JK Rowling To Write A HARRY POTTER Spin-Off Film, Seriously

Is it a return to a beloved world or a trip back to the well? Who knows. Or does it even matter when it’s JK Rowling planning to write something new in the Harry Potter universe? Does it affect your opinion to know she’s writing a new film (or more) and not a book?

Warner Bros announced this morning that they’ll be teaming with the author on a film based on Hogwarts textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The story would focus on the book’s writer Newt Scamander and is expected to be the first in a series, because of course it is.

Rowling explained a bit about the setting of the film.

“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 like this idea. It allows her to play in that familiar sandbox but with all new toys.

And speaking of toys, you didn’t think this was just going to be a movie, did you?

In addition to the film series, Fantastic Beasts will also be developed across the Studio’s video game, consumer products and digital initiatives businesses, including enhanced links with Pottermore.com, Rowling’s digital online experience built around the Harry Potter stories.

By the way, “consumer products” is huge umbrella term that means everything from t-shirts to toothbrushes to posters to Halloween costumes to, yes, toys. Also, is it wrong that I kind of really desperately want the video game to be exactly like that Pokemon one where you took their pictures, but here the pictures all move?

But why did Rowling decide to try her hand at writing a film?

“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.”

She really just wrestled control of her franchise back from a gigantic corporate entity. I’m impressed. And more than a little excited to see what she does with the character.

Beasts

 

If you’re interested, here’s the full press release.

Warner Bros. Entertainment today announced an expanded creative partnership with world-renowned, best-selling author J.K. Rowling. At the center of the partnership is a new film series from Rowling’s world of witches and wizards, inspired by Harry Potter’s Hogwarts textbook “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” and the adventures of the book’s fictitious author, Newt Scamander. The announcement was made by Kevin Tsujihara, Chief Executive Officer, Warner Bros. Entertainment.

 

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” will be an original story and will mark Rowling’s screenwriting debut. It is planned as the first picture in a new film series. Set in the wizarding world, the story will feature magical creatures and characters, some of which will be familiar to devoted Harry Potter fans.

 

“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,” said Rowling. “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.”

 

“We are incredibly honored that Jo has chosen to partner with Warner Bros. on this exciting new exploration of the world of wizardry which has been tremendously successful across all of our businesses,” said Tsujihara. “She is an extraordinary writer, who ignited a reading revolution around the world, which then became an unprecedented film phenomenon. We know that audiences will be as excited as we are to see what her brilliant and boundless imagination conjures up for us.”

 

In addition to the film series, “Fantastic Beasts” will also be developed across the Studio’s video game, consumer products and digital initiatives businesses, including enhanced links with Pottermore.com, Rowling’s digital online experience built around the Harry Potter stories.

 

The Studio’s expanded partnership with Rowling also covers the continued expansion of its Harry Potter activities, including the wonderful Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme parks in conjunction with partner Universal Parks and Resorts (currently in Orlando, FL; opening in Hollywood, CA and Osaka, Japan), digital initiatives (including Pottermore), video games, consumer products and visitor attractions.

 

In addition, Warner Bros. will serve as the worldwide TV distributor (excluding the U.K.) of J.K. Rowling’s upcoming television adaptation for the BBC of “The Casual Vacancy,” her best-selling first novel aimed at adult audiences. This miniseries begins production in 2014.

 

The relationship will be managed in London by Neil Blair of The Blair Partnership, Rowling’s literary agency, and Josh Berger, President & Managing Director, Warner Bros. UK, Ireland and Spain, who will serve as Warner Bros.’ chief business contact for all J.K. Rowling initiatives going forward.

 

Rowling’s expanded quote regarding “Fantastic Beasts” is below:

 

“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 particularly want to thank Kevin Tsujihara of Warner Bros. for his support in this project, which would not have happened without him. 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.”

Skott Stotland is a thousand monkeys in a man suit. He has been writing for the internet for over a decade.

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