When initially announced, the “Harry Potter” spin-off “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” was to be the first of a trilogy. Then came word that author J.K. Rowling, who was penning the scripts, was expanding that into a five-film saga.
That has resulted in a film like this month’s “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” the second of the five, which serves very much as an early part of a larger whole we won’t fully get to know until the series ends in 2024.
That results in a film full of setup and exposition, but very little actual payoffs. Speaking with Collider this week, franchise producer David Heyman has explained how and why the series was expanded from three to five films and says it was a necessity due to the story crafted by Rowling:
“I didn’t go from anybody speaking to Jo and saying, ‘You know what? Let’s milk this.’ Both in fairness to the studio, but also to Jo. While it may look like it to some people, there is nothing cynical about this. This is all from her head.
So she begins with three films, because she thinks that’s the story she wants to tell, and then as she digs deeper…and she hadn’t written anything when she said three. Then she wrote the first, and as she was writing the second, actually just before then, but as she says we working on the first, she began to realize there was a whole lot more, and she was trying to figure out, ‘How the hell am I going to squeeze this into three?’
I think she knew some of the tentpole, not film tentpole, but some of the structures, the big moments that she was trying to hit. She knows where it ends. She knows where it begins, and she had a lot of the building blocks in her head. But as she was filling out, she realized there was a lot more there than she thought.
As a result, two more films were added to the plan to expand and explore the connections to the greater “Harry Potter” franchise and the time period leading up to the First Wizarding War.
“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” is currently out in cinemas.