The Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is moving forward, with Variety reporting that the director of the final four Harry Potter movies will return to direct at least the first film in the new trilogy. The spinoff is based on a novella Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling wrote for charity back in 2001. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is one of Harry Potter’s textbooks that explains all of the magical creatures in J.K. Rowling’s fictional universe, ‘written’ by the fictional “magizoologist” Newt Scamander.
Rowling is set to make her screenwriting debut with the Fantastic Beasts films, which will take place in the same magical universe seventy years before Harry Potter’s time and follow Scamander’s journeys cataloging magical species.
“Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for seventeen 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. 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, but Newt’s story will start in New York, seventy years before Harry’s gets underway,” Rowling said in a statement in the fall, when the project was announced.
David Yates directed the last four movies in the Harry Potter franchise, from The Order of the Phoenix onwards, and so was a natural choice for Warner Bros to approach to direct the spinoff. Yates is obviously very familiar with the Harry Potter universe, and so will approach the material in a more familiar way than a new director would. Yates also has a strong relationship with Rowling, who was highly involved in the Harry Potter movies, which is another reason he was a good choice to direct the author’s screenwriting debut. The Fantastic Beasts movies will probably have a similar look and feel as the Harry Potter films.