‘Harry Potter’ spinoff series will be 'extension of the wizarding world,' Rowling says

By Jeff Peterson

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 17 2013 11:58 a.m. MDT

Since the adventures of Harry, Ron and Hermione came to an end in 2007’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” fans have been clamoring for author J.K. Rowling to revisit the magical world of witches and wizards in some fashion.

Well, it looks like that could happen sooner rather than later.

On Thursday, Warner Bros. announced plans to continue its lucrative partnership with Rowling in the form of a brand-new film series set in the Potter-verse.

The new franchise will be inspired by the book “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” one of the required texts for students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Stepping into the role of protagonist will be the book’s author, Newton Artemis Fido “Newt” Scamander.

The new films will also mark Rowling’s debut as a screenwriter. As the best-selling author described in an announcement via her official Facebook page, “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 hardcore Harry Potter fans will know, I liked him so much that I even married his grandson, Rolf, to one of my favorite characters from the Harry Potter series, Luna Lovegood. As I considered (Warner Bros.’) 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.”

However, don’t expect to see Harry and company make any appearances. The new series will take place long before the events of the original seven books and, at least at first, on a completely different continent.

“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,” writes Rowling, “but Newt’s story will start in New York, 70 years before Harry’s gets underway.” She also noted the new franchise will be “neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world.”

In a press release from Warner Bros., studio head Kevin Tsujihara said, “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.

"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.”

Audiences aren’t the only ones looking forward to the opportunity to return to Rowling’s universe, though. “I always said that I would only revisit the wizarding world if I had an idea that I was really excited about,” wrote Rowling in her message on Facebook, “and this is it.”

Expect more news regarding "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" in upcoming months. For the time being, though, just relish the fact that there are more stories from the Potter-verse coming our way.

A native of Utah Valley and a devoted cinephile, Jeff Peterson is currently studying humanities and history at Brigham Young University.

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