Last week, news broke that J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. have intentions of producing a new film that takes place within the wizarding world as set forth in the Harry Potter series.
There has been some confusion as to whether or not this will be a prequel, sequel or what-have-you to the 8-part Harry Potter film series. Rowling has confirmed that the screenplay she will be writing will be based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The book, initially introduced to readers in the The Philospoher’s Stone as one of the Hogwarts student textbooks. In 2001, both Fantastic Beasts and Quidditch Through the Ages were written by Rowling as part of the Harry Potter Schoolbooks collection. Now, Rowling has stated that she intends to write a screenplay about Fantastic Beasts’ fictitious author, Newt Scamander* and his adventures.
*For major Harry Potter buffs, they will also note that Scamander was an esteemed Hogwarts Headmaster as well as a Magizoologist (magical creatures expert.)
It is anticipated that Rowling’s first screenplay will the first in a series of films depicting the earlier ages of the Wizarding world, pre-Voldemort.
As a major Potterhead, I have mixed feelings about this news. On one level, this could be the exact thing I’ve been praying for to extend the popularity and permanence of Harry Potter. Since this is not a direct sequel, there is potential that Rowling will get to explore the depth of the Wizarding world across cultures and times, which could be really wonderful. There is a whole world beyond Hogwarts, and it would be fascinating for old and new fans alike to see the greater world of magic. There’s also the added benefit that more movies equals more merchandise… and you can never have enough wizard swag in my opinion.
That being said, this could also be a commercial disaster. These films could be 1) horrendous 2) desperate grabs for money lacking any true interest or 3) not interesting to the audience, therefore flops. Heck, they could be all three. If these movies fail, than we can kiss any hopes of more Potter content goodbye…
I refuse to judge the endeavor until the “proof is in the pudding” and the movie is actually produced, but I am cautiously anticipating another jaunt through the Wizarding world.