He may have spent over six years toiling on the final four Harry Potter movies, but British director David Yates is far from done with the magical world of J.K. Rowling. You may recall that in the works is a new spin-off trilogy based in the Harry Potter universe, but not based on any published Harry Potter material. Called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the movie promises all the magic and wonder of the eight previous Harry Potter films but telling all new stories that don’t crossover with any characters we’ve already been introduced to. I suppose Warner Bros. plans to not just capitalize on the Harry Potter brand, but the knowledge and experience of the Harry Potter series’ most experienced director.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news about Yates today, saying that the director was in negotiations to take the director’s chair on the franchise extension. No pressure because as THR noted, Warner Bros. wants Fantastic Beasts to be all that and a bag of chips. “[T]he property was being developed across video game, consumer product and digital initiative businesses,” said the website.
Well if anyone knows the delicate balance of the filmmaking arts and the demands of corporate synergy it’s Yates, who came into the Harry Potter franchise with part five, The Order of the Phoenix, and stayed on till the end credits of The Deathly Hallows Part II. Currently, he’s filmming a new version of Tarzan starring Alexander Skarsgard and Margot Robbie.
As for the film itself, the screenplay for which is currently being written by Potter author Rowling herself, will follow the adventures of Newton Artemis Fido Scamander, the author of the titular textbook which is used by students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the teaching of care for magical creatures. The film will follow Scamander in his task to chronicle the world’s menagerie of fantastic animals in New York City in the early years of the 20th century. Rowling wrote a 54-page version of the actual text for Fantastic Beasts, which was sold as a fundraiser for Comic Relief.
The plan for the new film trilogy was announced last fall, and aside from Rowling, who’s actively involved in the project, Yates is the first major creative player to be associated with the new film. Warner Bros. is reportedly aiming for a late 2016 release for the film, which may be tight for Yates schedule considering that Tarzan isn’t scheduled to arrive in theaters until that summer. One thing is clear though, and that is that the studio wants this bad. With only the potential franchising of the DC Comics Universe in their file right now, Warner Bros. is in (from their point of view) desperate need for tentpole fodder, and considering that Harry Potter had a combined eight movie haul of nearly $8 billion worldwide, the studio’s banking that there’s still some oil left in that well.
We’ll have more news on Fantastic Beasts as it comes in. In the meantime, lets us know what you think of the choice of Yates: the perfect pick for a new Potter-verse flick, or should they go for some new blood?