New Potter Movies Coming, Based on Textbook. Wait, What?

fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them

According to Entertainment Weekly, Warner Bros and JK Rowling are teaming up for a trilogy of Harry Potter spinoff films.

The Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be released by Warner Bros. as a trilogy of “megamovies,” The New York Times reports in its profile on the studio’s CEO, Kevin Tsujihara. Based on the Hogwarts textbook written by Potter author J.K. Rowling, the new franchise is an extension of her extraordinarily realized wizarding world. The films will follow magizoologist Newt Scamander and start in New York approximately seven decades before Harry Potter’s own adventures.

It’s really hard to tell what to make of this. As a fan of the book and (to a lesser extent) films series, I’m happy about it. But the term “megamovie” gives me a hell of a pause. A megapause, if you will. What does that mean, exactly? Is he saying the movies will be great, and just decided to convey it like a five-year-old? Or are we looking at some three-hour run times here? I really hope it’s not that. Hopefully the five-year-old thing.

Please let it be that.

Please let it be that.

A quick trip to Wikipedia confirms that the 2001 book this will be based on is 42 pages long. Peter Jackson, eat your heart out. Now, I’m well aware that this isn’t going to be a direct adaptation and more of a jumping off point, but going from 42 pages to three “megamovies” is one hell of a jump.  The ratio of source material to adaptation size seems to be getting more and more lopsided in Hollywood. I can’t wait for it to culminate in a ten-part HBO miniseries based on the kid’s coloring and activity placemat at Denny’s.

I’m also curious as to what tone they’re going to go for. The interesting thing about the Potter series is how much it changed over the course of a decade. The first book was a lighthearted fable fit for any age; by the last book, limbs and bodies were dropping in numbers that would put a twinkle in George R.R. Martin’s eye. Considering that the fanbase is mostly comprised of adults now, I’m guessing it’ll lean more heavily toward the PG-13 end of things. Also, Rowling is going to be more directly involved this time, and her last book was about the grisly murder of a female celebrity.  She’s generally thought of as a child’s author, but JK has a serious dark side. I’m betting Roald Dahl would’ve approved.

For a few reasons, actually.

For a few reasons, actually.

In any case, this will certainly be worth following. It’s one of the few franchises I have yet to be burned by, which is impressive given its size. Take my money, just please keep up the good work.

Sidenote: if you look at it without context, the title of this book sounds like a dollar-store ripoff of Where the Wild Things Are.

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