Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is going to be a welcomed return to the wizarding world, even though it will be very different from the Harry Potter movies themselves. As it turns out, it could have been even more different than the movie that we are getting in November. How different? Well, the movie was originally conceived as a documentary-style movie based on the Fantastic Beasts book by J.K. Rowling.
Recently, Collider released an interview that took place with producer David Heyman during a Fantastic Beasts set visit last December. In the interview, he revealed that the original concept for the movie was very different and would have been a mockumentary about Newt Scamander, the magizoologist who "wrote" the textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Here is what Heyman had to say about it.
"We were thinking about what to do and Lionel Wigram, who was one of the producers on this and who was the executive who I first sent Harry Potter way back in the beginning of 1997... He was thinking about what we could do and he had the idea of maybe doing a documentary about Newt. But ultimately I think Jo got word of that and sort of-I mean, we wouldn't have done it without Jo's permission or also a lot like, not sure we could've, but most certainly wouldn't have done even if we could've [without her blessing]."
Even though this story doesn't directly connect to the main Harry Potter storyline, fans can rest assured that it is very much a part of that world. J.K. Rowling is making her screenwriting debut on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and that apparently went over quite well. Warner Bros. has already announced a sequel, and Rowling has reportedly finished the script for that movie. So, we can go into this with confidence knowing that the creator of this world is very heavily involved, and very committed to making it worthy of what everyone has come to expect from the franchise. According to Heyman, Rowling had already been mulling over an idea for a Fantastic Beasts movie when they came to her with it, which is what helped pushed it in the direction it went, as opposed to the documentary style.
"So, Lionel had this idea. Jo got wind of it. She said, 'Well, funny enough I'd been thinking about something already.' And she had this whole idea in some form. I mean, it's changed and developed over the course of the year and a half and two years that's been going on. But she knows how each part connects with her universe. She knows the history of magic before we were with Newt Scamander. She knows the history of the school where Queenie and Tina may have gone-I mean she has all this in her head. She knows creatures, their history, where they're from and so on. She knows who Newt's family is, she knows Queenie and Tina's family, she has it all figured out in some way. So, when she started, she showed us the script and [we] went, 'Whew. Thank you.'"
It makes total sense that Warner Bros. would want to continue on with the Harry Potter franchise in some way or another. The original movies grossed a total of nearly $8 billion worldwide and the merchandising, which includes movie box sets, clothing, toys, and even theme parks, also brings in a ton of money. Part of the reason that these movies have been so successful is because they have stayed very close to Rowling's vision and the studio has always done things with her blessing. While the idea of a documentary about Newt Scamander does sound like it could have been a very interesting take, that is not what we ended up with. That being said, the trailers we have seen are very encouraging and it is hard to imagine fans would have been as excited about a documentary style movie in the Harry Potter world. But it is a cool thing to think about.
Eddie Redmayne is playing the role of Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. He will be joined by Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Ron Perlman, Carmen Ejogo, Jenn Murray, Faith Wood-Blagrove and Colin Farrell. The movie was directed by David Yates, who also directed the final four Harry Potter movies and is already signed on for the Fantastic Beasts sequel. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is slated for worldwide release on November 18, 2016.