Surprise! You’ll Get 5 Fantastic Beasts Movies. Yes, 5

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them started out as a fictional textbook in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Then it became an actual book by Rowling under the pseudonym Newt Scamander, a slim paperback with proceeds going to the charity Comic Relief. After the original book series and film series concluded, Warner Bros. began developing the story as a film, then a trilogy. The first movie doesn’t hit theaters until Nov. 18, but the anticipation for more stories in the Wizarding World is still growing. And now that fans are getting five Fantastic Beasts movies, the magic will keep going for about another decade.

You read that right. At a fan event in London beamed out to theaters across the globe, director David Yates, producer David Heyman, and stars Eddie Redmayne, Catherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, and Alison Sudol (supported by Jon Voight and Colin Farrell in Los Angeles) answered questions about the new film. During the conversation, there was news that some material related to Dumbledore and Grindelwald would appear in the film, and Yates let slip that the next Fantastic Beasts film will take place in a different city than New York. But right at the end, Rowling herself emerged to talk about the future of Newt Scamander and what’s in store for the series. She mentioned that originally, for story structuring, the plan was for Fantastic Beasts to be a trio of films, but now that number has grown to five movies.

Consider that some combination of the YA-novel-to-film expansion syndrome that sees every trilogy extended to four films (or in the case of Harry Potter eight films from seven books), and what happened to George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, which continually expanded until it reached the now-planned series of seven books. Consider also that Fantastic Beasts is Rowling’s first crack at screenwriting, a learning process she said was not wise to undertake while writing a blockbuster Hollywood film. For his part Redmayne, bursting with joy and energy on the panel, called Rowling’s script for the first movie the most fully-formed he’d ever read. (All apologies to Theory of Everything screenwriter Anthony McCarten, presumably.)

Rowling clarified on Twitter that the plan is now five movies and that’s the end of it.

But hey, it started with seven books, grew to eight movies, and now there’s an extended series of new films out of a fictional spin-off textbook. So nobody can really say for certain whether that fifth and final film won’t eventually get split into two parts just like Deathly Hallows.

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