it out. It certainly gives food for thought.
I am also a teacher, and have studied a little about exceptionalities, and a lot about diversity and inclusion. So, I am happy to see that mentioned here. If others recognize that in the character of Newt Scamander as well, I think it would be a positive thing, showing that, even when people are different, they still have their talents and strengths, and they should be encouraged to share them.
I also love how Pop Culture Dective points out that even though the Big Bad was destroyed at the end, Newt did not consider it a victory because he “failed to save the monster.” This act, or emotion, of Newt’s at the end helps to show the depth and dimensions of this character. It is also a good lesson to our boys about masculinity, as it shows that victory doesn’t always come from beating up the bad guys. Sometimes the victory is in recognizing that the bad guy needs help, and in being strong enough and brave enough to put yourself on the line to try and give them the help they need.
I realize that, as PCD says, Hollywood may decide to not keep Newt as the MC in upcoming movies, and from a box office profit standpoint I could see why that could be. However, I’m an author and a life-long student and lover of story and character, in both books and film. As such, I certainly hope he does remain the protagonist. It may not pull in the big bucks, but in my opinion, it will make for a stronger, more interesting, more diverse movie.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I love a good action movie, and I’m a huge fan of comic books and superhero movies. But, I love diversity in my reading (and watching) material as well. Newt may not be your typical Hollywood movie hero and would likely not fit in well with the Avengers, for example. But I believe Rowling did not intend for this character to be typical, and Fantastic Beasts is not the same type of movie as the Marvel movies. And not only is that okay, it is fantastic! (See what I did there? 😉 )
What is your opinion on the use of the character Newt Scamander as the protagonist of Fantastic Beasts? Do you think he should remain the MC for the upcoming movies, as originally planned?
Please leave a comment below, or go to my FB author page to engage in a discussion of this topic.