In September of last year it was revealed that J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame was writing a screenplay for a film based on a textbook out of Hogwarts entitled Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (by “Newt Scamander”). Today it has been revealed that Warner Brothers has convinced Rowling that the book can be expanded into a three-film series rather than a single offering. This means that the latest movie adventure into J.K. Rowling’s now-famous wizarding world will feature three movies worth of magical and often dangerous beasts seen only in passing in the eight-film Harry Potter series.
Set approximately seventy years before the adventures of Harry and his friends, this series is not written as a prequel, but more as a set of stories which fill out more of the wizarding world’s culture and history, and flesh out the events in the Hogwarts textbook. The films will spotlight the adventures of Newt Scamander as he travels the world cataloging the mysterious and elusive magical creatures known in Harry’s time.
Of course, some of the witches and wizards made famous in Harry’s stories are quite long-lived, so it is possible indeed that a good many fondly-remembered names might come up in passing or even make the occasional cameo. Professor Dumbledore comes to mind, of course, having been in existence since 1881. Will Newt Scamander cross paths with the redoubtable Professor and future Headmaster of Hogwarts?
Such questions are unlikely to be answered before the new film trilogy is released. Rowling so far insists only that this film series will not contain enough material pertaining to Harry’s adventures to be considered a prequel in any way, except of course in that it informs the reader’s understanding of the environment to which Tom Riddle would be born in 1926.
Of course, Tom Riddle would not declare himself as Lord Voldemort until long after departing Hogwarts in the 1940s, so it is likely that Rowling is telling no lies in saying that the events in Fantastic Beasts will not directly speak to the events of the Harry Potter series. Rowling’s writing style, however, has been shown to carry great appeal to readers of all ages, and thus it is possible that the films based on the Scamander textbook will manage to garner a following despite a lack of direct connection to her previous hero’s saga.
Instead, it is possible to project that the new Rowling script will feature the same childlike wonder that permeates the original saga as it catalogs three movies worth of magical beasts and their odd cultures and environments. From more familiar creatures such as unicorns, hippogriffs, and dragons to giants and other more human-like forms, the Scamander textbook used by Hogwarts students includes observations on other races as well. In the upcoming film adaptation of the book, readers and moviegoers may possibly look forward to deeper revelations on the culture of centaurs, the antecedents of house elves, and the environments of the veela as seen through the eyes of the wizard Scamander.
Rowling’s announcement, with Warner Brothers, that the new wizarding movie would be expanded to a three-film series is likely to be met both with sorrow for its proposed lack of Potter-related trivia as well as joy for the opportunity to return to the magical world in which the Potter films and novels took place. For the die-hard fans of the wizarding world, the promise of two more films filled with magic and wonder will be unlikely to displease. The new three-movie script based on Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them proposes to give theatergoers their money’s worth in travels with magical creatures and in pursuit of Scamander’s wondrous adventures.
By Kat Turner