While on the Fantastic Beasts world premiere red carpet Thursday night, J.K. Rowling revealed how many years the five-part film series’ plot will be covering.
It’s a lot.
Rowling told a reporter for Variety that she had always planned for Fantastic Beasts to be told across many movies, but initially told people it’d be three for the sake of signaling a big story.
“Originally, to tell you the truth, we said ‘a trilogy’ as a placeholder,” the Harry Potter author said. “We were feeling our way, and then there came a point in the drafting of the story […] where I could see an arc to five. It came out of the material.”
She added, “it’s ambitious to tell it in five, to be honest, because it’s spanning 19 years.”
— Variety (@Variety) November 10, 2016
Fantastic Beasts begins in 1926. What do Harry Potter fans know happened 19 years later, in 1945? The global Wizarding War came to an explosive end when Dumbledore defeated Grindelwald in a legendary duel. This was the battle in which Dumbledore came into possession of the Elder Wand. Grindelwald was thrown into Nurmengard, the prison he created to hold his own enemies.
The war was led by Grindelwald — who’ll be played by Johnny Depp — “with the intentions of toppling the European Ministries of Magic, replacing them with a Wizarding empire that would control the entire wizarding population of Earth and enslave the Muggles for their long ago crimes against wizardkind,” as the Harry Potter Wikia reminds us.
Rowling’s “19 years” remark essentially confirms that this series is telling the story of the massive wizarding war. We just hope that there will be flashbacks to earlier times, when Dumbledore and Grindelwald first met in Godric’s Hollow — and when the latter accidentally killed Albus’ sister.
Funny that we’re talking about another “19 years” timeframe. Harry Potter fans know that length of time well.
Update: J.K. Rowling confirmed this news again on Monday, November 21:
Our story starts in 1926 and ends in 1945. It's just too big to fit in one movie! https://t.co/fb5GOGvTxq
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 21, 2016