Or just read it here if you haven’t already:
It all started when Warner Bros. came to me with the suggestion of turning ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ into a film. I thought it was a fun idea, but the idea of seeing Newt Scamander, the supposed author of ‘Fantastic Beasts,’ realized by another writer was difficult. Having lived for so long in my fictional universe, I feel very protective of it and I already knew a lot about Newt. As hard-core Harry Potter fans will know, I liked him so much that I even married his grandson, Rolf, to one of my favourite characters from the Harry Potter series, Luna Lovegood.
As I considered Warners’ proposal, an idea took shape that I couldn’t dislodge. That is how I ended up pitching my own idea for a film to Warner Bros.
Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for seventeen years, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world. The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York, seventy years before Harry’s gets underway.
I particularly want to thank Kevin Tsujihara of Warner Bros. for his support in this project, which would not have happened without him. I always said that I would only revisit the wizarding world if I had an idea that I was really excited about and this is it.
Three quick thought for your comment and correction:
(1) Warmer Bothers seemed to have put the squeeze on her to participate in the project (or something like the one she pitched) or they would be obliged as a corporation beholden to their stockholders to ‘make good’ on the remarkable copyrighted material they were privileged to own and obliged to exploit. In fear of being left behind by the bus she designed and built, Ms Rowling jumped on board.
See discussion along these lines here earlier this past week. I have written Heidi Tandy to congratulate her on her near direct hit prediction of this film series’ subject as well as to ask her about the copyright squeeze possibility. Stay tuned.
(2) Seventy years before the Harry Potter gets underway? Let’s assume she means the death of Lily and James Potter. Fandom timelines agree that was Halloween, 1981, so we’re talking about an Englishman in New York City in 1911, a wizard in search of Fantastic Beasts or on his way to adventures that make him an expert in same. Forgive me for assuming that Ms Rowling’s story is going to be about the horrible nightmare of life in the Big City for racial minorities, for religious and ethnic outliers, and the indigent poor all of whom live in tenement ghettos.
At least Dickens had the courage and comic genius in Martin Chuzzlewit to belittle America about slavery as it was in his own times, at the risk of insulting (and losing) his audience, albeit one that didn’t pay him any money and he thought very little of in consequence. The equivalent for Ms Rowling would be to tell a tale of abortion madness or sexual slavery today, but you know she’s not going to ‘go there.’ Even if she wanted to, and she doesn’t, the Warner Brothers group won’t let her. We’ll get a picture of the US, though, as a racist, homophobic, xenophobic, religiously intolerant, and capitalist juggernaut grinding down the unfortunate, set in a different time so we don’t need to think it’s really about us. Wink, wink.
(3) And why Fantastic Beasts? Think CGI. Every one of the films in the series will feature another nightmare creature or coven of crawly, tentacled, furry, or amphibious oddities that will be wonderfully horrific in 3D. Just as the three Narnia films turned to be proof texts for C. S. Lewis’ assertion that the only emotion beyond sentiment that movies can inspire is fear (so every celluloid experience has to include one, preferably three or four chase scenes, however farcical each may be within the actual story being told…), so Harry Potter‘s ‘Wizarding World’ and its beauty and utility as an alchemical alembic for the baptism of reader’s imaginations is now officially the Shadow Caster’s chosen vehicle to deliver booster shots of political correctness and mind-dissipating diversion for the 15-25 year old set.
Alas and alack. For those of you who, like my children, think this announcement means another Hogwarts Saga in the making, I fear you are in for a great disappointment. Of course, that would be true if even most serious readers, as I noted two days ago, had not been hijacked into film-fandom over the course of the ten year release of the Potter movie apocalypse. But they have been hijacked so I fear there is very little disappointment in the making in the Potterverse today.
Your comments and corrections are coveted, especially the obligatory notes about how much fun I’m missing. “More Soma, please!”
Grateful hat tips to James, David, and Arlene for the news links above.