How to Save the Fantastic Beasts Series

Yesterday Elizabeth Baird-Hardy masterfully summarized the latest news out of Hollywood about the Fantastic Beasts movies in a post fittingly titled, No More Fantastic Beasts Films? In brief, the word is that the CEO of Warner Brothers-Discovery has lucrative franchises on his mind, wants to work with Rowling to revive the comatose Harry Potter golden goose, and that he hinted Rowling was not interested. He did not mention the Fantastic Beasts movies, which as Prof Baird Hardy noted, is in keeping with the revenues generated (or, more precisely, not generated) by the first three Beasts films.

She ended this post by asking, “If Newt’s big screen adventures are over, will there be book adaptations to connect the dots between the prequels and the beginning of Harry’s story? Do you care?” I think it is fair to say that I don’t care, maybe even obligatory to mention as I haven’t yet read the third screenplay or seen Secrets of Dumbledore. Trapped on a British Airways flight recently, I thought I would have a chance to watch it but the screening technology for the seat-backs failed, a turn I took as providential.

do care, though, about what Rowling writes, so here are my answers to those end of post questions, answers that include a more or less clear path forward to revive and reinvigorate the Beasts franchise.

Almost every discussion of the Fantastic Beasts franchise at this site since the first movie’s release has called for the reversion to the successful formula of ‘Rowling writes Book which Warner Brother adapts into a Movie.’ What has changed is that The Presence may no longer want to write screenplays or submit to “the woman being fitted to the dress” of adaptation, for which change, given the perfidy of the Hollywood decision makers and players with respect to her supposed transgressions against the Transgressives, who can blame her?

That being noted, there may be a way out that the time-line of the story allows, even fosters.

The most recent Beasts film, Secrets of Dumbledore, is set in 1932. The fifth and last picture in this series I assume will take place in 1945, the battle between Dumbledore and Grindelwald. Simple math shows that we have a gap of thirteen years in which interval the fourth film planned must be inserted; let’s guess it is set half-way between 1932 and 1945, say 1939, an eventful year in European history.

All Rowling needs to do is set the clock of film releases to parallel these intervals in the story-time. That would mean planning on the Beasts4 movie being made or released in seven years or 2029 or 2030. This planned delay in release of the films, though no joy in Warner Brother-Discovery’s Mudville, has three advantages.

(1) It gives Rowling five years in which to re-cast her three original screenplays, not those published as such but her first stories as she conceived them in her series planning, as novels and to write the fourth as a novel. This is a great profit-taking exercise for Rowling, Inc., and an opportunity for her to display all the cuts and compromises the Two Davids clown team insisted she agree to. It also serves to put the Clown Car Crew back into obedience to her stories rather than altering them willy-nilly; the printed book series fandom will once again insist that films more or less conform to Rowling’s vision rather than movie-making priorities.

Seven years may seem like a very short time to write four novels and produce a film. It is! I assume — with substantive reason — that Rowling has already done almost all the necessary work on three of the four screenplay-to-novel projects and that these could be finished and published on an annual basis. That spacing gives her two years to write up her Beasts4 notes and two more years for the Warner Brothers Clown Crowd to adapt that finished novel for the screen.

Rowling Readers get the books we have wanted, Rowling’s relationship with the Film Flammers reverts to right-side-up, and the world gets the finished story. Looks like three ‘Wins’ to me.

(2) The Beasts franchise actors that decided to conform to the world’s Orwellian flavor of the week in bashing Rowling as a bigot and transphobe, chanting “Transgender women are Women!” and the like Newsthink, have seven years to grow up and reflect on their enlightened views contra common sense and all human experience. Just think of the savings in make-up and cosmetological magic, too, via waiting seven years during which the actors and actresses are allowed to age naturally (well, Botox and surgeries excepted…).

(3) Seven years, the course of one witch or wizard’s life as a student at Hogwarts, also permits necessary and just preferential change in casting to occur without jarring too badly the franchise’s thirty-four remaining fans. Johnny Depp has been redeemed via his win in the Amber Heard litigation carnival and might return to his role as Grindelwald (of course, given the state of the American polity, he may be a Senator by then, maybe Vice-President, which role might preclude this possibility). Similarly, the troubled, which is to say “crazy deluded and violent,” actor-once-known-as-Ezra-Miller has time to be rehabilitated a la Fatty Arbuckle, with the mirror-image difference being that Roscoe was sane and innocent and that his career never recovered. 

Once again, then, I send up the request to whoever monitors mad fandom posts in Rowling’s secret headquarters that she write up her original vision as novels, stories that have already been made into movies. In addition to the advantages noted above, this turnabout would be still another first for the author. Who else has taken a story turned into a movie and then written best selling novels that seem to be in all their differences ‘liberal adaptations’ of the film, insensitive to the original?



  1. Wayne Stauffer says

    I get the idea Rowling has moved on from her magical world to Strike’s world. Seems hard to believe she would go back to write the novels of FB 1-3, then #s 4& 5 that might be adapted to film later. And I wish she would finish out the FB storyline because I want the sense of completion. Sorry to be a downer.

  2. I should have added to my “I don’t care” comments that what followed would be an obvious and fun way to save the film franchise — but not what I want to happen.

    My preference is that Rowling writes up the novels from her screenplays and the two left to write up from notes. Instead of publishing them, though, she puts the set of completed manuscripts in a safe deposit box with instructions that the texts are to be left there until her demise.

    It would be a last hat-tip to Agatha Christie (cf., her writing ‘Curtain’ and ‘Sleeping Murder’ for post mortem publication), though it would be a better tribute if the boxed books were the death and last case of Harry Potter and Strike, respectively.

    All that to say I agree with you, Wayne. The less time spent on ‘Beasts’ and the more on her mythologically psychomachian epic, the better.

  3. Pity so many Hollywood fools have no notion of a vocation, being too Charlotte-esque, too elitist and too confused. Let her write what she wants to write, not that she needs permission, but maybe just more air, invigorating time-filled air.

    In the meantime John, I’ll enjoy your knack for keeping your tongue squarely in your cheek. Cheers!

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