‘Harry Potter’ Spinoff ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Being Tackled One Film At A Time

Usually when Hollywood is given the “sure thing” sign by fans that their property will make money, one can expect a trilogy — or at the very least two movies — to be shot back-to-back, as a way to get the most out of the filmmakers’ time and resources. And Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them isn’t just any ordinary spinoff — it’s the spinoff of a property like Harry Potter, a film franchise that has grossed nearly $8 billion worldwide. With author J.K. Rowling penning the script of the film, one would expect it to be the ultimate “sure thing.”

Quite surprisingly, however, with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, they are taking the movies one at a time. In an interview with Collider, producer David Heyman said as far as they are concerned, they are making a single film.

“We’re making just one film, but I believe there’s been talk about there being three. But we’re just talking about it as one.”

David Heyman
‘Fantastic Beasts’ producer, David Heyman

It’s a very surprising quote from the producer, and further proof that what movie studios say isn’t always in sync with what the filmmakers have in mind.

Last October, Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara revealed that Fantastic Beasts would at least be a trilogy, and an entire press release was devoted to the Harry Potter spinoff.

“The Studio will release three pictures, in 2016, 2018 and 2020, based on best-selling author J.K. Rowling’s original story and screenwriting debut, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Set in an extension of her familiar wizarding world, featuring magical creatures and characters inspired by Harry Potter’s Hogwarts textbook and its fictitious author, Newt Scamander, Fantastic Beasts will be directed by David Yates, who directed the last four Harry Potter movies, and reunite the filmmaking team of David Heyman, J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves and Lionel Wigram.”

So while the studio may have an idea of what they’re looking for, based on Heyman’s quote, it’s very clear they’re taking things one film at a time with Fantastic Beasts.

It’s a very unique approach in today’s day and age to treat each film in a franchise as an individual entity, and it harkens back to films like Indiana Jones that didn’t feel the need to tie each film into one another. From single-story franchises spanning multiple films, to entire cinematic universes (such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe), modern franchise movies are usually either shot back-to-back, or at least created with an overall story in mind. Even the original Harry Potter films, while mostly shot one at a time, with the exception of The Deathly Hallows, Parts 1 & 2, were produced in service of the main story, to a degree — especially the later entries.

Mockingjay, Part 1
While The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 is often considered a well-made film, it lacks the fulfilling experience of a single film. Will the Fantastic Beasts franchise change that for big franchises?

With no real base material to go off of with Fantastic Beasts, it is curious that filmmakers are taking such a single film-based approach to the whole thing. There is no overall story, and fans have zero idea of what to expect from each movie. It’s a wait-and-see approach that is becoming increasingly outdated with tentpole franchises. However, in a world full of unfulfilling films (such as The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1, which many felt doesn’t give a full film experience), it may be a refreshing move that is greatly needed in a world full of bloated sequel bait.

Does this quote from producer David Heyman regarding Fantastic Beasts have you concerned or comforted?