In Depth

Fantastic Beasts: JK Rowling promises five films in total

Harry Potter spin-off will be start of a new franchise, says author, as first ten minutes of film is revealed

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is due out next month and with a sequel already confirmed, there's a new franchise in the making.

Author and screenwriter JK Rowling, speaking at a Warner Bros event in London yesterday, told fans she is to write a total of five films set in the Harry Potter universe.

"We always knew that it was going to be more than one movie - we knew that from the start - so we set a trilogy as a sort of placeholder because we knew there would be more than one movie," she said. "But I've now done the plotting properly, so we're pretty sure it's going to be five movies."

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is Rowling's debut piece of screenwriting. "I learned how to write a screenplay while writing a screenplay," she said. "I wouldn't recommend it."

The film also gave her a chance to explore a story referred to in the Harry Potter books, but never seen, she said.

Fans were also shown footage from the first ten minutes of the film, reports Variety.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is both a prequel to the Harry Potter series and the first instalment of the new franchise. Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne plays magical-animal boffin Newt Scamander, who arrives in New York's witch and wizard community as a mysterious threat stalks the streets.

In the Harry Potter canon, Newt writes a book about his experiences, which is read by the boy wizard at Hogwarts 70 years later.

The film opens with investigators tracking magical beasts in the countryside, followed by a series of headlines from newspapers and references to the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, a predecessor to Voldemort as the series' villain.

It them moves on to Redmayne's Newt arriving in New York, telling boisterous creatures in his briefcase to "settle down" as he is passes through US customs, before Colin Farrell appears as head of wizard security Percival Graves, who inspects damage to an areas of New York that's been devastated by mysterious creatures.

Meanwhile, Newt runs into an anti-beast protests rally as one of his own magical beasts escapes from his briefcase. 

A featurette released for a Facebook Live Fan Event shows footage from the film about the rising tensions in New York between magic practitioners and the No-Maj's (non-wizards, or muggles), as well as an interview with Rowling and various cast members.

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New character posters for Fantastic Beasts earlier this week showed a Deathly Hallows necklace, drawing a direct connection to the Harry Potter series.

Rowling says the upcoming films will also chronicle the story of Grindelwald and Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them opens in UK cinemas 17 November.

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