When you are confident in your movie, you announce a sequel. When you know, with absolute certainty, that your upcoming movie is going to be a global sensation, you announce five movies, as JK Rowling just did for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them:
Holy heck, that is a LOT of Newt Scamander and his Wizarding world. The beauty about Fantastic Beasts is that JK Rowling and director David Yates -- who helmed the last few chapters of the Harry Potter series -- aren't married to existing books. The book on which Fantastic Beasts is loosely based is more of just a textbook, or a guide, to magical creatures that exist in the universe. But there isn't a steadfast plotline that needs to be properly adapted, or a narrative that needs to be married to in order to please fans. You can go virtually anywhere with these new characters in this familiar world... so long as you maintain a tone that the dedicated fanbase approves and accepts.
On top of that, there's a freedom to the characters that the series can follow. As much as we love Eddie Redmayne, we don't yet know if Newt will be a protagonist who'll we'll want to follow around for numerous movies. But future Fantastic Beasts films could take left turns down interesting avenues. As was hinted at by author JK Rowling at the Fantastic Beasts Fan Event -- where this news was revealed -- this first movie will begin to address some history of the Wizarding world that was mentioned in the Harry Potter books, but never fully explained.
Does the name Gellert Grindewald mean anything to you? You might be a bit of a muggle (me included, so no judgment), but our resident Potter expert Kelly West went into a bit as to why Grindewald is important to the Potter and, eventually, Fantastic Beasts mythology. Gellert was, at one point, an ally of Albus Dumbledore. And then, a rival. With five Fantastic Beasts movies now on the docket, does this mean that we'll eventually get to see more of young Dumbledore's story take over the narrative? On that topic, Rowling said:
There are ways in which we connect to the Potter books, that I think people will find surprising. They're talking about the first time a wizard rose and threatened a world order. This was always where I was interested in going. This is what I wanted to do.
Here is the feature that was released as part of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them event today, held in L.A., London, and points in between.
The first Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens in theaters on November 18, with a sequel dated for November 2018 already. Then, they will hit, probably with a frequency of every two years, for the foreseeable future.