Following news that Warner Bros. would be cashing in further on the Harry Potter franchise with a film and/or films based on author J.K. Rowling’s book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, we maybe should have expected this. It turns out that Fantastic Beasts wasn’t the only trademark that Warners filed for. They also registered a number of trademarks regarding Tales of Beedle the Bard, a Chaucer and/or Hans Christian Anderson-esque collection of stories from the history of the Harry Potter universe, and Quidditch Through the Ages, which was first published, like Fantastic Beasts, as the purported copy of one of Harry’s books.
Warner Bros. is widely being called out for seeing nothing but dollar signs in these ventures, but for the moment we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. Seeing Newt Scamander, fictional author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them do research for his tome actually could be a lot of fun, as could a wizard-infused sports movie about, say, the Quidditch World Cup. Both properties, not to mention Beedle the Bard, have the potential to take audiences well beyond the established confines of the wizarding world, period ventures such as Scamander’s (the book was supposedly published in the early 20th century) making fresh a world that has perhaps worn a little thin after eight feature-length movies.
These new Potter titles actually would seem to have most in common with Disney’s new Star Wars efforts, both main trilogy and character spinoff entries. In both cases, the studio (be it Warner Bros. or Disney) will need to toe the line between catering to fan expectations and pushing forward into some very new territory. Somewhat contradictory to the studio model, we’re betting the more successful of the two is the one willing to take more risks in establishing new stories that thrive on their own merits, rather than surviving on the leftover gravitas of their predecessors.