Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them introduced us to Newt Scamander, the lovable (and naive) magizoologist whose magical creatures were accidentally set loose in New York City, but astute fans will notice that it’s not his first time appearing in the Harry Potter cinematic universe.
Yes, he is the author of the Fantastic Beasts textbook owned by Hogwarts students—with a Muggle-friendly, printed version published with a little help from J.K. Rowling. But his cinematic debut, albiet fleeting, happened much earlier.
In Prisoner of Azkaban, Newt Scamander’s name was one of many that appeared on the Marauder’s Map, viewable when Harry receives it from the Weasley twins.
— KLIPS (@klipsmalaysia) November 20, 2016
While Fantastic Beasts brings Newt’s appearance to the forefront, fans noticed his name on the map since at least 2015. Why was he there? It’s anyone’s guess really. We could tie in the trial of Buckbeak the Hippogriff—as Newt particularly cared for magical creatures—or that we’re witnessing the moment Newt visited Albus Dumbledore to ask him to write the Foreword for the latest edition of Fantastic Beasts around late 1993 (when Harry was in his third year at Hogwarts.)
We know that Newt and Tina Goldstein are alive and well by the time Fantastic Beasts is published with Dumbledore’s Foreward, although it’s unclear if it was published in the wizarding world prior to Dumbledore’s death; the book arrived in the Muggle world in 2001, about four years after Dumbledore’s death.
It also nulls a previous Easter egg appearance from Newt in the films courtesy of a Hogwarts Headmaster portrait in a previous Harry Potter film, which appeared to suggest that not only was Newt a Hogwarts headmaster, but he was also dead. We now know neither of these were the case, and as of 2015 Newt is still perfectly alive, according to Pottermore.
Chances are that including Newt’s name on the map was nothing more than an excuse to use a good name. But now that he’s the hero of his own tale, the possibility that it means more is already leaping off the page.