Sep 12 2013 10:45am

J.K. Rowling to Make Screenwriting Debut in Film Series That Takes Place in the Potter Universe

j.k. rowling, harry potter

Warner Brothers still has all the rights to Harry Potter tied up for forever, but now that all the Potter films have been released, what on Earth were they to do with them? Fear not, Potter fans. J.K. Rowling has found a way....

So, who wants a movie version of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them?

j.k. rowling, harry potter, fantastic beast and where to find them

That’s right, that slim book set that Rowling wrote for charity is coming to the big screen in the form of “author” Newt Scamander’s journey to find those Fantastic Beasts. According to Warner Brothers, it will kick off an entire new film series because they need something to keep them going before they can remake the Potter films, right?

But perhaps more interesting is that J.K. Rowling herself is set to write the screenplay. It turns out this was all her idea—more of how it came about 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."

Warner Brothers will also be distributing a television adaptation of Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. In case you were really broken up about that being ignored or something.

Knowing that Rowling pitched the idea herself is something of a relief, but who know how an in-universe Potter film set nearly a century before the main action is going to play with non-hardcore fans? Only time will tell....

1. Galena
I don't even care about the details, I'm just so excited to have more Harry Potter universe!
Thomas Thatcher
2. StrongDreams
It will need a really strong stand alone story to succeed, just the shared universe isn't enough. Curious to see how it turns out. Are there any other examples movies of side-stories set in larger universes that have worked well? (Lots of examples in print, but movies?)
3. Cybersnark
I am intrigued.
4. sofrina
get cuaron to direct and it will be swell.
Adam S.
Wow. At least JK Rowling is involved. The HP films were not as good as the books, and I'm a little skeptical of this venture in general, but I'll still probably see it. I've always wanted to see what the wizarding world in New York is like.
Chris Nelly
6. Aeryl
Yeah, I can't believe how they changed Neville's triumph, or did not give us that AWESOME scene of the house elves swarming to the attack at Hogwarts, with the centuars bursting in.

Some of the changes I understood and accepted(though they spent WAY TOO MUCH time on Ron's love story in HBP), but those, in the final fight scene, that was just criminal.
Matt Stoumbaugh
8. LazerWulf
Has J.K. done any screenwriting before? Because it's a completely different beast than novelization.

I know Gaiman has done both, and GRRM pens one GoT script a season, but that doesn't mean all writers can make the transition.
9. Stefan Jones

I'd rather see Rowling write more mysteries, or maybe some polemics about education and class.

But I wouldn't turn up my nose at more Potterverse adventures.

I recall that at least one of the Weasely brothers was a magical creature wrangler. Conceivably the new adventures could involve him, with token guest appearances by his brother and his friends.

Also, I've always wondered how Asia and the Americas figure into the Potterverse.
10. mirana
So WB should get del Toro to direct/lead conceptualization and they'd be completely solid.
Chris Nelly
11. Aeryl
@8, GRRM also got his start in TV shows, so that helps.
Michael Dauben
12. mdauben
As fun as it would be to see more of the magical world of the Potter stories, the strength of the books and movies themselves was always the three main characters and without them I can't see this ever being more than an interesting supplement to the original stories.

Not that this will stop me from seeing the new movie whenever it is released. ;-)
Ellen Cheeseman-Meyer
13. EllenMCM
MEEEEEE!!!!! I want it!

It might be bad, but the last Star Trek movie was bad, and I wanted that. We're talking about a Harry Potter Universe movie set in New York in the 1920s. It could be gritty and urban. It could involve much more contact between muggles and wizards over the corpses of exotic and dangerous magical beasts and without the neo-fascist controlling influnce of the Ministry of Magic. It could involve illicit hooch. I'm recovering from pneumonia and having reactive airway issues, so I am actually having to be careful NOT to contemplate all the possibilities lest I get overexcited and have an asthma attack. When I think too hard about Prohibition and the Jazz Age, I have to counter by thinking about the possibility that Benedict Cumberbatch will be cast as Newt Scamander.
14. Saralyn
Wait, there are non-hardcore Potter fans??
Alan Brown
15. AlanBrown
Oh dear God, more prequels. Hasn't Hollywood learned the dangers of such projects? But if they are careful, and set it in the same universe without tying themselves to the Potter narrative, so it stands on its own two feet, it might turn out quite nicely. I certainly hope it does, as I am fond of Rowling's fictional universe.
Alexander Gieg
16. alexgieg
If this works we can expect to see some more ambitious stuff down the line. Start in the 1920's and you can have the characters meeting Dumbledore and Grindelwald (whether their romance will appear is anyone's guess). Advance a few movies and we're talking about a whole arc about the formation of a pre-Order of the Phoenix and the fight to end the magical counterpart to World War 2, maybe even scenes with Dumbledores and Churchill best pals vs. Grindelwald and Hitler one using the other for their own objectives, and so on and so forth.

That'll be interesting. :-)
17. Jules-Pierre
I'm thrilled but confused at the same time. I heard earlier last week that Rowling was going to write two new Potter books, and now this announcement for a new movie. Are those two projects one and the same, or are we going to get both a new book series and a movie, which would be all kind of awsum...

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