In news that will have Potter fans rejoicing, Warner Bros. Entertainment today announced an expanded creative partnership with author J.K Rowling- featuring the creation of a new film series based on ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ which will see Rowling herself take on in a screenwriting debut.
The film series, the author was keen to point out as part of a statement released on her official Facebook page, will be ‘neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world’. The series will be set seventy years prior to before Harry’s own titular story, said by Warner Bros. Chief Executive Officer Kevin Tsujihara as ‘igniting a reading revolution around the world’. Excitingly, the film will shine a light on the wizarding world overseas, starting across the pond in New York, perhaps fulfilling any Potter fans curiosity as to just how exactly magical law and order works beyond the British Ministry of Magic.
Although Rowling didn’t suggest the movie herself, Warner Bros. being the ones to approach her with the premise, after considering the studios proposal, an ‘idea took place that I couldn’t dislodge’. This led to Rowling pitching her own idea, one obviously warmly received.
Our new hero will be Newt Scamander, familiar to even a casual Potter reader as the fictitious author within the series of the ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ classroom textbook. His grandson, Rolf Scamander later went on to marry series favourite Luna Lovegood.
Rowling published Scamander’s textbook itself in 2001 as part of a duo of short books in aid or raising money for Comic Relief. Together with it’s companion ‘Quidditch Through the Ages’, together they have raised over £17 million.
The film gives Rowling the opportunity to explore a character that she admires, and who a hard core Potter fan already knows well. Through the accompanying Pottermore website, Rowling revealed in-depth details about New Scamander, from his early life as a Hufflepuff student through a career in the Ministry of Magic, journeys as something of a magical zoologists and his sting as Headmaster of Hogwarts itself.
As part of the physical ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ book, Scamander introduces as having “..visited lairs, burrows and nests across five continents, observed the curious habits of magical beasts in a hundred countries, witnessed their powers, gained their trust and, on occasion, beaten them off with my travelling kettle.” Even though this is but a glimpse into the potential characterisation of the Scamander we could very well see on our screens, somehow the image of a wizarding Steve Irwin is conjured, perhaps with a thrilling dash of Indiana Jones.
Beyond the announcements from both Rowling and the Studio itself, little else is known about this new venture from the partnership the two have maintained for many years. All that we can safely assume is that this marks the beginning of an exciting new look at the wizarding world that made Rowling a success, embracing an as before unseen take of wizarding culture all set against the backdrop of New York in the 1920’s.
With collaborative efforts likely to extend to the video game market, Pottermore and potentially into merchandise and the Potter-themed theme parks, if you thought the Harry Potter trend was ever going to go somewhere else- you’re wrong.