J.K. Rowling’s seven-book young adult series Harry Potter has become a cultural phenomenon since the first installment hit shelves in 1997 — inspiring a blockbuster eight-film franchise, a sequel in the form of the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play, as well as the upcoming prequel series beginning with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Penned by Rowling herself and directed by veteran of the Harry Potter film series, David Yates, Fantastic Beasts follows Newt Scamander through New York City in the 1920s while he searches for a few magical creatures that escaped his care.
Warner Bros has already confirmed a sequel to the film, with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2 scheduled for release in 2018, while Rowling more recently revealed there are five installments in the planned franchise. As for the second film, we know Johnny Depp has been cast in a large role, it will be set in Paris, France, and a young Albus Dumbledore will appear. Now, new comments from Yates offer even more insight into the Fantastic Beasts sequel.
During a round table interview for Fantastic Beasts attended by Screen Rant, Yates revealed the sequel will feature less of the wizarding world’s magical creatures, though the film will include a new beast:
Currently the beasts feature slightly less in the second movie. … There’s an amazing beast in the second movie, a Chinese beast, actually. We’re exploring how we can get a couple more beasts into the second film.
Of course, as Yates hints, the magical menagerie of the second Fantastic Beasts film isn’t set in stone just yet. But, considering Rowling’s hint at the larger arc of the franchise that fans will understand the “story we’re *really* telling,” it’s likely the reason for fewer beasts in the sequel will be made clear in time. That said, with Fantastic Beasts 2 changing the setting to Paris, it allows the film to introduce even more creatures to the world. Yates spoke about the settings of the sequel and the European centric franchise:
We do go back to the UK in the second film as well, so it’s kind of UK and Paris. I’m not quite sure where Jo is setting the rest of the movies; I think they’ll be European centric, but I’m not sure yet because it’s still bubbling away in her head. … I think it will be difficult to ignore America, but the next one is predominantly Europe.
So, it seems the Fantastic Beasts franchise will span multiple countries, and return to the home of Harry Potter in the sequel. But, as Yates indicates, the franchise won’t ignore America or the American wizarding community through followup movies. It remains to be seen how the different settings and beasts play into the overall Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise, but we may learn more once the initial film hits theaters later this month.