Warner Bros. confirmed today that Oscar winning actor Eddie Redmayne will star as the lead character in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the Harry Potter spinoff penned by author J.K. Rowling.

Rumors about Redmayne’s involvement with the project had been circling for months. Variety was the first outlet to report, back in April, that the actor was the studio’s favorite to lead the new trilogy. The same report suggested at the time that one other actor that had been considered by the studio was X-Men’s Nicholas Hoult.

Speaking for the first time about the project, director David Yates said of today’s announcement, “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.”

Greg Silverman, WB President of Creative Development and Worldwide Production, added, “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.’”

No other casting announcements have been made at the time, but sources with inside knowledge have claimed that the studio is looking to cast at least three other main roles and, unlike with the original Harry Potter film series, not all of them will be going to British actors. The film will be set in 1920s New York City, roughly 70 years before the original saga’s story kicked off. Rowling has continuously explained that Fantastic Beasts “is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series but an extension of the wizarding world.”

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them will open in theaters on November 18, 2016. 

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