Today Warner Bros. Entertainment and author J.K. Rowling announced a new film series based on the world of “Harry Potter” called “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” following the adventures of that book’s fictitious author, Newt Scamander.
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” will be an original story, Rowling’s screenwriting debut, planned as the first of a new film series set in the wizarding world, featuring magical creatures and characters, some of which will be familiar to Harry Potter fans.
In addition to the film series, “Fantastic Beasts” will also be developed as video games as well as physical and digital products.
More importantly for theme park fans, the announcement also notes Warner Bros’ newly expanded partnership with Rowling also covers the continued expansion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park attractions at Universal Parks and Resorts in Orlando, FL and soon opening in Hollywood, CA and Osaka, Japan. While nothing specific is planned for the new worlds of “Fantastic Beasts” for these parks, it’s certainly not impossible to think that the ongoing Diagon Alley expansion of Universal Studios Florida won’t be the last of the majorly successful Potter-based entertainment to be seen in Universal’s parks.
The new story is set in New York, in the ’20s, seventy years before that of Harry Potter. Given Universal’s parks have ample New York facades already, a tie-in there isn’t unthinkable.
“Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for seventeen years, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world,” said Rowling.
Meanwhile a few days ago Universal Pictures and Steven Spielberg announced the latest in his “Jurassic Park” film series will hit theaters in June 12, 2015 called “Jurassic World.” It will be directed by Colin Trevorrow from a screenplay he wrote with Derek Connolly, shot in 3-D.
Little else is known about the film, though some rumors suggest that at least one “Jurassic World” concept sets the film theme park in which dinosaurs have been tamed – or so the trainers think.
Universal Orlando is currently working quietly on an expansion to their Jurassic Park area of the Islands of Adventure theme park, neighboring the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Details of that expansion have yet to be revealed, but they could tie in to “Jurassic World” within the next few years.
It’s important to reiterate that no actual theme park attractions or areas have been announced by Universal for either “Fantastic Beasts” or “Jurassic World” but it’s unlikely that either (or both) of these big name film franchises will see the silver screen without the theme parks somehow becoming involved. Universal has said they plan to roll out more big name attractions at an increasingly rapid pace over the next few years, so expect more announcements either way.
The Diagon Alley expansion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is scheduled to open mid-2014.