Warner Brother’s announced today that it has come to an agreement with writer J.K. Rowling to develop a series of films based around the book, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a 2009 companion to Rowling’s Harry Potter series of books that represents a Hogwarts textbook Harry and his schoolmates used in their studies.
The new series of films will focus on the the in-continuity writer of that book, Newt Scamander, and his adventures in the wizarding world some 70 years before Harry started his studies. The screenplay for the first film will be written by Rowling herself, the first time the author has written her characters for the big screen.
While Rowling makes it clear in her statement that the new series of films “is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world,”‘ I’m pretty sure Warners is going to promote it as being otherwise. The Harry Potter franchise was an enormous cash cow for the studio. The eight films adapted from the seven books of the main Harry Potter series earned a whopping $7,723,431,572 worldwide for Warners over the span of ten years. The studio will play up every connection they can between these new films and the original Harry Potter series.
And there is plenty of connections to be made. The character of Newt Scamander, in addition to writing the Hogwarts textbook, was also a headmaster at the school, worked for the Ministry of Magic, and his grandson, Rolf, was a character in the main series of books. So, there will be a connection to the original films, just not in the form of Harry, or even Hagrid, Snape or Dumbledore, appearing in the new set of films.