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As if it weren't exciting enough to know that J.K. Rowling was making a grand cinematic return to the Harry Potter universe, we now know that the Fantastic Beasts followup she's penning will be a trilogy. And it seems we have Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara to thank for getting the ball rolling there, as Rowling credits him and his energy for prompting her to pen the first draft of the script for the story, which will center on the fictional author of Hogwarts textbook Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them, Newt Scamander.
NY Times ran an interesting feature on Kevin Tsujihara, the man who took over as CEO of Warner Bros. a year ago. Among the studio's developments since then was the announcement that J.K. Rowling was writing a screenplay for a feature adaptation of her book Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them. While we might have guessed that WB would have its eye on a potential new franchise, it seems the studio is already looking to take the Hobbit approach with this one, as Times says "three megamovies are planned" for the Harry Potter spinoff. Neither prequels, nor sequels, the story will be set seventy years before Harry Potter arrives at Hogwarts, and it will "start in New York." Though there haven't been many details announced about the plot, it's likely that the setting will change, when taking into account the "Where to Find Them" side of the title, as Newt may be traveling far and wide for those fantastic beasts.
Beyond the mention of the planned trilogy, Times quotes Rowling as crediting WB's Tsujihara for making Fantastic Beasts happen. "When I say he made 'Fantastic Beasts' happen, it isn't P.R.-speak but the literal truth," Rowling was quoted as saying. "We had one dinner, a follow-up telephone call, and then I got out the rough draft that I'd thought was going to be an interesting bit of memorabilia for my kids and started rewriting!" From there, she goes on to talk about how engaging Tsujihara is. And the full article about the things Tsujihara is doing at WB, including risking a fight with theater owners over simultaneously releasing Veronica Mars in theaters and on-demand, is well worth a read.
In the meantime, it's difficult to know how to interpret the news that Fantastic Beasts will be a trilogy mainly because the book gives us so little to go on in terms of the story. The knee-jerk reaction as a Harry Potter fan might be more-is-better optimism but because the story is being developed from a 42-page book that was originally intended to be bonus material in the form of a reference guide to some of the magical creatures that exist in the Harry Potter universe, there's no way to say if what Rowling has in mind warrants the three-movie treatment. But I'm a Harry Potter fanatic and I've already expressed my optimism over this project, so I'm hopeful the trilogy plan is the right call. And to spoon a bit more optimism onto that, I'll add that it's somewhat encouraging to know that there's a plan in place to do three films, as it'll hopefully mean Rowling is writing the story with that in mind, as opposed to writing a single-film tale and then having to extend it somehow to fill two more movies.