It's a good time to be a fan of J.K Rowling's Wizarding World. The script for the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (based on a story by Rowling) is now a best-selling book, while the prequel/spinoff film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is moving along steadily to its November release date. As Wizarding World fans no doubt remember, when it was first announced that Rowling would be writing a Fantastic Beasts movie, it was also revealed that the plan was for the film to kick-off a trilogy of adventures based around the magizoologist, Newt Scamander (Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne).
David Yates, director of Fantastic Beasts and the final four Harry Potter movies, has since confirmed that Rowling has already finished the script for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2. Now Warner Bros. Pictures has formally confirmed that the sequel is moving forward and is slated to arrive in theaters on the November 2018 date that WB had previously claimed for an untitled "event" movie (one which was always presumed to be the Fantastic Beasts sequel).
WB is also confirming that Yates will return to direct the Fantastic Beasts sequel - a movie that “moves deeper into an increasingly dark time for the wizarding world, where Newt and our other heroes have to decide on their allegiances," according to the official statement released by WB. This is in keeping with previous statements made by Yates, where he said that Rowling's script for the second Fantastic Beasts movie takes Scamander's story in a "whole new direction" relative to the first installment in this new trilogy.
The first couple trailers released for Fantastic Beasts paint the film as being a relatively lighter and more whimsical fantasy adventure compared to the latter chapters in Harry Potter's saga; as Scamander, while traveling through New York in the 1920s, loses track of a few "Fantastic Beasts" that he keeps in his enchanted traveling case. However, the movie's Comic-Con trailer alludes to some darker elements in the story, as have additional details released about the film - revealing that Scamander crosses paths with anti-magic extremist groups during his misadventures.
It's now a bit clearer how Fantastic Beasts will set the stage for a sequel that takes place in "an increasingly dark time for the wizarding world," as the divide between non-magical people and wizards/witches deepens (eventually paving the way for You-Know-Who's rise to power). Yates has proven to be a reliable force behind the camera on his Wizarding World movies to date, so it's understandable that WB would prefer to keep him onboard as director for the Fantastic Beasts sequel - and, should the first two installments prove successful enough, the third chapter tentatively planned for a 2020 release date.
As to the question of whether or not the first Fantastic Beasts movie will perform well enough at the box office to justify moving forward with a sequel at all: based on the response to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child alone, it seems fair to assume the demand is very much still there for further adventures set in Rowling's Wizarding World. We'll find out soon enough if that demand extends to more stories featuring Newt Scamander and his friends (not Harry), too.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens in U.S. theaters on November 18th, 2016, followed by Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2 on November 16th, 2018.
Source: Warner Bros. Pictures