It may have seemed that the days of Harry Potter films had come to an end, but that’s about to change now that J.K. Rowling will be writing a brand new spin-off based on her in-fiction guidebook Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them.
Neither Rowling nor Warner Bros. have stated that this is a one-time experiment, and given the franchise’s brand power, we’d be shocked if this was the last spin-off film set in the series’ magical world of Wizards, Witches and Muggles.
With that in mind, allow us to pitch 8 Harry Potter Spin-off Movies We Want to See – presented in no particular order.
If any profession in the world of Harry Potter was overlooked, it was unquestionably that of the Aurors. As the most elite and highly trained members of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement (a branch of the Ministry of Magic), the Aurors Office is basically a magical version of Britain’s MI5 or MI6 – intelligence officers operating largely in secret.
But where their real-world counterparts are tasked with tracking down enemies of the state, Aurors must tangle with the wizarding world’s most deadly threats – who also happen to be wizards and witches. The films granted a look at a few Aurors – Tonks, Kingsley Shacklebolt, and ‘Mad-Eye’ Moody – and Harry even grew up to join their ranks; but the day-to-day risks and rewards of Aurors remained largely absent.
WHY IT WOULD WORK: A film based on the Aurors’ exploits would blend magic with espionage, opening doors for an adult-focused story – something truly new for the series – while retaining the element of fantasy. Historically, the British have always mastered the spy genre better than any other, so one set in the gritty (but magical) world of wizards and witches would attract audiences both old and new.
It’s the sport that captured the imagination of both readers and moviegoers: Quidditch. Easily the most popular sport of the wizarding world, it also happened to be an impressively designed one; players trying to score on goaltenders, others attempting to cripple them, while a pair of Seekers battled head-to-head to win victory for their team.
Although the sport – as popular to European wizards and witches as football to Muggles – remained a key element in the novels, the film series soon relegated it to the fringes. A true shame, since the matches that did make their way into the films were well-paced, well-shot, and action-packed.
WHY IT WOULD WORK: An entire movie based around Quidditch would contain enough excitement and emotion as any sports-focused, family-friendly film tends to be, while tapping into the Harry Potter universe. Besides “Fantastic Beasts…” Rowling also penned a spin-off book detailing “Quidditch Through the Ages,” so it could be the next for adaptation. A movie following a character, or an entire team, from their days at Hogwarts all the way to the Quidditch World Cup would finally give the sport the attention that the films were required to remove.
The self-dubbed ‘Marauders’ are a no-brainer for a standalone spin-off. Their talent for mischief was evident in The Prisoner of Azkaban, in the form of The Marauders Map, allowing its user to track the location of every person in Hogwarts Castle – provided they “were up to no good.”
Fans know that ‘Messrs Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot & Prongs’ were actually Harry’s father James, Remus Lupin, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew, masters of mischief that even Harry couldn’t compete with. While J.K. Rowling has maintained for some time that she has little interest in writing a prequel, or a story based on the Marauders in particular, it’s clear that by refusing to explore their time at Hogwarts, one of the most interesting stories hinted at in the series will be missed.
WHY IT WOULD WORK: First off, it’s not hard to see why following a group of Hogwarts students would work – it already has – but the neverending onslaught of ‘coming of age’ stories following trouble-making boys proves there’s always an audience. Add in the fact that one of them is bitten by a werewolf, forcing his closest friends to master the art of transforming into animals to control him during full moons, and you have a story pitch that any studio would jump at. The film – set in the 1970s, no less – would also offer a chance to make Pettigrew a more sympathetic character, while introducing four potential up-and-coming young actors along the way.
The Aurors may be entrusted with finding and capturing the biggest and baddest evil wizards, but what about the everyday criminals and crime bosses working beneath the surface of metropolitan Muggle cities? Those tasks are too menial for Aurors to deal with, so they fall to the men and women of the Magical Law Enforcement Squad. Clearly, J.K. Rowling knew just how promising this element of magical crime was, since she dubbed these magic policemen – we kid you not – Hit Wizards.
If that alone doesn’t make our case for a film following the Hit Wizards and Hit Witches in their everyday investigations into magical crimes, nothing will. But fans of Harry Potter have already gotten a taste of a battle of good and evil on as high-stakes a scale as possible; why not show them a world that is just as dangerous, but wasn’t deemed important enough to play a major role in the tale of The Boy Who Lived.
WHY IT WOULD WORK: With the current crop of blockbusters based on worldwide threats showing no signs of slowing, Warner Bros. would be wise to invest in other genres (perhaps their decision to adapt a story of fantastic creatures shows they’re well aware). Specifically, not a magical world that exists in some far-off place of castles and forests, but in the very cities the audiences inhabit. That was part of the premise of The Mortal Instruments, but after that film fumbled the idea, we’re confident the minds behind Harry Potter could make it work.
The setting of the Harry Potter series is a world in which the rules of reality no longer apply. Even so, the students of Hogwarts (and even full-grown wizards and witches) only ever seem to be granted a relatively safe level of power. Think about it: the magic in the film shows mastery of time travel, the ability to erase a person’s memory, and even partially resurrect the essence of the deceased; yet Harry and his friends spend most of their time shooting spells as if they’re sci-fi blasters.
There’s a reason for the limits the Ministry of Magic places on everyday magic, and most of them could be explained by the men and women working in the Department of Mysteries. With secret investigations into love, death, time, space, and thought carried out in the department by the ‘Unspeakables’ who work there, the brief tour of its offices seen in The Order of the Phoenix gave barely a glimpse of its contents.
WHY IT WOULD WORK: If nothing else, Inception proved that mass audiences are intrigued, not intimidated by films that challenge their notions of reality, so long as they’re entertaining in the process. Paired with the existing history of the Harry Potter universe, and crowds would flock to a film that embraced the surreal aspects of the fiction, and dove headlong into the deepest, darkest mysteries of magic. In the hands of the right director, this blurring of fantasy and abstract emotion in a physical place where nearly anything is possible, could start its very own franchise.
Seriously, who doesn’t love dragons? Not content with simply featuring dragons for the sake of spectacle, the franchise introduced specific breeds – the Chinese Fireball, Hungarian Horntail, and the Ukrainian Ironbelly, to name a few.
Yet, as is the case with most magical beings in the Harry Potter universe, J.K. Rowling went into great detail on the capture and keeping of dragons, whether it be by members of the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures a.k.a. ‘Dragon killers,’ or those trusted to handle them in captivity, known as dragonologists. It takes more than a dozen wizards or witches to typically bring down a dragon, and are kept in isolation from the Muggle world by dragon keepers like Charlie Weasley. If they ever got out…
WHY IT WOULD WORK: Fact: a dragon will always attract more fans than a movie without dragons. But fans of the Harry Potter series know just how practically the creatures were dealt with in the books and film, meaning they would also know how big a deal an outbreak of the fire-breathing creatures would be. Even a film based around the hunting and capture of dragons – featuring Charlie Weasley as a major character, perhaps – would be possible, since Charlie’s job was time-consuming enough to keep him from Hogwarts during the rise of Voldemort. A fill-in-the-gaps ‘interquel,’ anyone?
A casual observer of the Harry Potter franchise might make the assumption that wizards and witches are a uniquely British phenomenon, or, given the rest of characters seen in the films, a European one. But that’s not the case at all; surely the differences between cultures would make a film chronicling the wizarding world of the United States worthwhile? After all, America has its very own Quidditch league, with its most famed pitch located (secretly) in New England.
Although Harry Potter proved to be as popular in the United Kingdom as one might expect, the series was every bit as embraced in North America – look to the popularity of ‘The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ at Orlando’s Universal Studios for evidence. Doesn’t it follow, then, to introduce more stories set in the North American world of wizards and witches?
WHY IT WOULD WORK: Overlooking the sheer marketing dream of ‘Harry Potter coming to America,’ a new setting, and in the process, a new approach to magical men and women living in secret could take the series in a new direction, for an entirely new generation of young audiences. Would American wizards and witches deal with the same issues as their British counterparts? Since few Americans ever showed up in Hogwarts, we’d guess there’s an American school of magic hidden somewhere – ripe for exploration, if you ask us.
The perennial underdog of the series, Neville Longbottom started as somewhat of a joke when compared to his courageous and outspoken fellow Gryffindors. Neville proved his friendship and character in the end, saving the day in The Deathly Hallows: Part 2, but we shouldn’t forget: both Neville and Harry were potentially the ‘chosen one’ prophesied to bring down Lord Voldemort (Voldemort chose Harry, granting him his own powers in the process). Had Voldemort chosen differently, the entire franchise might be named after Longbottom.
Potter may have gotten the glory, but Neville’s own greatness found him working as an Auror after Voldemort had been defeated, before ending us up a professor of Herbology at Hogwarts. That leaves almost two decades’ time in which anything could have happened to Longbottom, including a chance to see Hogwarts from a new perspective.
WHY IT WOULD WORK: In the time since production wrapped on the Harry Potter films, Matthew Lewis, who played Neville, has undergone a bit of a change. For those who haven’t kept up with the fan community, his new fit physique (and teeth) have made him somewhat of a heartthrob among Potter fans, spawning numerous internet memes claiming the same. Already a fan-favorite of the series, a film focused on Neville would capitalize on that excitement, while fleshing out one of the more heartbreaking back stories of the cast.
Those are just a handful of our ideas for Harry Potter characters and concepts that are ripe for their own adventure, but be sure to add your to the list.
Which wizards and witches do you think we might be seeing in their very own film? Should spin-offs be left to new or secondary characters, or keep the fan-favorites as the heart of the film? Leave your own ideas in the comments.
We’ll see our first dose of a Harry Potter spin-off with Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.