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Commentary: News of J.K. Rowling writing ‘Harry Potter’ spin-off film, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,’ exciting for some fans

September 12, 2013

dailey.176@osu.edu
'Harry Potter' author J.K. Rowling announced she is writing spin-off films set in the same wizard world as her previous novels.  The first will be called “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." Credit: Courtesy of MCT

‘Harry Potter’ author J.K. Rowling announced she is writing spin-off films set in the same wizard world as her previous novels.
The first will be called “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”
Credit: Courtesy of MCT

Pack up your wands and cauldrons, muggle-borns! Warner Bros. Entertainment is taking us back to the wizarding world.

The studio announced in a Thursday press release J.K. Rowling, author of the “Harry Potter” series, is set to make her screenplay debut with a movie adaption of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” based off the textbook of the same name student wizards and witches use at Hogwarts in the fictional universe.

“It is planned as the first picture in a new film series,” Kevin Tsujihara, chief executive officer of Warner Bros. Entertainment, said in the press release. “Set in the wizarding world, the story will feature magical creatures and characters, some of which will be familiar to devoted Harry Potter fans.”

OK, this is the part where you can scream like a fangirl.

You good?

Great.

Rowling, who wrote a version of the textbook for the British charity Comic Relief in 2001, said this movie is not a sequel or a prequel to the “Harry Potter” series, but is “an extension of the wizarding world.”

“I thought it was a fun idea,” Rowling said in response to Warner Bros. suggesting the book be turned into a film. “But the idea of seeing Newt Scamander, the supposed author of ‘Fantastic Beasts,’ realized by another writer was difficult.”

Rowling said after the studio suggested the idea, she then pitched her own, feeling protective of her fictional universe and already knowing the character Newt.

“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,” Rowling said. “But Newt’s story will start in New York, 70 years before Harry’s gets underway.”

Through a partnership with Rowling, Warner Bros. also plans to make a video game adaption of the film, as well as producing consumer products, digital initiatives businesses, including enhanced links with Pottermore.com, Rowling’s digital online experience built around the Harry Potter stories. A continued expansion of the Harry Potter theme park at Universal Parks and Resorts in Orlando, Fla., Hollywood, Calif. and Osaka, Japan is planned as well.

For Potter heads, this news is exciting for those who were left crying — some literally — for more at the end of last film in 2011. “Fantastic Beasts” has the potential to be an interesting insight to more information on the wizarding world we can’t get from the “Harry Potter” books. Obviously the film would not be a direct adaption of the textbook, but rather follow the adventures of Newt Scamander in a Hobbit-like, what-was-this-universe-like-before-this-series film.


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