When J.K. Rowling agreed to do a series of Harry Potter companion books over a decade ago, she was looking to do a good deed and raise money for the anti-poverty charity, Comic Relief.
The resulting compendium of spells, glossaries of fantastical terms and history lessons about the art of wizardry inadvertently provided the germ for a new film series that producer Warner Bros. hopes will be another billion-dollar series of blockbusters.
On Thursday, Rowling and Warner Bros. stunned the world by announcing that the best-selling novelist will give screenwriting a crack and will adapt her book “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” for the screen. The film is not a sequel or a prequel to the Potter adventures, but it is set in the same fictional universe. Rowling said it will serve as “…an extension of the wizarding world.”
It will focus instead on Newt Scamander, the author of a textbook Harry and his friends use at Hogwarts and his NYC based adventures 70 years prior to Potter’s standoff with “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.”
In a statement, Rowling said she was approached by Warner Bros. about the possibility of making a movie from “Fantastic Beasts” and realized she couldn’t bear to surrender her creation to another writer.
“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,” Rowling said. ” Having lived for so long in my fictional universe, I feel very protective of it and I already knew a lot about Newt.”
Rowling said she was so fond of Newt that she married off his grandson, Rolf, to one of her favourite characters from the Harry Potter series, the perpetually looney Luna Lovegood.
It was while mulling over the prospect to a return to the Potter world that Rowling said she came up an idea took she “couldn’t dislodge,” and ended up pitching her own vision for the series to Warner Bros.
“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,” Rowling said.
It’s a safe bet legions of Potter-maniacs are pretty stoked to have her spin her magic once more.