It’s fair to say that the excitement generated by Warner Bros Studio’s announcement that it would be continuing the Harry Potter film franchise – with JK Rowling on scriptwriting duties no less – was quickly replaced with bewilderment once it was confirmed that these new films would be based off flimsy tie-in novel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Since then, the signing of Eddie Redmayne as lead Newt Scamander and glimpses of never-before-seen magical New York have slowly brought fans on board with this undoubtedly left field choice.
Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that those longing to see a sequel to the series will get their wish with the upcoming West End show Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which will surely make the leap to the silver screen in the near future.
Still, one wonders what other tales of the Wizarding World might make it to the big and small screens between now and then, given the richness of the fictional universe Rowling has created – not to mention the willingness of Warner Bros to green light anything related to The Boy Who Lived quicker than you can say,“Accio cash!”.
So despite most wizards and witches looking down at the admittedly-spotty art of Divination, let’s make like Professor Trelawney and see if we can’t forecast five more potential Harry Potter spin-offs headed our way!
5. Quidditch Through the Ages
Why not? After all, fellow charity benefit release Fantastic Beasts hardly seemed a logical choice at first, either.
That said, I can’t really see this one sustaining a full feature-length film, let alone a trilogy. No, an adaptation of Quidditch Through the Ages would probably work best as a one-off special for TV/streaming services.
Given Rowling has previously expressed her relief over never having to write further fixtures of the Wizarding World’s favourite sport, it seems unlikely that she would pen this one herself.
But under her guidance, I’m confident another talented scribe could make this work as a whimsical, Horrible Histories-style mockumentary – possibly hosted by Ludo Bagman! – covering the rise and rise of the most dangerous recreational activity that never was
4. The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore
As you’ll soon work out, every entry on this list is based off an existing piece of Harry Potter fiction published either in our (Muggle) world or within the series itself, with The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore hailing from the latter category.
As the title would suggest, this film would function as an origin for everyone’s favourite supremely powerful headmaster, one which would cover much of the material revealed in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but cut from the film adaptation.
As those who have read the novel (and spoiler warning for those who haven’t yet) will know, Dumbledore’s backstory is a tragic one, and the film’s title would be meant ironically, unlike it’s use in Rita Skeeter’s original trashy tome.
Not only would The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore cover the venerable wizard’s early days – including his troubled family life and near-seduction to the Dark Arts – it could also potentially further explore the beginnings of the man who would become Lord Voldemort and link up with another spin-off starring the Marauders (more on that later).
More importantly though, this would be the first major blockbuster film (to my knowledge) to feature a gay protagonist.
Some of you are no doubt rolling your eyes over me bringing up something many fans consider non-canon, however I’ll argue to the day I die that not only is Dumbledore’s sexuality pretty heavily suggested in Deathly Hallows, but also that Rowling is absolutely right when she describes (in an interview with Edinburgh Student newspaper) it as being important to justifying his behaviour as a young man:
“…he flirted with the idea of racial domination, that he was going to subjugate the Muggles… He’s an innately good man, what would make him do that?…I thought ‘I know why he did it, he fell in love’…he fell in love and was made an utter fool of by love. He lost his moral compass completely when he fell in love…”
Imagine how emotional a film would be that depicted Dumbledore falling in love with obvious no-goodnik Grindlewald only to be snapped back to reality when that infatuation leads to the death of his vulnerable younger sister? Think of what the moment would be like when the two finally face off years later in a duel made spectacular not merely for the magic on display, but the raw feelings as well.
But most of all, picture how inspired audiences would be after seeing a movie about a man who ultimately becomes a champion of the very force that so badly humiliated him, and who transforms himself into a role model who is clever, brave and compassionate, and just so happens to be gay.
3. The Tales of Beedle the Bard
Another one for the small screen, The Tales of Beedle the Bard would almost certainly work best as an anthology series, with each episode featuring a different wizarding fairytale.
I’m picturing something like Jim Henson’s The Storyteller, right down to the inclusion of framing scenes featuring the show’s narrator – probably a new character, and most likely a Hogwarts professor.
Thanks to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part I, we’ve already seen “The Tale of the Three Brothers” brought to life, so it’s clear that these stories (and others like them) will translate to magic when realised in live-action, and the series would be able to start with Rowling’s five original stories, before branching out to create new ones.
2. A History of Magic
Hogwarts was founded by the four greatest wizards and witches of the age many centuries ago, and it stands to reason that their legendary story should be told in full.
After all, what we do know of the school’s origins and the lives of Godric Gryffindor, Rowena Ravenclaw, Helga Hufflepuff and Salazar Slytherin makes it pretty clear that this would really soar on screen.
Not only would we get to see the Wizarding World during a vastly different time period, but watching the Four Founders come together to build the School, only for their relationships to breakdown – quite dramatically, in the case of eventual Dark Wizard Slytherin – means that pathos is virtually guaranteed.
(As an aside, I know hardcore fans will argue that a film like this should really be called Hogwarts, A History, but that’s a pretty rubbish title for a movie.)
1. The Marauders
Back in 2008, JK Rowling caused a massive stir by writing the opening chapter of an untitled Harry Potter prequel, once again in aid of charity.
While the author quickly made it clear she had no plans to ever write a book about the adventures of James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and (boo! hiss!) Peter Pettigrew, there were a lot of fans left wishing she’d reconsider.
While I’m not really sure that this should happen, it’s hard to deny that it would be nice to see a lot of the history surrounding the group who called themselves “The Marauders” brought to life on screen, as this constitutes yet more content that was either condensed or excised from the cinematic franchise.
There’s also plenty that we haven’t seen in either novel or film, including how James finally grew into the man whom Lily fell in love with, and the three times they defied Lord Voldemort together (as outlined in the prophecy central to the latter instalments in the original series).
We’d also get a glimpse of James and Sirius as the Fred and George Weasley of their era, ensuring that the movie has more than its fair share of fun and laughter.
More poignantly, however, is the fact that our knowledge of the fates of each of these characters – especially James and Lily – would add an extra layer of tragedy to the story, with even the happiest moments in the film tinged with a hauntingly bittersweet quality.
It’s time to say “Mischief managed” on this edition of Crystall Ball – now it’s over to you! Which of these spin-offs would you like to see? What others should also be considered? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook!