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J.K. Rowling to pen more magical adventures for ‘Fantastic Beasts’ sequel

Warner Bros. is betting on the power of J.K. Rowling. The studio already has the famed Harry Potter author working on a sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them — a spinoff film not due to open for another three months. Warner Bros. announced today that the project is in the works, and that the follow-up is slated for a 2018 theatrical release, with director David Yates to return.

The Fantastic Beasts sequel will again center on magizoologist Newt Scamander, a young man with a passion for unique and often very dangerous magical creatures. Set prior to the adventures of Harry Potter, the second film in the new series will look at what is described as “an increasingly dark time for the wizarding world” that tests the allegiances of Scamander and his friends. Rowling has been busy educating fans on the world outside of Hogwarts, so this will give her a chance to delve even deeper.

Related: Animation based on J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts explores “American Hogwarts”

The Harry Potter franchise recently grew with the addition of a play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, keeping interest in the wizarding world high. Warner Bros. has struggled with its DC Extended Universe recently, so it is not altogether surprising to see the studio invest heavily in a franchise that has repeatedly turned out hits. What remains to be seen, however, is if Fantastic Beasts has the same magic.

The studio is turning to Harry Potter veterans, including Yates, who directed the final four films for the sequel. Although Yates only recently finished directing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, he evidently hasn’t tired of Rowling’s wizarding world. He has teamed up yet again with a familiar group of producers: Rowling, David Heyman, Steve Kloves, and Lionel Wigram. Niel Blair, Rick Senat, and Danny Cohen are set to executive produce.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them launches the spinoff series on November 18, 2016, with its sequel following on November 16, 2018.