'Fantastic Beasts' May Be Your Next Fave Franchise

The world of Harry Potter is heading back to theaters this year. Now, before you get too excited, I didn't say that Harry Potter himself was heading back to theaters, I said the world of Harry Potter. The upcoming film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them takes place in the same universe as Harry Potter, so fans can expect lots of wizards and spells and, well, fantastic beasts. But since there's no way fans will be satisfied with just one new wizarding movie, everyone's wondering how many Fantastic Beasts movies there will be.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is, like the Harry Potter series, based upon a book by J.K. Rowling. However, unlike the Harry Potter series, Rowling also wrote the screenplay for the film, hypothetically giving her much more control over what will end up on screen. This is in part due to the fact that the actual book the film is based on is essentially a fictional text book, by fictional author Newt Scamander. Therefore, the movie isn't really based upon the book's "story", it's instead an original story starring Scamander that is penned by Rowling. And she's not telling this new story of hers in just one movie. Nope, she's aiming for a trilogy.

The current plan is for there to be a total of three Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movies. The first film is set for release on Nov. 18 of this year, followed by a sequel in 2018, and a third installment in 2020; as reported by David Lieberman of Deadline back in 2014. Rowling herself confirmed in February of this year that the series would be a trilogy, tweeting to a fan who was under the false impression that the upcoming Harry Potter play The Cursed Child was going to be a movie.

By turning one slight book into a trilogy, Fantastic Beasts is following in the footsteps of another Warner Bros. production, The Hobbit trilogy, which stretched out its source material to mixed reviews but big profits. It's not a direct comparison, however, since Fantastic Beasts is an original story; more inspired by the book than based on it. But stretching out source material is kind of Hollywood's game right now, thanks in large part to Harry Potter. After the seventh book in that series, The Deathly Hallows, was split into two movies to maximize profits, numerous other franchises like Twilight and The Hunger Games, and most recently Divergent, followed suit. So does that mean there's a chance that Fantastic Beasts will continue past its planned trilogy?

There is a chance that it could, but ultimately it's probably up to Rowling. If the studio had its way, it would probably release a new Harry Potter universe movie every year in trying to keep up with Disney's plan to saturate the market with Star Wars and Marvel, and the studio's CEO Kevin Tsujihara implied as much at an Oct. 2014 Time Warner investors meeting when he said the Fantastic Beasts series would be "at least a trilogy", according to Tech Times. So if the first couple of movies do very well, expect Warner Bros. to keep them coming.

So rejoice, Rowling fans. There are going to be at least three Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movies... and maybe even more if you're lucky.

Images: Warner Bros. Pictures; giphy.com