In 2014, shortly after WB announced their Fantastic Beasts franchise with J.K. Rowling, the studio secretly set Fantastic Beasts 2 and Fantastic Beasts 3 release dates.
Jump to latest (February 28, 2019): Rowling returns to script, WB admits issues with Grindelwald
Those dates were November 16, 2018 for Crimes of Grindelwald and a November 20, 2020 release date for Fantastic Beasts 3. At the time, WB only described the films being released on these dates as “Untitled WB Event” films. It was way too early to announce that these dates were for the Fantastic Beasts movies.
But anyone who closely follows franchises could easily see what was going on. The first Fantastic Beasts movie was slated for November 2016, and WB had claimed two more dates for “mystery” movies at the same time we were hearing the franchise would be a trilogy. The strategy reflected the one they employed for The Hobbit.
And while WB never announced Fantastic Beast 3’s release date, they kept their flag in that November 2020 date.
When The Crimes of Grindelwald hit theaters last November, the film was attacked by critics and a pretty large number of fans. People were confused by the plot and disappointed in the lack of any big developments in the movie (other than that Credence Barebone twist).
Then in January, word leaked that the start of production on Fantastic Beasts 3 was pushed to late fall 2019 after originally being scheduled for summer. Presumably, this delay had to do with making sure that they get this movie just right. The franchise might not be able to survive another large wave of critical attacks.
The production delay wasn’t good news for Fantastic Beast 3’s release date, and last Friday our fears came true: WB announced that their Dune movie would be released on November 20, 2020.
‘Fantastic Beast 3’s release date: What will it be now?
WB will not be releasing two major films on the same day, and since there’s been a delay in the start of filming on Fantastic Beasts 3, it’s very likely that the release date will now be some time in 2021.
This means the gap between Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and Fantastic Beasts 3 will be the longest period between any two movies in the Harry Potter series. The previous longest gap was two years between Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince.
If Fantastic Beasts 3 were to be released in Spring 2021, it would be the first Wizarding World movie to be released in that season. All Wizarding World films so far have been released in summer or fall.
Luckily for WB, it seems like a winter or spring release isn’t much of a problem anymore. Case and point: Marvel’s Black Panther made $1.346 billion with a February 16, 2018 opening. You can also look at Marvel’s Avengers films, which have also racked up billion-dollar box offices with spring openings (Infinity War made $2.048 billion with an April opening; Age of Ultron made $1.405 billion with a May 1 opening). Releasing a blockbuster in the winter or spring is not committing box office suicide like studios use to fear.
With pent up demand and a great promotional strategy (TIME TO GIVE US ANSWERS ABOUT AURELIUS DUMBLEDORE!), Fantastic Beasts 3 would do just fine with a Spring 2021 release date. The only issue for us fans is the idea of having to wait so long.
‘Fantastic Beasts 3’ still being developed following mixed ‘Grindelwald’ reviews
Speaking with The Los Angeles Times in late February 2019, WB CEO Kevin Tsujihara admitted that Crimes of Grindelwald underperformed, and that the franchise has been challenging because they want to please both hardcore fans and casual moviegoers:
“The second film didn’t perform as well as the first, but I think we know what we need to do to get the third film hopefully even better than the first one,” he said. “And J.K. Rowling is really working hard now on that third script, and we’re going to get it right. She has an incredible vision of where she wants to go with this that is incredibly exciting.”
Concerning how to please both types of fans, he said, “The hardest part of the franchise is you have such a big core fan base. That fan base really knows the lore and they want to go deep into these characters. But what you don’t want to do is intimidate people. You want to be able to create a stand-alone movie that’s enjoyable for someone who isn’t steeped in the lore.”
He seems to believe that hardcore fans liked how much info was packed into Fantastic Beasts 3, but I believe that hypothesis is wrong. No one, no matter how big a fan they are, wants to be overwhelmed with information in a short amount of time. That was one of the key issues with Beasts. While the information for this hardcore fan was interesting, that way it was presented was straight up confusing.
Rowling originally finished the Fantastic Beasts 3 script in December, and judging by Tsujihara’s comments this week, it looks like she may’ve unexpectedly returned to it. That may explain why she’s been off Twitter for over a month.
‘Fantastic Beasts 3’ plot: What can we expect?
In a recent interview, Jacob actor Dan Fogler said that the movie has been delayed because of its size. He went so far as to call Fantastic Beasts 3 bigger than the first two movies combined.
As for the Fantastic Beasts 3 plot, Fogler also confirmed that part of the story will be set in Brazil. Last year we also learned that Jessica Williams’ character — an Ilvermorny professor — will have a larger role in the third movie. You might remember seeing her in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment with Flamel in The Crimes of Grindelwald. She appears to be a part of a group with Flamel and Dumbledore who is organizing to fight Grindelwald (potentially the earliest version of the Order of the Phoenix). J.K. Rowling promises we’ll see her “true glory” in the third movie.
It’ll be interesting to see how much time we get to spend at the American Wizarding School since we learned about it before Fantastic Beasts 1 but never got to see it in the movie.
That’s all that’s been shared about the movie so far. Fans can guess what else will happen in the Fantastic Beasts 3 plot based on what happened in the second movie: Dumbledore will probably try to destroy the Blood Pact, Jacob will try to save Queenie from her bad decision, and everyone will try to get Credence on their side.