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Feature
Wild Speculation, Based On Fact, About Harry Potter Spin-Off Fantastic Beasts
We wonder what to expect from J.K. Rowling’s return to her wizarding world

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On Thursday J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. announced that the author is writing the script for a new film based in the world of Harry Potter. It’s based on a short book that Rowling wrote for Comic Relief back in 2001 called Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, and will be set some 70 years before Mr Potter went up to Hogwarts. So what can we expect from the film? We have combed the books for the evidence, and here’s what we found…

WORDS HELEN O'HARA
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Wild Speculation, Based On Fact, About Harry Potter Spin-Off Fantastic Beasts | What We Know For Sure
What We Know For Sure

A film is in development at Warner Bros, based on J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. That’s a short book that she published in 2001, with all proceeds going to Comic Relief. But – and here’s where it gets complicated – the book is ‘actually’ a textbook that Harry and his friends use, written by a Professor Newt Scamander and – in the Potter universe – originally published in 1927. So we’re going to pretend that Rowling herself is not the author.

When Warners pitched Rowling the idea for a film adaptation based on the book and Scamander himself, she liked it but said that she couldn’t bear to see someone else write the screenplay – so she’s doing it herself. So on the other hand she definitely is the author.

Rowling’s announcement also made a few plot points clear. “Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for 17 years,” said the author, “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."

Since Harry heads to Hogwarts in 1991 (in the book's timeline), expect this to be set somewhere around 1921.

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Your Comments

1
making a wizard film about a character the same age as most the audience that were the same age as Harry Potter when the original books came out? clever. More

Posted by sipi on Tuesday September 17, 2013, 18:49

2 Casting
So Scamander should be English and in his early-to-mid-20s? Daniel Radcliffe! Hahahaha More

Posted by Madhava on Tuesday September 17, 2013, 14:02

3 Expand, don't dilute
If we're trying to get a Potterverse up and running, which mightn't necessarily be a bad thing, there's a serious danger that the crucial British flavour of HP might be lost. Two places where Beasts might fall down could be making the world a bit too American, or over-referencing exisitng characters and stories. With Rowling writing I think we can expect something rather brilliant, which is reassuring, but the final scene of Deathly Hallows proves that even the best writers can end up writing hideous fan-fic. Matt Smith would be fantastic, but he'd more or less be playing the Doctor again so I doubt he'd do it. Any other ideas for projects in the Potterverse? I'd be interested to see a TV show about Aurors working for the Ministry, in the vein of Agents of Shield More

Posted by bleugh07 on Monday September 16, 2013, 15:27

4
Exciting as this project is, the cynic in me is really thinking that Warner Bros are finally going to get their dream of a (sort of) Potterverse film that'll be set in America and with (probably) a high proportion of US actors in the cast. With the endlessly parochial attitude of US film execs, the fact that the existing, UK-cast and -centric Potter films made many billions at the box office probably didn't fizz on them at all! More

Posted by BelfastBoy on Monday September 16, 2013, 12:56

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