‘Harry Potter’ Spinoff ‘Fantastic Beasts’: Alfonso Cuarón May Be in Talks to Direct

Published 11 months ago by

fantastic beasts where find them director alfonso cuaron Harry Potter Spinoff Fantastic Beasts: Alfonso Cuarón May Be in Talks to Direct

Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them is one spinoff for a commercially-saturated, billion-dollar intellectual property, that grows more intriguing by the news update. First, the project was announced last year, with Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling set as the screenwriter; then came word that the Fantastic Beasts movie is envisioned as the beginning of a new trilogy; and today brings a report that Oscar-winnning filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón has entered negotiations to serve as director on the project.

Cuarón, of course, is no stranger to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Nearly a decade before he racked up critical accolades for his high-grossing, 3D envelope-pushing, space thriller Gravity, Cuarón directed the third installment in the Potter movie series (based on Rowling’s global best-selling fantasy books), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Although Cuarón’s movie is currently the lowest-grossing film set in the Potter-verse, it also earned the blockbuster franchise greater respect for its artistic merits – greater than what Chris Columbus’ first two installments managed – and the goodwill it generated helped to reverse the series’ downward trend at the box office, thereafter.

Now, according to Nikki Finke, Cuarón may be in “deep in talks” with Warner Bros. for him to direct Fantastic Beasts, which is currently slated to reach theaters by Fall 2016. The spinoff is reported to take place some 70 years before the events of the previous Harry Potter movies. It will presumably chronicle the (mis)adventures of Newt Scamander, as he travels the world in order to document the various “fantastical beasts” that he encounters along the way – in order to create the eponymous textbook, which ends up being used by many a Hogwarts student so many years later. (Or, if your name is Ron Weasley, not used.)

fantastic beasts harry potter alfonso cuaron Harry Potter Spinoff Fantastic Beasts: Alfonso Cuarón May Be in Talks to Direct

Alfonso Cuarón directing ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’

The working relationship between Warner Bros. and Cuarón is stronger than ever right now, coming off Gravity‘s multiple Oscar wins and worldwide box office gross of more than $716 million. Warners has all the greater motivation for wanting Fantastic Beasts to turn out well; not only because it could mean that the aforementioned trilogy plans will end up being realized, but also because the studio clearly intends to produce other films set in the Potter-verse in the future. Hence, turning to a reliable collaborator such as Cuarón to get this dance started on the right foot, makes a good deal of sense.

From a creativity perspective, of course, bringing Cuarón back sounds like a great idea. While everyone has their own personal favorite Harry Potter film, most would probably agree that Prisoner of Azkaban is not just one of the most solid chapters in the series – it’s arguably the most thematically-rich, by satisfying as both a fun adventure in the Wizarding World and a meaningful fantasy/coming of age parable that does justice by the substance of Rowling’s source material. And now that Cuarón is armed with a decade of experience with maintaing his personal style within the blockbuster, effects-heavy, template, who knows what impressive trick he’ll manage to pull off next?

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them book cover Harry Potter Spinoff Fantastic Beasts: Alfonso Cuarón May Be in Talks to Direct

In short: if the talks between Warner Bros. and Cuarón – assuming they are, in fact, happening – results in a deal on Fantastic Beasts, then we’ll be all the more excited to make the return trip to the cinematic section of the Wizarding World. Nothing is set in stone just yet (officially speaking, that is), but we’ll be sure and keep you updated on the situation, as it develops.


Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them is slated to open in U.S. theaters on November 18th, 2016.

Source: Nikki Finke

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
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  1. Prisoner of Azkaban was my favorite film of the 8 so needless to say I am very very very excited about this rumor. Hope it’s true!!


  3. If this is going to be a trilogy, keep him to direct all 3. Great news, but it would not make sense to have him direct one and have a hack like Ratner direct one. Keep it consistent and you will have another blockbuster on your hands.

  4. Fantastic rumor hope it to come true :D

  5. Yes please.

  6. I do not care about them. No fan here at all. One reason I care and enjoyed about them are: monsters, witches and something like that. I will see this one too! :D

  7. Am I the only one who thinks this suuuucckkkss! He was the worst thing to happen to the entire Harry Potter movieverse! The Prisoner of Azkaban was total crap. The entire tone was horrible and departure from the feel and asthetic of the books and first two films was a travesty to that series, one that it never recovered from.

    Went from totally excited to ‘meh. Whatever’ after reading this.

    • Yes. Yes, you are the only one that thinks so.

    • Your absolutely correct. He took the best of the early books and turned it into the worst of the movies. Terrible.

    • Hmm.

      I always thought Azkaban was the moment the movies started to look and feel how I imagined when I read the books rather than go with the brightly coloured, cringe-worthy tone of those first two films, which I still have a hard time watching (that tone and brightness in colour also ruined the Narnia films for me).

      • I feel it worked out pretty well though. Harry turns 13 in Prisoner, and starts to look at the world through a teenage view, which is drastically different from a child’s view, and the tone of the movies reflected that.

  8. Absolutely a smart move, what a great director. Plus WB should keep the relationship alive i want him to direct a DC film.

  9. Prisoner of azkaban was by far the worst of all eight movies. They never quite got back up to the quality of the first two. This would be a tragedy if he really ends up making another one.

    • Eh, I found the first two to be my least favorite…although I enjoyed all of them.

  10. I hope not, the Prisoner Of Azkaban movie was horrible, shame to considering Prisoner Of Azkaban is my favorite book in the series.

  11. As a fan of the books I hated the Prisoner of Azkaban movies back when it first came out. How pedantic and picky fans can be. But looking back I think that it set the stage for the solid Yates films covering books 5 to 7 – they weren’t afraid to change it up a little to streamline the plot, and to tweak the tone. The result was that the films went from being somewhat sappy, generic children’s books-type adaptations (the Columbus movies) to a series of movies that stood distinctly on their own, apart from the books.

    It’s annoying how slavish book fans continue to whine about the movie not containing every single detail or nice touch they liked in the book – I remember I was pissed that Gryffindor’s Quidditch cup win was cut – but really, people need to grow up and realise that the purpose of a movie is not to translate into live-action every part of the book – it has to hold up on its own and tell a story in 2 hours.

    • Amen to that, mate.

  12. Was just thinking… how cool would it be if Cuaron shot this Children of Men-style? Long takes, documentary-style shooting for what may presumably be an Animal Planet special set in the Harry Potter world. Plus I bet a handheld-shot wizard battle (I’m sure they’ll try to fit one in somewhere) would look pretty nice.

  13. Good news! I hope it comes true and I hope he will cast Clive Owen as Scamander.

  14. I know he just came of his win for gravity…but I would’ve love him to do an adaptation of macross Plus…from the Robotech saga.

  15. Down with whatever he does.

  16. I’m interested knowing that Rowling is writing the script. I feel like any future Harry Potter film that isn’t really based on a book should at least have her heavy involvement. I know that this is “based” on a book but that book had no plot and was written just as cool encyclopedia of magical monsters.

    • Personally I think she should only write the treatment/outline, and then have a screenwriter translate it into The script.

  17. I liked what Cuaron did with the the magical creatures in the movie, so its kinda great that he is there for (hopefully) the whole trilogy based on magical creatures, but Prisoner of Azkaban was not that great a movie for me, and the time-travel in it is still way too confusing, Chamber of Secrets is probably my favorite from the series, I hope he does well with the wizard as he did with the fantastic beasts that came and surely will do with that will come in the trilogy.

  18. I haven’t completely forgiven him for removing the Marauders backstory, but in all other aspects Prisoner was a great film. I wouldn’t mind him coming back.

  19. Not gonna lie, Prisoner of Azkaban was probably my second least favorite Harry Potter movie, right behind Goblet of Fire (so please don’t bring back Mike Newell, ever). Although I guess if there’s not concrete source material to base it off of this time, Cuaron can’t muck it up too much. I don’t know, maybe I just think the guy is overrated, I definitely enjoyed Gravity less than most people. But I’ll keep an open mind about this. I just wish they’d bring back David Yates to direct instead.

  20. So Harry Potter gets Alfonso Cuaron and Episode VII gets JJ Abrams? Life’s not fair!