It was announced a couple of weeks ago that we were going to be getting a whopping five Fantastic Beasts movies. It seemed like an odd announcement, partly because the first film hasn’t even come out yet, and also because a trilogy was already announced, and pentalogies are certainly less conventional.
But J.K. Rowling herself, speaking to Variety at the premiere of Fantastic Beasts, says that expanding the series “came out of the material.”
In the brief clip, Rowling explains:
Originally, to tell you the truth, we said a trilogy as a placeholder. I think we wanted to be honest with people that it was going to be more than one movie, but we were feelling our way. And then there came a point in the drafting of the story where I said to [director] David [Yates], “You know David, this feels like five movies and I think I’m pretty certain about that.” It’s ambitious to tell it in five, to be honest, because we’re spanning 19 years but I can see an arc to five so that’s how it happened.
Due to the casting of Johnny Depp as the Voldemort-before-Voldemort Gellert Grindelwald and the inclusion of Dumbledore in the first Fantastic Beasts sequel, we know the movies will cover the wizarding war that occurred simultaneously with our World War II. Rowling’s reference to the series spanning 19 years lines up with that, since Fantastic Beasts takes place in 1926 and, in the books, Grindelwald was defeated in 1945, exactly 19 years later.
It’s good to know this wasn’t just some Warner Bros. mandate in order to milk the Harry Potter universe for all it’s worth, so here’s hoping the first one does well enough to warrant sequels. You can see watch Rowling’s interview in the tweet embedded below.