Entertainment Movies

J.K. Rowling promises five Fantastic Beasts films

By Bruce Kirkland, Special to Postmedia Network

Eddie Redmayne stars in J.K. Rowling's "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." (YouTube screengrab)

Eddie Redmayne stars in J.K. Rowling's "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." (YouTube screengrab)

The wizarding world of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will now morph from a trilogy into a five-film franchise series, author and screenwriter J.K. Rowling confirmed Thursday in London.

Attending a global love-in set up to promote the first film, and popping up on-stage as a surprise guest, Rowling revealed that the decision was made in private only last week. It happened when she sat down with Beasts director David Yates and producer David Heyman for a long-range story conference.

Before her brief announcement, Rowling put her head together with Yates and Heyman — whom she worked with on the Harry Potter franchise — to whisper about whether she should break the news live. The two Davids nodded and she threw it out to cheering fans in select theatres around the world, including Toronto.

Beasts star Eddie Redmayne, who will play the eccentric wizard Newt Scamander, looked shocked when he heard the news about five instead of three films. But this expansion follows in the footsteps of what happened with Potter when the two Davids, Rowling and other franchise players turned seven Potter novels into eight films.

Fantastic Beasts is set in the same fantasy world as the Potter series, but decades earlier and long before Harry is born. The first film begins in 1926 and moves forward, with Redmayne’s Scamander arriving in New York, fresh from London, to deal with a looming crisis.

Rowling joked that Redmayne and his co-stars, including Katherine Waterston and Alison Sudol, were “lying” when they said they did not know anything about what might happen next in the story, after the events of the first film. That is because she had spilled some of the beans during filming.

But none of Rowling would offer even a tidbit of what will happen, except to say that the next film will move from New York to another major world city.