Warner Bros. is clearly eager to keep the liquid cash flowing from the Harry Potter well, priming the pump by enticing the boy wizard’s creator J.K. Rowling to start adapting spin-off Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them as a potential new trilogy. We said back in March that no one would rush Rowling towards a release date, but the first film now has one anyway, headed to the US (and potentially here too) on November 18, 2016.
Aside from Rowling and the producers’ involvement, there are no other names announced just yet, though we imagine that the studio is already meeting potential directors.
The film, which will be very loosely based on Rowling's universe-expanding textbook about magical creatures, will be set in the wizarding world. It will feature creatures and characters both new and 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 sets foot in Hogwarts. That puts the setting somewhere around 1921, when Magizoologist and credited author of the book Newt 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 when the adaptation was first announced. "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."
So far, the new movie has that date to itself – and will studios be quick to challenge the Potter behemoth? While it’s true that a spin-off won’t have the same cache as more adventures with Harry and the rest, we doubt competitors will bet on tackling the pent-up years of demand for more magic…