September 12 will go down in memory as one of the most shocking days in history. Unexpected news struck that shook the very core of our world as we know it, and the day passed in a flurry of shared hypotheses, excited screaming, and general chaos.
At least, if you’re a Harry Potter fan.
On that Thursday, J. K. Rowling announced that she would be writing the script for a new movie based in the wizarding world of Harry Potter. However, deeper reading revealed that this movie would be almost nothing like the series we’ve come to know and love.
To start out with, this movie is set seventy years before Harry’s story at Hogwarts starts, placing us in the 1920s. Additionally, the movie is set in New York rather than England. This opens up a colossal number of new opportunities for the script of the movie. We could see the glamor and intrigue of the Roaring 20s through the lens of the wizarding community at the time – much like the setting of the Great Gatsby, though hopefully with more wands and less disillusionment of dreams.
The script will follow the story of one of J.K. Rowling’s favorite minor characters: Newt Scamander. Barely mentioned in the best-selling series, Scamander was a naturalist and the author of a textbook named Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. In 2001, the textbook was published, complete with notes between Harry, Ron, and Herminone scrawled in the margins. Rowling stated that when the idea of a movie about Scamander was pitched to her, she “already knew a lot about Newt. As hard-core Harry Potter fans will know, [she] liked him so much that [she] even married his grandson, Rolf, to one of [her] favourite characters from the Harry Potter series, Luna Lovegood.” As a result, she picked up the project, and will be writing the script for it.
While Rowling has assured fans that this new movie is an extension on the Harry Potter universe, rather than a direct prequel to the novel series, she has also said that the setting, creatures, and even some characters will be familiar to most Harry Potter fans. At the end of the day, it’s ample reason to get excited for anyone who’s ever enjoyed the Harry Potter books. New canonical information about a completely different time period and place in the wizarding world can’t be a bad thing. And after the supposedly last movie appeared in theaters in 2011 (though it feels like longer ago), this unexpected new film, the beginning of a new series, is a fantastic surprise.
It’s good to know that whether we return in two years or twenty, Harry Potter will always be there to welcome us home.