9:17 am EDT, September 12, 2013

WB announces ‘Harry Potter’ spin off movie series penned by J.K. Rowling in ‘Fantastic Beasts’ world

Warner Bros. has announced a new Harry Potter-related film series based in the world of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie will be an “original story and will mark Rowling’s screenwriting debut. It is planned as the first picture in a new film series.”

What’s more, the series will focus on the author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Newt Scamander. According to Rowling, the first film will be set 70 years before the first Harry Potter book in New York.

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Here is J.K. Rowling’s full statement about today’s announcement:

“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.

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.

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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.

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.”

“We are incredibly honored that Jo has chosen to partner with Warner Bros. on this exciting new exploration of the world of wizardry which has been tremendously successful across all of our businesses,” said Kevin Tsujihara, Chief Executive Officer, Warner Bros. Entertainment. “She is an extraordinary writer, who ignited a reading revolution around the world, which then became an unprecedented film phenomenon. We know that audiences will be as excited as we are to see what her brilliant and boundless imagination conjures up for us.”

In addition to today’s movie series announcement, Warner Bros. and Rowling have also agreed on distribution deals related to The Casual Vacancy television miniseries as well as a continued theme park partnership.

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