The Essential Harry Potter: Laying The Hogwarts Groundwork

Harry Potter finally returns with a sequel, a play entitled Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on July 31, at London’s iconic Palace Theater, according to a previous report by the Inquisitr. Meanwhile, the first of the Harry Potter prequel consisting of three new movies entitled Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will start hitting theaters on November 18. The time travel (from sequel to prequel) echoes a Star Wars approach. Perhaps a company the size of Disney might also be interested in buying out the franchise from Universal Studios.

With all the Harry Potter films being box-office hits, there is always the tendency for some big conglomerate in the entertainment industry to attempt a buyout, sooner or later. Of course, it all depends on whether there will be serious obstacles to a takeover.

The cash in question if negotiations ever go underway, can be mind-boggling. It may even eclipse the Lucas-Disney deal. Here’s why: Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling just happens to be No. 11 in Wikipedia’s list of the most successful writers in history. This makes Rowling the eleventh writer to make the most money on the planet.

Such record makes her a more influential writer than J. R. R. Tolkien (Lord of the Rings). Tolkien only made $200 million from book sales against Rowling’s $350 million for all her 11 books. What stands out like a sore thumb is the title chosen for the prequel. It sounds more like a tentative title. Unless someone has read the new novel or has seen the first installment of the prequel, however, it is impossible to gauge fully whether the title in question is appropriate or truly a misfit.

The J.K. Rowling success is well-deserved, especially if how she managed to get there is dissected. She started writing the Harry Potter books while under British government welfare, baby stroller in tow at her favorite coffee shop. In other words, she was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth. This certainly makes success a lot sweeter.

The Harry Potter writer’s only regret is her mother passed away six months before writing the first book, according to Mirror. So Rowling’s latest message to her seven million Twitter followers on March 6: “Today’s Mother’s Day in the UK. If your mum isn’t here to treat, do something nice for yourself, because she’s part of you. Take a hug, too.”

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them headlines Oscar awardee Eddie Redmayne. Redmayne plays the lead role of Newt Scamander, a 1920s magic collector who comes to New York with a valise-full of trapped monsters yearning to be unleashed, reminiscent of the Pandora’s Box mythology. Scamander antedates Potter by seventy years, thus laying the groundwork for the Johnny-come-lately wiz kid.

On the other hand, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child follows the wizard decades after the last Potter movie. This time around, Harry is a father to Albus, his second son. That Rowling decided to release her latest work as a play is a stroke of genius. She is also selling the novel or book version on July 31. Using the theater as a medium as opposed to the big screen lends even more sophistication to the beloved series.

This innovative move, coupled with the selection of a high-caliber actors for the prequel, speak millions to Rowling’s followers. It tells them in no uncertain terms that both the prequel and sequel will have more depth, and as such, will require more serious acting. This can only heighten the anticipation, making the wait almost unbearable, considering that the last time the fans saw Harry Potter on the big screen was five years ago.

So with Harry returning, great expectations are in the air. Surely, by now Potterheads will have already encircled July 31 and November 8 on their calendar. It is amusing that the New York scenes for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them have been filmed in London; and likewise, that the sequel is set in America instead of the UK. Foundation-setting is always a wonderful approach at keeping an immensely popular series grounded. For those who will a need a review, IMDb offers the best chronology of the earlier Harry Potter movies and their respective plots.

[Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]