Before you Potterheads get too excited, this movie takes place quite some time before the Boy Who Lived, well, lived. Rowling and Warner Bros. have partnered to bring "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," a textbook introduced in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone."
While there is currently no director or actual story, it looks like Warner Bros. and Rowling are planning this to be the first in a new series of films in the Potterverse. Rowling has stated that this first film, which will mark her screenwriting debut, is neither a sequel nor a prequel to the Harry Potter series. It will take place in New York 70 years before Harry and the gang were born and feature some of the magical creatures we were introduced to in the series and more. The story will also involve Newt Scamander, author of "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them."
In a press release, Rowling stated:
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.
I particularly want to thank Kevin Tsujihara of Warner Bros. for his support in this project, which would not have happened without him. I always said that I would only revisit the wizarding world if I had an idea that I was really excited about and this is it.
This isn't the only Rowling-related thing Warner Bros. has in the works, either. "Fantastic Beasts" is going to be widely developed across their brand, including a video game. They will also be globally distributing Rowling's collaboration with the BBC of her non-Potter novel, "The Casual Vacancy." The series goes into production sometime next year.
While the movie is still a hazy vision in Professor Trelawney's crystal ball, Potter fans across the globe should start brushing up on their "Care of Magical Creatures" guides. Just remember to stroke the spine. Those books bite.