book_fantasticIs three the magic number for the new J.K. Rowling film? It would seem so as, according to the New York Times, Warner Bros. C.E.O., Kevin Tsujihara managed to convince Rowling to not only adapt her Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them for the big screen, but to plan for three megamovies, which would be based on magizoologist Newt Scamander. These films would not be considered prequels or sequels to the ‘Harry Potter’ films, but they would be set in New York about seven decades before the arrival of Harry Potter and his schoolmates.

It seems Tsujihara is very persuasive as Rowling said in response to a written question: “When I say he made ‘Fantastic Beasts’ happen, it isn’t P.R.-speak but the literal truth. We had one dinner, a follow-up telephone call, and then I got out the rough draft that I’d thought was going to be an interesting bit of memorabilia for my kids and started rewriting!”

As for the number three, Tsujihara had played a role in ensuring production of a trilogy of the Hobbit films was able to proceed as he led a tense negotiation with Warner, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Peter Jackson. Also, not only was the Hunger Games series a trilogy of books, it was also a trilogy of films. Of course, there is the ‘granddaddy’ of all trilogies, the Star Wars series (the original episodes IV-VI, the prequels I-III, and the sequels yet to come, VII-IX and possibly beyond).

I will admit: I’m having a difficult time envisioning Newt Scamander’s story to be told in three ‘megamovies’; however, it seems that if those in charge really want it done, it will get done. The movie-going public would be the beneficiaries of it.

So what are your thoughts on the idea of a Fastastic Beasts trilogy to tell Scamander’s stories? Let us know in the comments below!

Picture of JK Rowling: Ben Pruchnie, Getty Images

Picture of JK Rowling: Ben Pruchnie, Getty Images

Most of us woke up to the big news that JK Rowling and Warner Brothers were going to do a collaboration that will lead to a new film series set in the Harry Potter Universe. Rowling will try her hand at screenwriting, but she won’t be screenwriting just any old film: she will be writing the script for an upcoming movie series based on one of the books she wrote in the Harry Potter Universe: Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them.

The films, even though they are set in the Harry Potter universe, will probably not feature Harry and his friends, especially since Rowling had said in many interviews that Harry’s story was, essentially, finished. It seemed, however, that she had left the door open to revisit Harry’s universe if the right project were to come along. It’s very possible this is the project.

The ‘author’ of Fantastic Beasts was Newt Scamander, a Magizoologist and one of the Headmasters of Hogwarts, the school that also educated Harry Potter and his friends. The new film series would centre around Scamander and his adventures.

I’ll let JK Rowling tell her story:

“It all started when Warner Bros. came to me with the suggestion of turning ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ into a film. I thought it was a fun idea, but the idea of seeing Newt Scamander, the supposed author of ‘Fantastic Beasts,’ realized by another writer was difficult. Having lived for so long in my fictional universe, I feel very protective of it and I already knew a lot about Newt. As hard-core Harry Potter fans will know, I liked him so much that I even married his grandson, Rolf, to one of my favourite characters from the Harry Potter series, Luna Lovegood.

“As I considered Warners’ proposal, an idea took shape that I couldn’t dislodge. That is how I ended up pitching my own idea for a film to Warner Bros.

“Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for seventeen years, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world. The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York, seventy years before Harry’s gets underway.

“I particularly want to thank Kevin Tsujihara of Warner Bros. for his support in this project, which would not have happened without him. I always said that I would only revisit the wizarding world if I had an idea that I was really excited about and this is it.”

Read more here.

What do you think: are you excited about the prospect of more films set in the Harry Potter universe? Let us know in the comments below!

Coming soon to Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley! From the hypable.com site.

Coming soon to Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley! From hypable.com.

The Potterverse is abuzz with the announcement from the Universal Orlando resort that Diagon Alley will be coming to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It is an exciting development given the huge success of this Potter-themed park.

“I’m so pleased that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has proved so popular to date, and I’m sure that the attention to detail in creating the new Diagon Alley area will make this an even better experience,” said J.K. Rowling in a statement.

This new-themed enviornment, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, would be located in another part of Universal Orlando Resort and linked to the Hogsmeade-themed portion of WWoHP (the existing park) via train (the Hogwarts Express). An opening for WWoHP – Diagon Alley date was broadly given as 2014; however, there is speculation it could open as early as July 2014.

Not many details have been released thus far; however, according to Universal, “shops, a restaurant and an innovative, marquee attraction based on Gringotts bank – all directly inspired by the fiction and films.”

“The new area will bring to life some of the experiences and places found in and around London in the Harry Potter books and films, offering brand-new adventures for fans and theme park guests from around the world,” says Universal.

The picture above is an artist’s concept of the new Diagon Alley-themed park. I find the dragon on top of Gringotts to be really cool and may hint to a ride based on the Goblin-run mine carts used to transport customers between vaults in the wizarding bank. As it turns out, the Theme Park Insider revealed this possibility back in December, 2011! Have a look by clicking here.

This is great news for fans of the Harry Potter books and films as it will breathe new life into the fandom as well as keep interest high in all things Potter-related. For me, this would be a great excuse to make a return trip to Orlando.

To listen to Fr. Roderick’s impressions of the Hogsmeade-themed WWoHP, click here to listen to Episode 760 of The Break with Father Roderick. I’ve also released an Audioboo of my visit, which you can listen to by clicking here.

Does this make you excited about the Potterverse? Will this make you want to go to The WWoHP when the Diagon Alley-themed portion opens? Let us know in the comments below your thoughts about this new theme park.

RIP, Richard Griffiths

Lyn Francisco —  March 29, 2013 — 1 Comment

Richard GriffithsI woke up to the news that veteran British actor Richard Griffiths died today from complications from heart surgery at age 65. Harry Potter fans will remember Griffiths as the actor who played Harry’s unsympathetic Uncle Vernon. He was also known for his roles as Douglas Hector in the play The History Boys, Uncle Monty in Withnail and I, Henry Crabbe in Pie in the Sky, and King George II in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry Potter in all eight Potter films, said that Griffiths was an important influence in his acting career. He said in a statement: ‘Richard was by my side during two of the most important moments of my career. In August 2000, before official production had even begun on Potter, we filmed a shot outside the Dursleys’, which was my first ever shot as Harry. I was nervous and he made me feel at ease. Seven years later, we embarked on Equus together. It was my first time doing a play but, terrified as I was, his encouragement, tutelage and humour made it a joy. In fact, any room he walked into was made twice as funny and twice as clever just by his presence. I am proud to say I knew him.’

Appointed as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2008, Griffths is survived by his wife, Heather.

Condolences to the Griffiths family and to all who knew and loved him. What are your memories of this great actor?

It’s been known for at least the last month that graphic novel author and illustrator Kazu Kibuishi had been tapped to design the new covers of the Harry Potter series for U.S. publisher Scholastic to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the American release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. A release date had been announced for late August (August 27, to be exact) and that these new books, which will be released in paperback, will contain bonus material not found in the original editions.

Sorcerer's Stone Covers

Mary GrandPré’s original Sorcerer’s Stone cover (l) and Kazu Kibuishi’s new cover (r)

Of course, for those who grew up with the Harry Potter series in the United States, the illustrations of Mary GrandPré are very closely tied to the Scholastic editions of the books. However, after having a look at Kibuishi’s covers, in my opinion, he does a great job in depicting what might be a significant scene in the book, which is Harry, Hagrid, and Harry’s new owl, Hedwig, walking through the streets of Diagon Alley during Harry’s initial return to the wizarding world after being away from it for so long. It is a very attractive way to introduce a new generation of readers to the Harry Potter series.

What are your opinions of the new Sorcerer’s Stone cover? Would you purchase this new anniversary edition just for the covers and the bonus materials? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

bonhamcarter

Last month, it was rumoured that cast members from the “Harry Potter” films had reunited at the Warner Bros. Studios in Hertfordshire, East England, to work on a “secret project”. This project may be a short film that would screen at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park in Florida and the “Potter” theme parks currently under construction in California and Japan. Those rumours may turn out to be true: actress Helena Bonham Carter, who played Death Eater Bellatrix Lestrange, recently hinted that she is reprising that role for this new project.

“I’m not sure what we’re allowed to say. I think we’ve been gagged!” she said when asked about her involvement in the project. Quizzed further if fans can take that as confirmation she is involved in the project, Helena added, “You can read into it what you will.”

This is very interesting news, indeed. Given Carter’s involvement, it is likely the new short film would take place before the so-called Final Battle of Hogwarts. Perhaps the new footage would be part of some sort of ride, or it might be part of a 3D experience, much like what Captain EO was for the Disney theme parks.

What are your thoughts on this news? Would you like to see more “Potter”-related films or even short films? What do you think may be in this short film? If you could give suggestions, what would you like to see in such short films?

JK RowlingWill author JK Rowling return to the Harry Potter universe? Rowling, who just released her first book for adults, The Casual Vacancy, has not ruled out a return; however, she said in interviews that Harry’s story is over.

So what could she possibly write about? According to the BBC, Rowling admitted, “I’ve got to have a great idea. I don’t want to go mechanically into that world and pick up odds and ends and glue them together.

“It would make a mockery of what those books mean to me.”

She also admitted she would like to remake her own version of two of the later Potter films because she felt they were “rushed”.

She said, “There were a couple of the Potters and I definitely knew that they needed another year.

“I had to write on the run and there were times when it was really tough.

“I read them, and I think ‘Oh maybe I’ll go back and do a director’s cut’, I don’t know.”

If JKR were to write another book in the Potter universe, would you buy it? What would you like her to write about?

I would love to read a story that is set outside of Harry’s timeline, either in the past or the future. I would find a book about Hogwarts’ founding to be fascinating. Did the founders (Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw, Salazar Slytherin) ever get along? What caused Slytherin to leave (and mark Slytherin’s future students as “the bad guys” in future generations)?

With regards to JKR’s possible film remakes or “Director’s Cuts”, which films do you think she’d redo if she had the chance? What would you like to see from her if such a “Director’s Cut” were to be made?

Let’s have a discussion about this by leaving comments below.

New Harry Potter reading club!!

 —  August 2, 2012 — 2 Comments

This is so great! Scholastic has created a new Harry Potter reading club, and JK Rowling will be appearing in a webcast!! Read all about it here: http://www.hypable.com/2012/07/31/harry-potter-reading-club/

Every Harry Potter Chapter Illustration from ajcfood (Reddit)


Reddit user ajcfood scanned in all the chapter illustrations from the US versions of the Harry Potter books (all 7 of them) and put them together in this really cool illustration, saying, “After months of work, I present to you this project I made. This is my reminder of how great these BOOKS are.”

And indeed, they are. As a huge Harry Potter fan, I’d like to thank JK Rowling for gifting us, her fans, with this wonderful series, and allowing members of the fandom to play in her playground, whether it be fanart, fanfiction, cosplaying, podcasting, litcrit, etc.

Click on the picture above for a full-size version of this wonderful work. I’ll let ajcfood have the last word: “I did this not for a single Galleon, Sickle or a Knut. I did this because, like you, I love the books.”

Deathly Hallows Cover

Deathly Hallows Cover, UK Edition (Bloomsbury)

Where were you on Saturday, July 21, 2007? Were you amongst the throngs of people who were waiting in long queues outside your favourite bookshop, hoping to get a copy of what was then the newly released final book of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows?

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the release of J.K. Rowling’s final book in the Harry Potter series. For me, it was one I was really looking forward to reading. As most of you know, I came pretty late to the Harry Potter series, not having begun reading it until just before Goblet of Fire was released. I didn’t go to a midnight release party (I really needed my sleep, and at that time, I was just completing a post-doctoral stint in Chapel Hill, North Carolina,  whilst beginning a chemistry teaching job at a small, liberal-arts university south of Raleigh, North Carolina). However, I bought the book later in the day and settled down to read it over the weekend.

That was the first of many re-reads for me, and the Secrets of Harry Potter panellists eventually completed a chapter-by-chapter reading of this book. In Episode 21, Brother Giles had initiated our discussions by discussing the epigraphs JKR had chosen and placed right before the start of Chapter 1. Check it out here: Epigraphs: Before the Hallows Dawn. And feel free to revisit this book by listening to each subsequent chapter, ending with the Epilogue in Episode 54.

Five years later, many still consider Deathly Hallows to be their favourite book. For me, there were ups and down. (And I’m sure you all know my feelings about that… that… Epilogue…)

How has this book affected you? Do you look upon it with fondness? The end of your childhood if you grew up with Harry Potter? Considered this as the end of an era? Let’s have a conversation about this! Please leave your comments below.

~Lyn Francisco