When Warner Brothers announced that J.K. Rowling would be producing a new Harry Potter-inspired film, I was one of the few people not jumping for joy. While I am an avid Potter-head, I am not so sure about this new movie idea. The film is going to be based off her book, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” a story with essentially no plot. While Rowling makes this seem like the greatest thing to happen since Neville killed Nagini, I think she is preparing Harry Potter fans for disappointment.
First, the original Harry Potter characters that we have all come to love so dearly are not going to be in the film. To me, this sounds like the biggest tease ever. How could a person make a movie about the wizarding world and not include the Boy Who Lived? Rowling made it clear that the new film series would not be a prequel or a sequel to her Harry Potter series. Instead, in a recent interview she was quoted as saying that the new film series would be “an extension of the wizarding world.” To me, this sounds like a cop-out.
Instead, we are going to be taken back 70 years before Harry Potter was even known to the wizarding world and thrown into Newt Scamander’s life. Scamander is the “author” of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” For those of you who do not recognize his name, he is a magizoologist and his textbook was widely used at Hogwarts. His grandson, Rolf, married Luna Lovegood, one of Rowling’s favorite characters. His book, published for muggles as well, is not plot-based. Instead, it is just a standard textbook that Harry and his friends have annotated. This leaves J.K. Rowling lots of freedom to do whatever she wants with the screenplay.
This complete freedom is what causes my grief. I think that many Harry Potter enthusiasts will be led into a theater to watch a new series of films that could be a complete letdown compared to the first series with which they originally fell in love with.
I have never doubted J.K. Rowling’s work until now. Many critics are saying that she is just desperate for money after trying to publish books without relation to Harry Potter that did not do so well. I certainly hope that is not Rowling’s intention, but it does feel like it. With that said, I know that my curiosity will get the better of me and I will end up seeing the film that is estimated to come out in 2016. I sincerely hope that it will not be a complete disappointment. Some series are better left untouched if the author is not willing to completely follow the story.
Anna Duke is a staff writer for the Voice. She can be reached for comment at ADuke15@wooster.edu.