The Harry Potter movie universe is in dire straits. Not long ago, author J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. thought they’d found a way to continue the blockbuster franchise after it ended, thanks to the prequel series Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The planned five-film series got off to a good enough start in 2016, with its first installment earning solid reviews and taking in over $800 million at the box office. But its sequel, The Crimes of Grindelwald, fared considerably worse. The sequel was panned by both critics and fans, while also earning over $150 million less than its predecessor. So for the next installment, the franchise is getting a course correction.
While the third Fantastic Beasts movie was supposed to begin filming this past summer, that didn’t happen, as the studio wanted to figure out how to get the franchise back on track. They now think they’ve cracked the code, as Variety is reporting that Fantastic Beasts 3 will feature a much greater emphasis on the character of Dumbledore and the setting of Hogwarts — two things they’re hoping will draw in Harry Potter fans who have been cool toward the new franchise. To execute the new vision, Warner Bros. has brought in screenwriter Steve Kloves to help Rowling rewrite the script for the upcoming sequel. Kloves wrote the screenplays to seven of the eight Harry Potter films, so naturally, the studio has a good deal of faith in him.
Time will tell if the new Harry Potter-inspired tweaks are able to save the Fantastic Beasts franchise, which still has its sights set on two more sequels after the next film. And we’ve got a bit of a wait before we find out, as Fantastic Beasts 3 is now scheduled to begin filming next spring, with a release date set for November 2021.