Abandon all cynicism those who enter here, because Warner Bros. has put the wizarding world back in motion. News is just in that J. K. Rowling is working on a new movie set in the world of Harry Potter, her first screenplay and a possible launchpad for a whole Potter-ish franchise.
The film, which will be based on Rowling's (officially, Magizoologist Newt Scamander's) universe-expanding Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, will be set in the wizarding world. It will feature creatures and characters - some new, some already familiar to Potter fans - and, promises Rowling, will be "neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world" set 70 years before Harry Potter sets foot in Hogwarts. That puts it somewhere around 1921, when Scamander would have been about 24 according to in-world chronology.
"It all started when Warner Bros. came to me with the suggestion of turning Fantastic Beasts into a film," Rowling explained in a statement. "I thought it was a fun idea, but the idea of seeing Newt Scamander, the supposed author of Fantastic Beasts, realised by another writer was difficult. Having lived for so long in my fictional universe, I feel very protective of it and I already knew a lot about Newt. As hardcore Harry Potter fans will know, I liked him so much that I even married his grandson, Rolf, to one of my favourite characters from the Harry Potter series, Luna Lovegood."
Rowling continued: "As I considered Warners’ proposal, an idea took shape that I couldn't dislodge. Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for 17 years, Fantastic Beasts is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world. The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt's story will start in New York, seventy years before Harry's gets underway."
It was Warner Bros. Entertainment's CEO, Kevin Tsujihara, who made the announcement, so there's none of the usual scuttlebutt to wade through: this comes by official owl. The studio also confirmed a creative partnership across its video game and merchandising divisions, as well as additional content for Rowling's Pottermore.com website.
Frankly, we're thoroughly intrigued by this - a Jazz Age wizarding tale? Potter meets Gatsby? And all with a selection of fantastical beasties? Sign us up!