When the Fantastic Beasts movie franchise was first revealed we learned the plan was to make five movies. The first two films, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald were released two years apart and it seemed the plan was to make all five movies over the course of a decade. However, the third film in the series was pushed back following a lukewarm reception to part two, and the global pandemic only made the delay worse. Part three is now set to open next year, but it looks like Fantastic Beasts 4 may also see a significant delay before it's released.
Director David Yates has been one of the core architects of the Wizarding World on the big screen, having helmed the final four Harry Potter franchise films and all three of the Fantastic Beasts movies. He's only directed one other movie, 2016's The Legend of Tarzan since starting on the franchise, and he took that gig between the two major film series. However, it looks like Yates is looking to take another little break from the world of wands and brooms as Deadline is reporting that he is in talks with Sony to direct an original film project. While Yates taking the other job would likely cause a delay, it seems that Yates is taking the job because Warner Bros. had informed Yates there was going to be a break between Fantastic Beasts 3 and part four anyway.
Exactly why the studio has decided to take a break between the next two films is unclear. It may simply be a desire to make the next movies better. Fantastic Beasts 3 saw a delay after the second film wasn't a massive hit with audiences, with the hope being that if the new movie took its time, it would simply turn out better. Audiences won't know until next summer if that plan actually worked, but if WB's early look at the movie gives the studio the impression taking more time worked, then it may simply plan to take more time with every movie in the rest of the franchise.
Exactly how long this break is planned to be is unclear, but the movie that David Yates is working on, though a lot isn't known about it, is being described as a "smaller film" which was one of the things that appealed to Yates about the project. As such it likely won't take a great deal of time to complete.
It's a movie set in the world of pharmaceutical sales during the opioid epidemic and is being described as something similar to The Wolf of Wall Street. That certainly doesn't sound like the sort of film that will require large amounts of post-production digital effects, so Yates will likely be able to make the movie quickly compared to what the Wizarding World films require.
It's possible the reason for the delay is simply to wait until Fantastic Beasts 3 is released and make sure that audiences embrace it. If they do, the next movie can move forward. If not, there may be a longer conversation about what to do with the final two planned films.
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