Many were surprised by J.K. Rowling’s announcement that the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them movie will form the first of five movies within the franchise. The surprise was really for two reasons; prior to this, it had been widely touted and understood that Fantastic Beasts would be a trilogy, and second, where on Earth was all the material for five movies going to come from?
Well, as screenplay writer on the Fantastic Beasts movies, Rowling is confident in her ability to deliver, and her previous track record would certainly suggest that she has the ability to develop a wide story arc that keeps viewers gripped throughout – though many fans still have concerns. Rowling, however, has none. Taking to her Twitter account, Rowling sought to ease fans worries over whether a five film franchise can be viable, and also to confirm that there is, indeed, five movies.
Part of the issue with Fantastic Beasts now being five movies, rather than 1-3 films, seems to come from the fact that fans have no source material to confirm the need for all these movies in the first place (something that wasn’t the case with Wizarding World films past). Usually, a studio would see how the first movie fared before announcing even one sequel, let alone four, but Warner Bros. Pictures seems to think Fantastic Beasts’ box office success is a sure-fire thing. So, without anything to go on, fans are understandably questioning why there has to be so many films.
Here’s what Rowling has offered to concerned fans about the Fantastic Beasts movies, thus far:
Rowling’s reference to “not a prequel” refers to the many questions she received about the plot of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which she had to vehemently remind people was not going to serve as a prequel to the Harry Potter stories. Fantastic Beasts, however, is a prequel of sorts in that it tells the story of Newt Scamander, a magizoologist in 1920s New York. As the timeline currently stands, Newt’s grandson, Rolf, eventually marries Luna Lovegood; not to mention the fact that the Fantastic Beasts book that Newt writes is studied at Hogwarts by Harry, Ron and Hermione, but all that is really a somewhat tenuous connection to the Harry Potter timeline of events. What matters, really, is that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is now going to become one of five movies focusing on its own Wizarding universe and timeline, introducing new characters that, Rowling assures us, have a story to tell that necessitates five, full length movies. Of course, what length of time these five movies will span could be a clue as to the ‘natural arc’, too. Will Rowling eventually connect Newt Scamander’s timeline with Harry Potter’s?
It is perhaps not very magnanimous to suggest that money has played a large part here; after all, Rowling is renowned for giving away large parts of her fortune and it would seem as though she has a depth of love for the magical world of her creation that far surpasses any need or desire to keep Warner Bros. on side, so it could well be that she really feels this story needs to be told in this way. However, there’s no doubt that Warner Bros. will be laughing all the way to the bank; especially when you consider how much they’ve already made off the back of Rowling’s works. The buzz for Fantastic Beasts is already huge on social media, and it seems as though Warner Bros. are confident that the movie will live up to the hype and then some. However, it also seems as though Fantastic Beasts (part one) will now just serve as an introduction to Newt Scamander’s world, so fans shouldn’t expect there to be a satisfactory conclusion to this installment. Indeed, that might not actually come until the end of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, part 5.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be released in theaters on November 18, 2016