Harry Potter Gets A Spin-off!…Sort Of
by Laura Mooney
Potterheads rejoice! On 12 September 2013, J.K. Rowling, along with Warner Brothers pictures, announced that they were not done with the wizarding world just yet. Rowling announced plans to adapt the short anthology of magical creatures entitled Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them into a full-length movie with the aid of the same production company that helped bring the Harry Potter world to life.
Although many fans of the series jumped to the conclusion that this was going to be a prequel to the beloved Harry Potter series, Rowling stands firm in saying that this will only be an extension of the wizarding world, simply because the events unfold nearly 70 years before Harry is even born. The book itself is mentioned numerous times throughout the Harry Potter series, having been assigned as one of the required textbooks for the young witches and wizards, and is essentially an anthology of all recorded magical creatures.
This news of the film adaptation comes as an immense surprise for fans seeing as the book was written back in 2001, and was such a small project compared to the mass success Rowling had with the Harry Potter series. Rowling originally wrote the anthology for the Comic Relief charity, and although it did not reach the success of her more famous books, she still ended up raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for needy children all over the world.
Rowling plans to have the film based around the life and adventures of its author, Newt Scamander, as he travels the world searching for all of the magical creatures hiding in the deepest, darkest corners of the wizarding world. Scamander also spent a few years as the headmaster of Hogwarts, which of course set off the many rumors that Albus Dumbledore would be making an appearance in the film, but Rowling has yet to comment on that speculation. However, since the book has a preface by Dumbledore himself, it would seem more than likely that the legendary wizard will make some sort of an appearance.
The film will also mark Rowling’s debut as a screenwriter, with Warner Brothers allowing the author to have complete control over the project, and truly allowing her to fully express her vision and bring it to life. Rowling has said, according to an Entertainment Weekly interview that, in reference to Newt Scamander, “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.” Due to her already immense interest in the Scamander character, Rowling could not have imagined anyone else writing his story.
The adaptation of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them into a feature film also creates the question among fans as to whether or not other textbooks and series within the Harry Potter universe will also be eventually adapted into movies. The possibilities are endless, with the inclusion of Gilderoy Lockhart’s complete series of novels accounting his preposterous adventures, and the accompaniment to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, entitled Quidditch Through the Ages. Many fans are not so secretly hoping that this initial adaptation will lead to a whole new series of spin offs based in the Harry Potter universe.
Although there is no set date yet for production to begin, the fact that this has been announced brings hope to all those who thought their journey through the wizarding world was over. It will provide us with a whole new outlook on the universe that J.K. Rowling created, and hopefully will mean that we will still be able to look forward to many more movies about wizards, magic, and magical creatures