Fantastic Beasts 3 will start filming in February 2020, according to actor Dan Fogler. The third entry in the Harry Potter prequel series was originally set to begin filming this past summer, with a November 2020 release date in mind. However, after last year's Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald failed to impress critics (making it the first Wizarding World film to do so) and under-performed at the box office, Warner Bros. hit the brakes and delayed the film by a year to November 2021, instead.
There haven't been too many updates to report since then, beyond franchise creator J.K. Rowling (who wrote the first two Fantastic Beasts movies) being busy writing the screenplay. About a month ago, Newt Scamander actor Eddie Redmayne confirmed that Rowling is actively fine-tuning her Fantastic Beasts 3 script ahead of production beginning next year. His costar Fogler, who plays Jacob Kowalski, has since affirmed the 2020 start date.
Speaking at LeakyCon 2019 Boston (via ComicBook.com), Fogler said Fantastic Beasts 3 starts filming in February 2020, adding that Rowling has "been writing furiously, everyone was really happy with what she submitted, and we’re all just waiting for the new script". He then went on to talk about his slimmed-down appearance, joking that Jacob's girlfriend, Queenie Goldstein (Alison Sudol), puts a spell on the character to get fit. He then offered a more serious thought on how this could inform Jacob's personal journey in Fantastic Beasts 3.
"[On] a philosophical level, it’ll be interesting… We’re in the middle of the Depression, he’s just on a bender of loss. He lost her … I’m just saying this is the thing that I have in my head, that he’s lost his appetite".
Mixed to negative reviews and diminished box office returns aren't the only problems the Fantastic Beasts franchise has had to deal with over the past year. WB and Rowling also made the controversial decision to keep Johnny Depp onboard as Gellert Grindelwald, despite the backlash to his casting after his ex-wife Amber Heard levied domestic abuse allegations against him in 2016. The actor then filed a defamation lawsuit against Heard earlier this year, and it's since been reported that WB executives are worried Depp's continued involvement will damage Fantastic Beasts 3 (as well as the other two films still planned in the series). It's enough to make one wonder if Rowling's script rewrites include fewer scenes where Grindelwald shows up in-person, for that very reason.
That aside, though, fans are still holding out hope that Fantastic Beasts 3 will be a pretty big an improvement on The Crimes of Grindelwald thanks to its delay. For all its flaws, the second Fantastic Beasts movie had some promising elements and laid the ground-work for some intriguing story twists and turns moving forward. And with a whole lot of table-setting now out of the way, the third Fantastic Beasts (and however many more films come after that) is free to build on the foundation already in place in new and compelling ways. With a little luck, then, that's exactly what Fantastic Beasts 3 will do.
- Fantastic Beasts 3 (2021) release date: Nov 12, 2021