J K Rowling’s Harry Potter film spin-off, inspired by Hogwarts textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, will be a trilogy.
Warner Bros has announced that the three films, which will follow Fantastic Beasts author Newt Scamander and are written by Rowling herself, will have release dates of 2016, 2018 and 2020.
The studio has also confirmed that the Fantastic Beast films, which Rowling described as "an extension of the wizarding world", will be directed by David Yates, who directed the last four Harry Potter films. The films will also reunite the filmmaking team of Rowling, producers David Heyman and Lionel Wigram, and screenwriter Steve Kloves.
The Fantastic Beasts trilogy will be Rowling’s first foray into scriptwriting. She decided to write them after Warner Bros approached her about turning Fantastic Beast into a film, saying: "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."
According to the LA Times, Warner Bros c.e.o. Kevin Tsujihara said Rowling “has a vision for this extension of the franchise, and for the first time, she is writing the script for what she believes is at least a trilogy” at Time Warner’s investors conference yesterday (Wednesday 15th October).
The textbook is a guide to magical creatures found in the wizarding world, which Rowling referenced in the Harry Potter books and in 2001 wrote and published with Bloomsbury in aid of Comic Relief, selling 626,584 copies through Nielsen BookScan.
Rowling has said that the new story will share "the laws and customs of the hidden magical society” seen in Harry Potter, but “Newt’s story will start in New York, seventy years before Harry’s gets underway."