It can be hard to keep track of all the films within the wizarding world, particularly when so many of them begin with the words Harry Potter. Even Potterheads can have trouble remembering which one comes before the other, not to mention where the newer movies, like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, fall in the Potterverse timeline. In this case, the "prequel" to Harry Potter is actually the ninth movie within the franchise. Need some help working it all out? Here are all of the wizarding world films in chronological order.
10 Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (2016)
Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them may be the ninth film to be released in this universe, but chronologically, it's where everything begins. The movie is set in the 1920s, long before Harry Potter and his friends were even born, and centers on Newt Scamander, a magizoologist who is visiting New York City.
If the name Scamander sounds familiar, of course, that's because he wrote one of Harry Potter's textbooks... 'Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them'! This film is filled with references like this to the earlier Harry Potter movies and books; some small (like the introduction of a Bowtruckle, a creature mentioned in Care of Magical Creatures at Hogwarts), and some huge (like the appearance of a young and dapper Dumbledore). Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them also marks a split in the Harry Potter franchise - a whole new multi-movie story arc that takes place before the original films.
9 Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald (2018)
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is the direct sequel to Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, and the second film in this prequel series. Fan favorite characters from the original Fantastic Beasts film return to pick up around a year after the original film leaves off; and to try and stop the Dark Wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) from revealing the magical world to muggles (sorry, no-majs) and taking over.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald is definitely a film that spends most of its time setting up the next one, and fans are eagerly anticipating the eventual showdown between Dumbledore and Grindelwald. This duel is the stuff of wizarding legend, and referenced in the original Harry Potter series, but it's not yet clear how many films stand between Potterheads and this epic moment.
8 Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, was the film (based on the book of the same name, of course) that introduced the world to the Boy Who Lived and his adventures. This film takes place in the early '90s, when Harry Potter is eleven years old, and first discovers that there is an entire world of magical people... and that he is one of them!
This film was the perfect way to launch the franchise, introducing the basics of magic in a charming way... and the main villain of the piece, Voldemort, without making him too frightening for a young audience. There are several decades between The Crimes Of Grindelwald and The Sorcerer's Stone, although the upcoming Fantastic Beasts films are sure to fill in some of those gaps.
7 Harry Potter And The Chamber of Secrets (2002)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets picks up a year after the first Harry Potter film, and for the rest of this franchise, each film would take place over the course of one school year at Hogwarts. Each film would also start to delve a little deeper in to the world of magic that JK Rowling created, with increasingly dark and adult themes and a more frightening version of Voldemort.
The Chamber of Secrets also introduced the first Horcrux (not including Harry himself, of course), although it's not revealed that that's what Tom Riddle's Diary is quite yet. Sadly, this is also the last Harry Potter film to star Richard Harris as Dumbledore (he passed away before the next installment).
6 Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban (2004)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, is the next film in the series, and it's around this point that even devoted Potterheads can start getting confused about which film comes next! The Prisoner of Azkaban starts to really get into the background of Harry's parents, his family, and their tragic death.
This film also introduces a fan-favorite character: Sirius Black. At the start of Harry's third year at Hogwarts, he is assumed to be in danger, as Sirius Black is a murderer and a madman, escaped from Azkaban and out to get him. Of course, this isn't what really happened at all, and fans learn that Sirius is not a murderer, that Ron's pet rat is, and that Harry has a little more family than he originally thought.
5 Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire (2005)
Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire is, for many fans, the last film before this franchise goes all kinds of dark - and that's because it ends with the death of a Hogwarts student, and the full-blown return of Voldemort (no unicorn blood or hiding under turbans now).
This film also opens up the wizarding world for fans; although chronologically, we've already learned about the wizarding world in America (and Paris) thanks to Fantastic Beasts, for those watching in release order, this is the first time that we see students from other magical schools, and it's revealed that (although it should have been fairly obvious) the wizarding world encompasses the entire world. The Goblet Of Fire takes Harry through a series of tests, along with three other students, to win the Triwizard Cup - a portkey, placed by one of Voldemort's followers, that leads to Cedric Diggory's death and a near-escape for Harry.
4 Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix (2007)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the film where Harry's schoolwork starts to take a back-seat to his eventual battle with Voldemort; and where his status as The Chosen One really gets questioned. Harry and Dumbledore know that Voldemort has returned, but the Ministry of Magic is desperate to keep people calm by hushing things up.
The Order Of The Phoenix also introduces one of the most hated characters of the Harry Potter world: the odious Dolores Umbridge. This toad-like teacher comes to Hogwarts from the Ministry, and she's determined to make everyone's lives miserable with her never-ending decrees. Harry, meanwhile, defies her and starts his own Defence Against The Dark Arts group - and learns how to battle Dementors and teach his friends to do the same.
3 Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince (2009)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is based on the second-last book in the Harry Potter series, but is the third-last film in the original Harry Potter franchise. This is the film that broke hearts around the world thanks to Dumbledore's untimely death, and also marks the last film that is set primarily in Hogwarts, as Harry then leaves school in order to take on his Deathly Hallows quest in the next installment.
2 Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 is the beginning of the end for the original Harry Potter series, as the films leave Hogwarts behind and see Harry, Ron, and Hermione set off to try and discover the remaining Horcruxes and destroy them.
Not everyone believed that the Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows book needed to be split into two films, but there is so much here to get through that it allows the franchise to really do justice to as much of the books as possible.
1 Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 is the final film in the original series, released five years before the wizarding world returned with Fantastic Beasts. This is the epic end to Harry Potter's fight against Voldemort, as they come together for the Battle of Hogwarts. This film has plenty of heartbreaking moments too, as that battle ended with too many casualties, but it's the perfect end to the original series. We'll have to wait until the Fantastic Beasts franchise is finished, though, before deciding if the prequels were a good idea, or if Deathly Hallows should have been the end of it.