JK Rowling to write new Harry Potter-inspired film series based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Author to return to  world of wizardry for screenwriting debut – but without the boy wizard

JK Rowling is to make a surprise return to the fantastical world of witches  and wizards for her screenwriting debut – but there will be no sign of Harry Potter.

Fans of the bestselling series about the teenage wizard will nevertheless be thrilled that his fictional world is to be expanded with a series of new films, starting with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Revealing the news on her Facebook page, the British author said she was going to return to the world of wizardry only “if I had an idea that I was really excited about; and this is it”.

Warner Bros Entertainment approached Rowling with the idea of turning Fantastic Beasts, the textbook Harry and co study in Hogwarts, into a film.

She said it was a “fun idea” but would find it difficult for another author to take on the book’s protagonist, Newt Scamander. “As I considered Warner’s proposal, an idea took shape that I couldn’t dislodge. That is how I ended up pitching my own idea for a film,” Rowling said. “Having lived for so long in my fictional universe, I feel very protective of it and I already knew a lot about Newt.”

The story will start in New York, 70 years before the start of Harry Potter’s adventures in The Philosopher’s Stone, but the “laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films”.

Rowling said: “Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards, where I was so happy for 17 years, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world.”

Kevin Tsujihara, the chief executive of Warner Bros Entertainment, said the company was “honoured” that Rowling had agreed to the partnership. “She is an extraordinary writer, who ignited a reading revolution around the world, which then became an unprecedented film phenomenon.”

In a bid to exploit fully the potential of the new work, the company has plans to launch a Fantastic Beasts video game and a host of consumer products.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander

 

The studio will be delighted to have extended one of its most lucrative franchises, which has an inbuilt audience that will be more supportive with Rowling’s name attached. The series, which comprised eight films, grossed more than $7.7bn (£4.9bn) around the world, according to Box Office Mojo.

Last year Rowling dropped out of the Forbes World’s Billionaires list, which the magazine put down to her charitable giving and the British tax rates.

Since then, however, Pottermore, the online Harry Potter resource, has launched, she has published the bestselling The Casual Vacancy, and has now signed this deal with Warner Bros, which might bring her back on to Forbes’s list before too long. The book is to be turned into a television miniseries by the BBC, which will then be distributed around the world by Warner Bros.

Earlier this year, Rowling was also revealed to be the author of The Cuckoo’s Calling, a detective book published under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith. After she was unmasked the well-reviewed but modest-selling book became an instant bestseller.

Wizard creatures: From the book of fantastic beasts

Basilisk

This giant serpent can kill with a single glance; the Ministry of Magic grants it an XXXXX classification for being a known wizard-killer. But Harry Potter fights and despatches the basilisk in Hogwarts’ Chamber of Secrets.

Ukrainian Ironbelly

The largest breed of dragon in the Potter world. It guards the vault belonging to evil Bellatrix Lestrange in Gringotts bank.

Hippogriff

One of the series’ best-loved creatures, Buckbeak the hippogriff is an eagle-horse hybrid. His finest moment is his attack on Draco Malfoy after the slimy student shows him disrespect.

Phoenix

Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore’s phoenix, Fawkes, saves Harry’s life and helps his master fight Lord Voldemort.

Merpeople

Live underwater and speak Mermish. Hogwarts’ own colony torments Harry during a Triwizard Tournament task in The Goblet of Fire.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Christopher Eccleston (centre) plays an ex-policeman in this cliché-riddled thriller

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey looks very serious as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

TV This TV review contains spoilers
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Wiz Khalifa performs on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park in Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury

music

Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars creator George Lucas

film

Arts and Entertainment

music

Arts and Entertainment
A shot from the forthcoming Fast and Furious 7

film

Arts and Entertainment
The new-look Top of the Pops could see Fearne Cotton returns as a host alongside Dermot O'Leary

TV

Arts and Entertainment
The leader of the Church of Scientology David Miscavige

TV

Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
    Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

    Confessions of a former PR man

    The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

    Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

    Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
    London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

    The mother of all goodbyes

    Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
    Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

    Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

    The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions