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There’s a certain finite element to the “Harry Potter” films that isn’t present in most sagas. That might seem like an odd sentiment, considering that there are eight of them, based on seven books, but in an age where a film saga seems to go on forever (in other news, “Fast and Furious 7” is in development), “Harry Potter” always had a definitive end, being based on a book series. That is, until last week, when the world’s most lucrative film franchise of all time suddenly felt that much bigger.
Author J.K. Rowling recently made the announcement that she was working on a screenplay for a spinoff film, set in the same universe, titled “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” a decision confirmed by Warner Brothers producer David Heyman.
Part of the reason the film series worked so well was it’s orbit around the creator of its fantastic world, Author J.K. Rowling, who, in a fairly unprecedented move, kept the creative rights to most of the characters, allowing her to take the books in the direction she wished while the films were being made. It was a successful idea; the film franchise alone has gone on to make over seven billion dollars at the international box office.
Since the final book, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” was released in 2007, Rowling has kept busy, with multiple philanthropic ventures, as well as other writing projects. Among these was “The Casual Vacancy”, a tragicomedy that was released in 2012, and “The Cuckoo’s Calling,” a crime-novel, released in secret under the pseudonym Robert Gallbraith in 2013.
The film is based on a book written by Rowling in 2001, during the early days of the Harry Potter phenomenon, which is itself based on a textbook read by the main characters during their stay at the mythical Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
The film is special, however, in that the screenplay is written by Rowling herself, despite earlier insistence that she was done with the series. To be fair, Rowling has made an effort to separate the new films from the earlier story. For example, the film will be set in the 1920s, and will presumably not feature any of the principal cast or characters that have defined the series.
The film does not have a set release date as of yet, but it seems to have the full support of Heyman and the producers at Warner Brothers, and for very good reason. Until more information is released, Harry Potter fans wait with baited breath.