But What Happened to the Billywig!?
I’m concerned. Now that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is out, and we know more than we did before about the start of the first wizarding war, theories abound on what might happen next and how this series will connect to characters and plot points we know from Potter. But this doesn’t concern me. What concerns me right now is that a poor, defenseless magical creature escaped into the terrifying bustle of 1920s New York City and was forgotten by his caretaker and left to his own devices to survive. I refer, of course, to the Billywig.
In the film, every escaped magical creature made it back into the case, save for one. Remember this little guy?
Yeah! Remember that little guy being put back into the case? Neither do I.
So what happened to him? Is he just out there now, confused and alone in a foreign environment, trying to find his way back to a familiar habitat? Is he starving? Are his little wings cold? Is he dead? Or… will he become a major player in the upcoming Fantastic Beasts films?
Let’s take stock of what we know about the Billywig. It’s blue. It has wings on top of its head that spin really fast, like a propeller, and it has a stinger. It’s native to Australia. According to Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, “its speed is such that it is rarely noticed by Muggles and often not by wizards until they have been stung.” So I guess we don’t have to be all that worried about it being noticed by Muggles and causing a breach of secrecy.
However, there is another reason to worry, and that is what happens to people when they get stung by one. Newt explains:
Those who have been stung by a Billywig suffer giddiness followed by levitation. Generations of young Australian witches and wizards have attempted to catch Billywigs and provoke them into stinging in order to enjoy these side effects, though too many stings may cause the victim to hover uncontrollably for days on end, and where there is a severe allergic reaction, permanent floating may ensue.
Wait, what? So wizards use Billywig stings to get high!? Rowling, this is a kids’ book! (Also, get it? “High”? Levitation? Eh?)
So poor Mr. Bill E. Wig, who is alone and defenseless in New York, is now in danger of being trafficked for drug use. Awesome. I think I’m really getting somewhere with this Billywig theory.
But there’s one other very important detail about the Billywig: Its stingers are used in certain potions and are suspected to be one of the ingredients of Fizzing Whizbees. Hmmm…
The way I see it, there are four possibilities for how this story will play out in the upcoming films:
- The Billywig will sting a belligerent hobo on the sidewalk, who actually ends up being an out-of-work wizard. After his levitating symptoms have subsided, the wizard realizes he was just stung by a Billywig and sets off to find it. He does, befriends the Billywig, and asks if he can experiment with recipes using Billywig stings. Thus, Fizzing Whisbees are invented. This makes the wizard incredibly rich, which also makes him neglect his friendship to the Billywig, who has to remind the wizard that he would be nothing if it weren’t for his sting! Nothing! The Billywig demands his share of the profits, and the film turns into a legal drama when the wizard challenges this on the grounds that the Billywig is a non-sentient animal.
- Gnarlak captures the Billywig for its powerful giddiness-and-levitation-inducing capabilities. He manages to illegally acquire a female Billywig and breed them. Thus begins the great Billywig drug cartel that ran in New York City from 1926-1929. The film follows the struggles of Gnarlak’s operation against the other crime lords of NYC. There’s lots of guns and blood and fedoras. The ongoing transition of the Potter franchise from childhood to adulthood is complete.
- Newt will realize his terrible, terrible mistake while on the boat back to England, and after arriving in the motherland will immediately get on another boat to New York, which will give him plenty of time to reflect on his horrible parenting and wallow in guilt. Meanwhile, the Billywig is left alone to fend for himself. He is terrorized by two bandits but manages to cleverly stave them off with various booby-traps, proving that he is smarter than his annoying family believed. On Christmas morning, Newt returns and apologizes to the Billywig. Everything ends happy; the bandits are caught, and the nice old man next door reconciles with his son. Wait a sec….
- The Billywig is never mentioned again, and the films continue as planned.