Muggles rejoice! Warner Bros. announced Thursday that it is partnering with "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling for an all-new film series set in the author's magical world of wizards and witches.
The source material is Rowling's 2001 "Harry Potter" companion, "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," an in-universe text written by Newt Scamander, which details and describes the enchanted creatures in the Potter universe. "Fantastic Beasts" will mark Rowling's screenwriting debut, and is the first installment in a proposed series.
"It all started when Warner Bros. came to me with the suggestion of turning 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' into a film," Rowling explained in a statement. "I thought it was a fun idea, but the idea of seeing Newt Scamander, the supposed author of 'Fantastic Beasts,' realized by another writer was difficult. Having lived for so long in my fictional universe, I feel very protective of it and I already knew a lot about Newt. As hard-core' Harry Potter' fans will know, I liked him so much that I even married his grandson, Rolf, to one of my favourite characters from the 'Harry Potter' series, Luna Lovegood.
"As I considered Warners' proposal, an idea took shape that I couldn't dislodge. That is how I ended up pitching my own idea for a film to Warner Bros.
"Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for 17 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. The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the 'Harry Potter' books or seen the films, but Newt's story will start in New York, 70 years before Harry's gets underway.' "
The release from Warner Bros. did note, however, that the story will "feature creatures and characters, some of which will be familiar to devoted Harry Potter fans."
The partnership between Rowling and the studio also covers video games, consumer products and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme parks.
Rowling first captured readers' imaginations with the 1997 publication of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" (renamed "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" for American publication in 1998), penning six more installments in the series about the boy who lived. Eight films starring Daniel Radcliffe as the titular wizard followed, grossing nearly $8 billion worldwide.