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J.K. Rowling will write new movie set in 'Potter' universe (+video)

J.K. Rowling will write the screenplay for a film adaptation of the Potter book 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' and the movie will center on the adventures of textbook author Newt Scamander.

By Staff Writer / September 12, 2013

'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' is written by J.K. Rowling, though it bills itself as a textbook written by fictional author Newt Scamander.

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Hold onto your wizard (and witch) hats, Harry Potter fans. 

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A new “Potter”-themed movie series is coming and will be inspired by the book “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” a stand-alone book set in the Potter universe that was written by J.K. Rowling. Fans will remember that in the magical world, “Fantastic” is a textbook assigned to some Hogwarts students.

The new film series will be inspired by the book “and the adventures of the book’s fictitious author, Newt Scamander,” according to Warner Bros., the movie studio behind the Harry movies and the new films.

“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,” Rowling, who will be writing the screenplay, said in a statement. “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.” (Potter fans usually pinpoint the first "Potter" book at having taken place in the early 1990s. Does this mean a 1920s-set film?)

Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara said the studio was “incredibly honored that Jo has chosen to partner with Warner Bros. on this exciting new exploration of the world of wizardry which has been tremendously successful across all of our businesses.”

“We know that audiences will be as excited as we are to see what her brilliant and boundless imagination conjures up for us,” Tsujihara said.

The film will be Rowling’s screenwriting debut. She said that Warner Bros. had approached her about a movie based on “Fantastic” and that the longer she thought about it, the more loath she was to pass on Newt to another writer. 

“Having lived for so long in my fictional universe, I feel very protective of it and I already knew a lot about Newt,” she said. “As hard-core Harry Potter fans will know, I liked him so much that I even married his grandson, Rolf, to one of my favourite characters from the Harry Potter series, Luna Lovegood. As I considered Warners’ proposal, an idea took shape that I couldn’t dislodge. That is how I ended up pitching my own idea for a film to Warner Bros… I always said that I would only revisit the wizarding world if I had an idea that I was really excited about and this is it.”

There's no word yet on a release date for the first movie.

"Fantastic" was first released in 2001 and money from the book's sales goes to the charity Comic Relief. The textbook had been mentioned in the "Potter" series as having been assigned to Harry Potter and his friends, and the book itself is billed as written by the fictional author Newt Scamander rather than Rowling. The book, which is 64 pages long, includes doodles by students Harry, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger.

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