David Yates to direct Harry Potter prequel Fantastic Beasts

The Harry Potter prequel is bringing back a familiar face — behind the camera, at least — for the first installment of the upcoming prequel trilogy that will begin with Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.

Variety reports that director David Yates, who helmed the final four films in the Harry Potter franchise, is reportedly in talks to return to the wizarding world for Fantastic Beasts, which will be set some 70 years before the events of the Harry Potter films and follow “magizoologist” Newt Scamander in his pursuit of magical creatures to study and catalogue. The film is expected to be the first in a new trilogy based on the 2001 “textbook” penned by Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling.

While Yates has quite a bit of experience with the big-screen version of the Harry Potter universe, Rowling will make her screenwriting debut with Fantastic Beasts, which is scheduled to hit theaters November 18, 2016.

Given that the first series of films raked in more than $7 billion worldwide — making it the highest-grossing film franchise of all time, just ahead of Marvel’s cinematic universe — the competition for the lead role in Fantastic Beasts is certainly going to be closely followed (and contested). Franchise star Daniel Radcliffe has indicated that he doesn’t plan to return for a cameo in the trilogy (if such a thing is even possible, story-wise), though nothing is official at this point.

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