While it shouldn't come as a huge surprise, the Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be shot at Warner Bros.' Leavesden Studios in the U.K., where all eight of the Harry Potter movies were shot. U.K. Culture Secretary Sajid Javid announced the news during an event on Wednesday.
Unlike the Harry Potter movies, which were set in the U.K., Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them actually takes place in New York City, following the adventures of fictitious author Newt Scamander, 70 years before the Harry Potter series begins. The movie is not a prequel or a sequel to the flagship franchise, but merely an, "extension of the wizarding world," according to author J.K. Rowling, who also wrote the adapted screenplay that has been confirmed to be the first in a new trilogy.
Many fans have been wondering if some familiar faces will show up in the movie such as Aldus Dumbledore, who "wrote" the forward to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The wizard would have been in his late 30s when Newt Scamander started "writing" this book, supposedly in 1918. Naturally, nothing has been confirmed at this point, but given Warner Bros.' lucrative history with the Harry Potter franchise, it wouldn't be surprising if they tried to link the original franchise to this new trilogy in some way.
Warner Bros. handed out a November 16, 2016 release date for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them back in May, but the project still doesn't have a director attached at this time. A report surfaced in may that Alfonso Cuarón, fresh off his critical and commercial success with Gravity, was "in talks" to direct, which would have marked his return to the franchise after he directed 2004's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. However, the filmmaker shot down that report just a few days later.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was based on the 54-page textbook that J.K. Rowling wrote in 2001, between the publication of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.