A new Harry Potter film saga is set to begin next month with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and that spinoff series will now run for five movies instead of three, author J.K. Rowling announced today during a fan event in London.
“J.K. Rowling has just confirmed the magic continues in a total of FIVE MOVIES,” the film’s official Twitter account wrote today.
Rowling and Warner Bros., which owns the film rights to Harry Potter, announced in September 2013 that they were working on a Fantastic Beasts film series. She described it as “neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world.”
The new franchise takes its name from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a book in the Harry Potter universe that Rowling wrote for charity in 2001. It is a compendium of magical creatures, and its fictional author is a scientist named Newt Scamander; in the films, he is a “magizoologist” played by Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything). The first movie takes place in New York City in 1926, approximately 70 years prior to the events of the first Harry Potter book.
Earlier this year, Rowling said the film series would be a trilogy. Warner Bros. also expanded the original Harry Potter movie franchise — there was initially one film for each of the seven books, but the company split Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows into two movies. It’s unclear if this means that the second and third Fantastic Beasts films will each be split into two movies, or if Warner Bros. is adding new entries to the franchise. Either way, the company will be laughing all the way to Gringotts.
Rowling wrote the screenplay for the first entry in the film franchise and will do the same for the unnamed sequel, which is set for release in November 2018. Both films are being directed by David Yates, who helmed the last four Harry Potter movies.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them premieres Nov. 18. For more, check out its fifth and final trailer.