How do you make a successful Harry Potter prequel without Harry Potter? J.K. Rowling’s new spinoff, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, travels back nearly 70 years to 1926 before the events of the first Potter movie to tell a whole new story in a new setting with (almost) all new characters. Reviving the magical universe from the second biggest franchise of all time is a pretty risky move, but Fantastic Beasts does a good job of blending the familiar with the new.
Thursday brought some big news for Harry Potter fans, namely that a five new movies are on the way. During a Global Fan Event for ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,’ J.K. Rowling announced that the Harry Potter prequel spinoff will be followed by four sequels, and that she’s already completed the script for the second film. The event featured a live-streamed panel with the movie’s cast, then afterwards showed the audience an exclusive sneak peek of the new movie.
Much of the appeal of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter website Pottermore lies in the extra bits the site dishes out from time to time, often from Rowling herself, as she expands on the Wizarding World’s universe. To prepare us all for the imminent Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, she’s published a few short histories of magic in America, where the film takes place. Today, she came out with another about the formation of MACUSA, the governing body of magic in the U.S., and how it fits in with American history as we know it.
One of the major truths of the entertainment industry is that there will never be a more interesting movie than the one you haven’t yet made. This weekend, while The Legend of Tarzan director David Yates was gently trying to nudge conversations towards his film currently in theaters, people were understandably curious about his upcoming return to Hogwarts, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. And Yates let a particularly interesting piece of information drop.
It’s been several years since Muggles had any major new Harry Potter content to enjoy, but after a brief dry period, J.K. Rowling’s world of magic is on the verge of a major comeback. (And just in time; I was beginning to regret this lightning bolt tattoo I got on my forehead.) Potter himself returns in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a two-part West End stage play based on a story by Rowling, and the HPCU (that’s “Harry Potter Cinematic Universe,” y’all, c’mon) returns to big screens this fall with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a prequel to the main Potter franchises based on another book by Rowling.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is set to make its debut on London’s West End this summer, offering a new sequel of sorts in the franchise, but one that will only be performed as a play. However, there’s some good news for all the devoted Harry Potter fans who won’t be able to attend the stage production: the script for the play will be published as a book in July — July 31, to be precise, which just happens to be one Mr. Potter’s birthday.
The final Harry Potter novel was full of grand battles and grander revelations, but it also featured a tiny detail that radically changed the saga’s timeline. Although J.K. Rowling’s first book in the beloved series was published in 1997 and the final book in 2007, a date on a gravestone revealed that the events of the final novel take place in 1997. That means that Harry Potter himself was born in 1980. Which means that he’s 35 in 2015. And according to Rowling herself, that makes today, September 1, 2015, the first day of school at Hogwarts for Harry’s eldest son.