When Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them arrived in cinemas back in 2016, there was never really any doubt it would be a commercial success. As a continuation of the blockbuster Harry Potter film franchise, David Yates’ film was as close as it comes to a guaranteed box office hit – but the real question was whether it would actually be any good.
Fortunately, it was. Penned by JK Rowling – author of the original book series – Fantastic Beasts felt like an authentic extension of the existing universe, even as it introduced us to new characters and environments. Eddie Redmayne’s magizoologist Newt Scamander proved a suitably likeable replacement for everyone’s favourite boy wizard, and the 1920s setting provided a fresh new spin on a world at risk of becoming stale eight movies on.
Fast forward two years, and a sequel looms on the horizon. Due for release in November, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald seems poised to enchant audiences all over again. Here are five major things we learned from the recent trailer.
When the Harry Potter film franchise ended with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows back in 2011, a lot of fans still weren’t quite ready to say goodbye. Although many had already bid the Boy Who Lived farewell once before in the pages of the final novel of the series, it seemed that their appetite for further escapades set in the Wizarding World was far from satisfied.
In the years since then, creator JK Rowling has released a few tiny morsels that served to only feed this hunger – a tantalising opening chapter for a non-existent prequel novel and The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a collection of related fairy tales, both came out in 2009 – but it wasn’t until this year that Potterheads hanging out for a new, fully-fledged adventure were properly rewarded.
The first of these was Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the two-part stage show epic that continued (and concluded?) Harry’s story. The second of these was Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the first film in a new spin-off franchise, which – despite being set 70 years in the series’ past – looks set to ensure the future popularity of the franchise.
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!