In the immortal words of Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, “Help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it.” Since the end credits began rolling on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, fans of JK Rowling’s immensely popular series have been desperately asking her for more about the enchantingly magical universe. Much to their delight, a Facebook announcement last month from Rowling herself has made it clear that “All was well” will not be that last we hear of the wizarding world. After years of anticipation, JK Rowling and Warner Bros. have announced that they are planning to kick-start a new series based around the textbooks used by students of witchcraft and wizardry, starting with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
According to Rowling, the new films will be “neither a prequel nor a sequel to the ‘Harry Potter’ series, but an extension of the wizarding world.” Instead, Fantastic Beasts will be set in New York about seventy years before we met the boy in the cupboard under the stairs, and will be based around the adventures of Newt Scamander, the fictional textbook’s author. Scamander is also, as close-reading fans will recall, the grandfather of Luna Lovegood’s husband upon the ending of the Harry Potter series, Rolf Scamander.
Rowling is to write the screenplay for the films herself, and it is speculated that David Heyman, producer of all eight Potter films, may be joining the project as well. While Potter star Daniel Radcliffe has confirmed that he will not make an appearance in the new films, Warner Bros. has noted that some characters may be “familiar to devoted Harry Potter fans.”
Rowling’s announcement has been met with a wave of excitement from Potter fans, but some have expressed fears for the new series. Will it turn out to be just an unnecessary addition to the classic story we all accepted as over? Will Harry Potter fall victim to sequel syndrome? David Heyman attempts to dispel these fears, remarking that Rowling “had no need to go back to this universe or world…. She’s chosen to do so because she felt the need to tell a story, that she’s doing it means that it’s going to be very, very special.”
Warner Bros. has not yet publicized an estimated release date for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, nor has any guess been made public regarding how many films will be included in the series, but we can be sure that fans will be held in breathless anticipation to the very end, waiting to return home to the magic we thought disappeared.