The Harry Potter franchise was once Warner Bros.’ biggest draw, and as the studio continued to focus all its attention on the Boy Wizard, franchises like the DC Universe largely fell by the wayside (hence why they later tried to rush into a shared world).
It’s been a long time since the final Potter movie was released back in 2011, and since then, the studio has attempted to launch a prequel/spin-off series with the Fantastic Beasts movies. Unfortunately, those proved to be something of a disappointment for fans who eat, sleep, and breathe all things Potter.
While Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was undeniably fun, the sequels suffered from a major decline in quality despite Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling penning the screenplays. The latest instalment, The Secrets of Dumbledore, looked to put Hogwarts front and centre and attempted some damage control (goodbye, Ezra Miller) to get the series back on the right track after the bizarre – and quickly retconned – Dumbledore family reveal everyone hated.
It didn’t work and while there were once plans for at least two more movies to conclude this story, filmmaker David Yates has told Total Film (via SFFGazette.com) that making five instalments was never the plan when he signed on. As for the franchise itself, it’s been shelved for the time being.
“With ‘Beasts,’ it’s all just parked,” he explains. “We made those three movies, the last one through a pandemic, and it was enormous fun but it was tough. We were actually filming when there wasn’t a vaccine. Thankfully, no one got sick, but we did have the most detailed protocols in place.”
“We’re all so proud of [‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore’] and when it went out into the world,” Yates added, “we just needed to sort of stop and pause and take it easy.”
“The idea that there were going to be five films was a surprise to most of us. Jo just mentioned it spontaneously, at a press screening once. No one had told us there were going to be five, we’d committed to the first one. I’m sure at some point, we’ll be back.”
“But yeah, I haven’t spoken to Jo, I haven’t spoken to [producer] David Heyman, I haven’t spoken to Warner Bros,” the director concluded. “We’re just taking a pause. It’s quite nice. It allows me to do stuff like [Pain Hustlers].”
With a Harry Potter reboot coming to Max, it’s doubtful we’re ever going to see what happened when Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald squared off. We know enough to fill in the gaps ourselves, but abandoning the story does a real disservice to what could have been an epic battle and Newt Scamander, in particular.
The moment this prequel series moved away from the Magizoologist, it started going downhill, and it’s hard to not look at the franchise and wonder, “How much more successful would it have been had they kept the spotlight on those Fantastic Beasts?”