In the upcoming film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them, Warner Bros and JK Rowling are presenting a film based in the Harry Potter Universe. This film is set in New York and the 1920's and takes place well before Dumbledore, Lord Voldemort, or Harry Potter came to fame in the Wizarding World. I think it’s a great idea for Rowling to continue to tell stories set in the universe that she created, but is Fantastic Beasts the way to go? Recently io9 featured a story that was pretty critical of a lot of the backstory that Rowling has created for this new expansion of the wizarding world.
So my question is what other options would Rowling and Warner Bros have to continue to 1) make money on Harry Potter, and 2) tell more stories in the wizarding world.
The most obvious answer before Fantastic Beasts, was to just tell more Harry Potter stories. Rowling has done that to an extent by allowing Jack Thorne to tell the story of Harry as an adult working at the Ministry of Magic in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I’m sure Rowling is being compensated for at least creating Potter from this, but it doesn’t really let her creative juices flow the same way as writing new stories herself would. Also, the play is currently only scheduled to be staged in London’s West End, leaving a huge portion of Harry Potter fans in the dark as to what it’s like to see Potter in action again.
Rowling has a huge opportunity to write more Harry Potter stories, in this same vein, him as an adult working at the Ministry of Magic. Those then have an opportunity to be made into movies, which will ultimately satisfy Warner Bros and fans, if not Daniel Radcliffe.
Prequels is where we currently find ourselves, but focusing much further into the past than what most fans would have thought they were getting when they found out about these movies. I think that there were probably better options for storytelling, and may have focused more on characters that we already know and love.
While the original Harry Potter books told a decent amount of backstory as to what happened during Lord Voldemort’s first rise to power, there is so much opportunity there to tell that story as a fully fleshed out novel or movie series. Even though I am not a huge fan of prequels where you already know the ending, I think that Rowling could tell a compelling story focused on Lily Potter and her 7 years at Hogwarts. There is even the chance to focus on the Longbottom’s and how they had fought off Voldemort 3 times that made Neville a chance to be the “chosen one” so to speak. Or there is even an opportunity to do a novel or movie series based on Voldemort’s time at Hogwarts or his early years outside of school working in the dark arts.
For Warner Bros an easy cash grab for them, that would probably not be incredibly popular with fans, but is inevitably coming would be to just go ahead and do a flat out remake of the Harry Potter movie series. Let’s face it, going back and re-watching those movies, especially the early ones, the special effects just do not hold up very well. There are also some things from the books that were skipped or not touched on in the movies very deeply that they could put back in that would make the movies somewhat different. This option is probably off limits for now, but I would expect once the Fantastic Beasts trilogy finishes up, this might be on the table.
So what do you think? What options would you explore if you were Rowling or Warner Bros?