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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Muggle Monday: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Adaptation

It's time for Muggle Monday, in which I highlight a significant piece of news from the Harry Potter franchise. This is somewhat inspired by the Mundane Monday posts by The Mundie Moms.

But let's be real as to why I made up this feature: I just want the opportunity to post something about Harry Potter.

Jo is truly full of surprises. Although I think this latest piece of news is even more surprising than the announcement of The Cuckoo's Calling, the book she published under a pseudonym.

Warner Brothers has announced that they have made an agreement with J.K. Rowling for her to screenwrite a movie series adaptation of her book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The movie adaptation will tell the story of Newt Scamander, the fictional author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (one of Harry's textbooks and also an actual book written by J.K. Rowling for charity):

"Warner Bros. announced on 12th September 2013 that J.K. Rowling would be making her screenwriting debut with 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them', the first in a new film series which is part of their expanded creative partnership with J.K. Rowling. The films will be inspired by Harry Potter’s Hogwarts textbook of the same name, and will feature the book’s fictitious author, Newt Scamander.

“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."

Jo goes on to say that while this proposed new movie series will take place within the wizarding world, it will NOT be a prequel or a sequel to Harry Potter, but will follow Newt's story, 70 years prior to Harry's, in New York:

"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.”

So, could this news be any crazier?! I mean, it's pretty much one of the last things I would expect to come out of Jo, after a secret book written under a pseudonym. But I'm not complaining - as you might expect, I'm pretty freaking excited actually!

There are a number of strange things about this news that I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around though: a) Jo will be writing the screenplay for a movie and no book will be involved; I'm so curious to see how her authorial skills will translate to screenplay writing rather than regular fiction book writing, b) the movie series will take place 70 years before Harry's time (so, in the 1920's); most of the characters and references will be unfamiliar (it's a completely new story!), and c) the movie will take place in New York; this will be incredibly strange for me because I wholly associate the Harry Potter series (not to mention her two post-HP books) as being completely and utterly British.

This movie has great potential though. For one, we know that J.K. Rowling has intricate and intriguing backstories for many of her secondary characters that we never learn about in the original series; Newt Scamander's (brilliant name, by the way) story is no different: he spent 10 years researching and exploring the globe for magical creatures in order to write Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Second of all, readers of Fantastic Beasts know that there are a myriad of fantastical beasts that Jo describes that are inventive and eccentric; it would be so cool to see these beasties come to life! Third of all, Queen Rowling herself will be writing the screenplay; there is no way I would be on board with this if another screenwriter were to be writing the script.

So in summation, a Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie is a bit hard for me to wrap my head around, but on the other hand: it's J.K.-freaking-Rowling!! Writing a movie. About a beloved character who probably has an interesting story to tell. I absolutely cannot wait to hear more about this project - it's going to be GOOD! Thoughts?


  1. I think this is a definitely surprising piece of news! She's giving screenplay-writing a go, which I think is awesome. Trying new things in general is awesome. The setting of this movie is going to be drastically contrasting to what we're used to with HP though, I agree. 1920s in New York is like freaking FLAPPER ERA. I'm curious to see how this will all go down! Thanks for sharing, Aylee :)

  2. SQUEEEE!!!! I am so darn excited about this. Like I don't even know what to do with myself! I also think it's a bit strange that it's set in America. I have full faith in Jo though!

  3. AHHHH! I'm so excited for this! Especially since it's going to be written by the master herself :D But yeah, the set-in-America thing might be a bit weird. We'll see how it plays out!

  4. I can't wait to see what she comes up with.

  5. I'm so excited. And so nervous too. I hope she's good at writing screenplays. I assume she'll have help. It's hard because there are such high expectations. Nowhere to go but down...

  6. I am very excited about this announcement. I think this is a fantastic to revisit the magic of HP without messing with already beloved characters

  7. I am so excited! It will be weird to have it set in NY, since like you said, I tend to think of everything related to the Harry Potter world as British. Regardless, I'm down for whatever JK wants to do.

    I'm also excited the BBC is going to make The Casual Vacancy into a mini-series. YAY!

  8. I am, without reserve, whole-heartedly excited about this.
    I love the idea of an extension to the wizard's world, I don't mind that there won't be familiar faces, it just means that I'll have more characters to love and since Jo is behind this I can totally go into it believing this is Cannon and don't mind that there isn't a book companion (though I would read it if they ever wrote it).

    I'm excited and happy and can't wait.

  9. I am so excited for this, Aylee! It's unimaginable. I love these unexpected Potter news. They keep me happy! Thank you so much for sharing!

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

  10. I love how novel and unexpected this is! It could be bad but it could also be awesome and since it's not based on a book, it just has to be a good movie :)

  11. Pffft, I will discuss HP on any day of the week even if it's not Muggle Monday :D :D. THIS ONE IS SO MUCH MORE SURPRISING THAN HER PSEUDONYM. I was expecting the pseudonym--all that pressure on her! Plus she'd said she would write under one before. BUT THIS? MORE HP STUFF? IT'S ACTUALLY HAPPENING AND IT'S NOT LIKE THAT ENCYCLOPEDIA THAT GOT POSTPONED?


    I'm glad I already ordered the Fantastic Beasts book - I need to read her companion novels o.O. I didn't realize that there'd be enough information in them to write a movie, but I'm so chuffed that JKR is actually going to do this. We can't say the movie had a terrible script now too. Knowing JKR though, it can't be terrible at all!

    HAH. Warner Bros would totally approach JKR first. HP was so successful for them. "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." MAN. WHUT. I THOUGHT I WAS A FAN BUT I AM LEARNING NEW THINGS EVERY DAY, I BOW TO YOU JKR.

    YEAHHHH FOR EXTENSION OF THE WORLD. A sequel or prequel = I would not be as excited as I am now. PLUS NEW YORK! WHUT. (Side note: you mentioned that several of your friends had suggested Granger to you; in the book I am reading on HP7, it's suggested that JKR actually has already incorporated many of the screenplay elements that she had undoubtedly seen in the adaptations of her work and previous LotR work, etc. etc. So I bet her skills will transfer over :D). AHHHH AND YES I JUST REALIZED WHEN YOU WROTE IT: omg, she's going to be writing about the 1920s! YESSS I love the 20s fiction. So much wild energy. If anyone can create an awesome world around that, it's her!

    YAY FOR MORE AWESOME SECONDARY CHARACTERS! And now you made me really curious about the beasties JKR came up with and my next read may have to be this book.

    JKR. HP <3. Those are my thoughts :).

    1. PS - did you see this article? WB can't interfere with JKR's script o.O.

    2. Say what?? Wow, I didn't know you could make such agreements with movie producers! I really hope this is true.

  12. I pretty much fell out of my chair when I first heard about this. I really could not be more excited right now! I love that Jo has so many surprises for us this year - it makes me wonder what else she has hidden up her sleeve!

    It will be really different. 1920s and New York? It's so not something you immediately think of when picturing the Harry Potter world! I can't wait to see how it all turns out though. With J.K. Rowling on board, and the sheer number of Harry Potter fans around the world, I can't see it being a flop at all.

    Thanks for sharing, Aylee! :D

  13. I'm so excited for this! After the pen name and the new movie, I really can't think of any more crazy news that could top this. The invention of a flying broom perhaps lol. I wonder how many movies will be in this series. Dare I hope for more than three?? :)

  14. I agree - this is probably the most unexpected news related to J.K. Rowling of late. I hadn't even thought about how different it will be for anything envisioned by her to take place in America, but you're totally right on that. I'm a bit bummed about the fact that this isn't a prequel or sequel to Harry Potter, and also that it's not a new book from J.K. Rowling, but it is still exciting. It's something new from one of my favorite authors and is set in the same world as Harry Potter. So of course I'll support it. I agree, though, that it's so different that it is a bit hard to wrap my head around as well.

  15. DEFINITELY a SURPRISING piece of news. I though the next thing to come from JKR in regards to HP would be the HP encyclopaedia (which I am STILL waiting for btw, I will NEVER stop waiting for that one!)

    I am psyched though, like you (obviously) cause it's something fresh from the wizarding world and with JKR herself at the helm?! Well I just can't wait to see how it will all come together :D I already kind of wish she'd write more books to go WITH the movies but I mean, she's running this thing! Gotta be good right?!

    The NYC thing is a bit odd too though, I agree! As much as 1920's NY appeals to me, I can't help myself from loving London a lot more...since Harry and the rest of the gang all made me fall in love with the place in the first place!

    All things considered though, I think more new stuff from JKR set in the wizarding world is a win-win situation for us. Newt will be a fascinating character to get to know, and I love the idea of seeing all those 'fantastic beasts' coming to life before our eyes :)

  16. I am SO conflicted about this one. I am very excited to see more come out of the wizarding world and I am actually pretty stoked to see that Jo is going to write the screenplay. On the other hand, I am a little disappointed that she isn't actually writing a book set in said world. I always imagined that we would see more from her wizards- not necessarily another Harry Potter book, but from the same world. Someday I hope!

  17. I am SO excited about this! I have no idea what to expect, but I'm sure I'm going to be a happy camper regardless. I do wonder if maybe we'll get books later in some sort of novelization form? I'm sure her publishers are begging her to do some sort of accompanying publishing program.