J.K Rowling is returning to the world of Harry Potter on the big screen as she will begin drafting the screenplay for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which is inspired by Harry Potter's Hogwarts textbook of the same name and will follow the adventures of the book's fictitious author, Newt Scamander. Set in the wizarding world, the story will feature magical creatures and characters, some of which will be familiar to devoted Harry Potter fans.
The story will serve as something of a prequel to the Potter series, but a spin-off in the same sense as Newt's story will start in New York, seventy years before Harry's gets underway. The plan, obviously, is to create a new film series.
Rowling issued a lengthy statement in the press release announcing project saying:
"It all started when Warner Bros. came to me with the suggestion of turning 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' into a film. I thought it was a fun idea, but the idea of seeing Newt Scamander, the supposed author of 'Fantastic Beasts,' realized by another writer was difficult. Having lived for so long in my fictional universe, I feel very protective of it and I already knew a lot about Newt. 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.
"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.
"I particularly want to thank Kevin Tsujihara of Warner Bros. for his support in this project, which would not have happened without him. 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."
In addition to the film series, Fantastic Beasts will also be developed across the Studio's video game, consumer products and digital initiatives businesses, including enhanced links with Pottermore.com, Rowling's digital online experience built around the Harry Potter stories.
Rowling has yet to write the screenplay so a production date is out of the question, though I wouldn't be surprised to see this on WB's 2016 slate.