The world of Harry Potter is – pardon the pun – a magical place, and while the adventures of the Boy Who Lived may have been wrapped up and packed away in the cupboard under the stairs, there are still plenty of stories left to tell. And no, I’m not talking about the dodgy fan fiction featuring inappropriate situations between the Weasley twins.
And now author and all around super rich lady JK Rowling is finally taking fans of the series back there, with a new spinoff film franchise.
Hardcore Pott-heads (that’s what they’re called, right?) should recognize the name of Newt Scamander as the fictitious, adventurous author of one of Harry’s wizarding school textbooks, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”. Warner Bros, the owner of the film franchise, and never ones to turn down new ways to make more money, planned to turn the fictitious book itself into a new film, but Rowling - who will be making her screenwriting debut on the project – had some other ideas, as she explained (via ComingSoon):
“It all started when Warner Bros. came to me with the suggestion of turning ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ into a film. I thought it was a fun idea, but the idea of seeing Newt Scamander, the supposed author of ‘Fantastic Beasts,’ realized 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 hard-core 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.
As I considered Warners’ proposal, an idea took shape that I couldn’t dislodge. That is how I ended up pitching my own idea for a film to Warner Bros.
Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for seventeen years, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ 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.”
“I always said that I would only revisit the wizarding world if I had an idea that I was really excited about and this is it.”
Along with the new film franchise, WB will also be looking to introduce the tale of Newt Scamander to their “video game, consumer products and digital initiatives businesses”. Please see above about not turning down more ways to make money.
While this is clearly just a cash cow milking exercise from WB, I have faith in Rowling. She’s proven unquestionably that she’s not in this for the money (she may be one of the richest women in the world, but you would swear that she was allergic to cash at the rate that she gives it away to charity) and she genuinely seems to care about this world she’s created. And by choosing to pen the script herself, she’s giving me – a huge fan of the books and films – some serious reassurance that we’re in for another enjoyable jaunt in this amazing world where anything can happen. Yes, even gingers having friends.