Today is a good day for Harry Potter fans – not to mention Warner Bros. stock holders. WB Entertainment announced via a press release that a new series based on the Harry Potter universe is on the way. The series, which will start with an original screenplay from J.K. Rowling, will be based on a textbook mentioned in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (aka Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone).
The plan is to create a series of films, video games, and other products based on the adventures of “Newt Scamander,” author of the fictional text book “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” Those adventures will take place close to a century in the past, meaning the series will be entirely sans Harry himself (beyond a possible cameo).
This marks Rowling’s first foray into screenwriting. Initially the idea for the new Potter-free Potter films came from Warner Bros. itself, who were unsurprisingly excited by the potential to keep the franchise alive. The eight Harry Potter films earned over $7.8 billion worldwide, which is roughly the equivalent of the entire GDP of Haiti.
WB had hoped to get Rowling’s approval for the project. Instead they got Rowling herself.
“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,” Rowling said in a statement. “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 favorite 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.”
The film will also be the first real look at the wizardry world beyond the confines of Britain (and the scattering of other locales fleetingly mentioned in the books). The series will begin in New York, 70 years before Harry’s adventures began.