Warner Bros. may be on the verge of launching full-on into its DC Cinematic Universe, with the upcoming release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but its superhero plans are far from the only hope the studio has to build its next long-term franchise. As most readers know, the studio is keen on returning to the world of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series just a few years after the boy wizard’s big-screen adventures came to an end.
With a worldwide box office take of over $7.7 billion across eight films, the Harry Potter franchise stands as one of the highest-grossing of all time, making spinoff project Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – inspired by a Hogwarts textbook referenced in the Potter novels – an obvious opportunity for continued success. Last we heard, WB was planning to develop a trilogy of films focusing on magical creature expert Newt Scamander, presumably for release in 2016, 2018 and 2020.
Collider recently chatted with Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts producer David Heyman, who revealed that filming will begin late this summer.
Here’s what he had to say about the experience of mounting another story set in Rowling’s wizarding world, with much of the same team intact:
“The experience of conjuring up these worlds is such fun. So to do it with [Rowling] and with Steve Kloves and Lionel Wigram is involved too, and with David Yates, and Stuart Craig will be designing it – it’s great. It’s exciting. And it’s a great world to return to.”
It was previously announced that David Yates, who helmed the last four Potter films, would return to direct Fantastic Beasts, with Rowling working on the script herself. However, Heyman’s confirmation that production designer Stuart Craig is on board also bodes well for this new project. Craig developed the signature aesthetic for all the Potter films, and his involvement here means that Fantastic Beasts should capture the same look and feel as the franchise that inspired it. Considering how especially vital this level of details is within the fantasy genre, fans should be pleased.
Heyman also revealed that casting is far off for the new film, and despite reports of a Fantastic Beasts trilogy, it sounds like the creative team behind the film is taking the series one entry at a time.
“We’re making just one film, but I believe there’s been talk about it being three. But we’re just talking about it as one.”
The chances of Fantastic Beasts tanking at the box office are likely slim to none, but for the sake of creating the best launching pad possible for this new incarnation of the Harry Potter series, perhaps it’s best that this first film is being viewed as a standalone project.
After all, the legacies of both Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings trilogy have been moderately tarnished by follow-up trilogies that were met with mixed responses from both fans and critics. It would appear that Heyman and his team are being careful to deliver a film that will live up to expectations.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is set to hit theaters on November 18, 2016.