Though the original Harry Potter films managed to make it all the way to the finish line without a hitch, its theatrical follow-up wasn’t so lucky. The Fantastic Beasts movies have had a rough go of it—mostly of series author JK Rowling’s own repeated volition over the last several years. It’s why we here at io9 haven’t covered Rowling or her work in years, but this is something of a special occasion, since it sounds like Warner Bros. has quietly decided to throw in the towel on the sub-franchise altogether.
While doing press with Total Film for his upcoming Netflix film Pain Hustlers, director David Yates said the future Beasts movies have been “parked” for the foreseeable future. “We made those three movies, the last one through a pandemic, and it was enormous fun but it was tough,” Yates explained. The latest entry in the series was 2022’s Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, which he said everyone in the production was “so proud of. When it went out into the world, we just needed to sort of stop and pause, and take it easy.”
If you’ve been paying attention to the Beasts movies, this isn’t terribly surprising: with each installment, they were making less money (Dumbledore made $US407.1 million compared to the original film’s $US811.7 million) and mainly became noteworthy because of the controversies surrounding its stars. The idea of this series hitting its initial five-film endgame seemed more and more unlikely, and as it turns out, that number wasn’t originally set in stone. Rowling just said five movies were happening, said Yates, which threw much of the creative team for a loop.
“[It] was a surprise to most of us, “ he admitted. “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; we’re just taking a pause. It’s quite nice.”
On paper, more movies set in the Harry Potter universe was a logical (albeit potentially exhausting) move on WB’s part. Those books and films still mean a lot to people, but again: Rowling has basically used a flamethrower to burn much of the goodwill she earned with that franchise, to the point that Avalanche Software had to distance its then-upcoming game Hogwarts Legacy from her nearly three whole years before its eventual release this past February. Add on the movies struggling to justify their own existence beyond being a brand extension, and something was going to give sooner or later.
It’s not like WB’s hurting for more Potter, since it’s doing a TV reboot that it hopes will cover all seven books over the next decade. Whether that plan comes to fruition or not, those Beasts did achieve one thing in that they got folks to realize that it’s perfectly okay, healthy even, to let things from their childhood go. At this point, her continued volatility exceeds whatever perceived value there is for this extension of the children’s franchise.
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