We already know that the next Fantastic Beasts movie has been delayed because they want to make it bigger than ever and set it partly in Brazil for some reason. And apparently, the powers that be have heard the complaints and saw the underperformance of The Crimes of Grindelwald and may be looking to course-correct some of the things that’ll happen in the untitled third movie of the (planned) five.
In a recent interview with the LA Times, Kevin Tsujihara, the current president of Warner Bros., spoke about the fan and financial response to Grindelwald, how it will affect the remaining Fantastic Beasts films, his confidence in the franchise, and where it will be headed.
“The second film didn’t perform as well as the first, but I think we know what we need to do to get the third film hopefully even better than the first one.
And J.K. Rowling is really working hard now on that third script, and we’re going to get it right.
She has an incredible vision of where she wants to go with this that is incredibly exciting. The hardest part of the franchise is you have such a big core fan base. That fan base really knows the lore and they want to go deep into these characters. But what you don’t want to do is intimidate people. You want to be able to create a stand-alone movie that’s enjoyable for someone who isn’t steeped in the lore.”
“We’re going to get it right” sounds promising, but it’s unclear how much of the criticism the studio and Rowling really absorbed. Talking about the need to make a stand-alone movie makes sense—because nothing about Crimes of Grindelwald holds up as a stand-alone movie. At least not to me. It leans heavily on the events of the first Beasts as well as long-established Wizarding world lore.
The range of Harry Potter fans is broad. There are fans who have never read the books and only know the movies, book fans who have read them over and over again, and book fans who love The Cursed Child, who tolerate The Cursed Child, and who loathe The Cursed Child so much they have double-thought it out of their mind. And there are most certainly people who loved Crimes because for them Harry Potter is something so sacred that nothing can keep them away. It’s difficult to please us all, that’s true, but Grindelwald was criticized not only for the casting of Johnny Depp but for a confusing plot that relied on a weird final twist while the rest of the movie lacked momentum.
Warner Bros. has put their eggs in that Wizarding basket for a long, long time. One of the magical things about being a Potterhead is that there are so many ways to enjoy the world outside of canon; its fandom is still going strong. The series has not ebbed in popularity even as series like Twilight and The Hunger Games took over the YA fiction world. Many, many movies have been made from the Potterverse, while older series like Narnia and the Oz books side-eye Harry Potter and are left half-explored by a lack of interest in movie studios. There’s no Narnia you can visit, but the Wizarding world Universal Studios experiences are wildly popular.
I have been and remain critical of the second Fantastic Beasts movie, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped loving Harry Potter. My Johnny Depp allergy aside, the world Rowling crafted has amazing potential for greatness, but I think she may need to just bring in an actual screenwriter to help make the acts tighter and if she wants to be more inclusive, surround herself with a diversity of writers.
There are so many people who have already tried to bring to her attention the problematic things she had done. If she wants to do better, especially with having the story take place in other non-white countries … listen to those reaching out in good faith.
Anyway, I’m just sitting here mourning Leta Lestrange.
(via Comicbook, image: Warner Bros.)
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