We can’t say we were too surprised back in September last year when Warner Bros. announced that Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling would be tapping one of her spin-off tomes, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. Now comes news that is equally unlikely to register highly on the shock-o-meter either: the studio is looking at crafting a franchise from the book.
Nestled within a New York Times profile of relatively new Warners CEO Kevin Tsujihara is a mention of his personal crusade to have Rowling expand the Potter movie universe.
“When I say he made Fantastic Beasts happen, it isn’t PR-speak but the literal truth,” Rowling tells the Times. “We had one dinner, a follow-up telephone call, and then I got out the rough draft that I’d thought was going to be an interesting bit of memorabilia for my kids and started rewriting!”
According to the profile, the resulting scripts will lead to three films. The book, of course, is credited to one Newt Scamander, a Magizoologist, whose story is set 70 years before Harry and co have their adventures.
"I thought it was a fun idea, but the idea of seeing Newt, the supposed author of Fantastic Beasts, realised by another writer was difficult,” Rowling said at the time of the original announcement. "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 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."
And now that extension will be ever bigger than we thought. There is currently no schedule for when the first film might arrive in cinemas, but let’s face it: you don’t rush Rowling.