The first two Fantastic Beasts movies failed miserably to recapture the magic of the Harry Potter franchise. The first one, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them received decent reviews and grossed over $US 814 million at the global box office. But something felt a little off. Its sequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald received genuinely scathing reviews (this writer found the movie to be borderline rubbish) and grossed around $US 150 million less than its predecessor.
The franchise felt uninspired and directionless. Why is the series called Fantastic Beasts when the story seems to be about Dumbledore and Grindelwald? Why is lead character Newt Scamander, a zoologist? Even putting these questions aside, Crimes of Grindelwald was an incohesive and confusing mess. A lot of it has to do with its screenplay, penned alone by J.K. Rowling. Rowling is a fantastic author, but clearly doesn’t quite have a grasp on the art of screenwriting. The disappointing outcome of the first two Fantastic Beasts films prompted execs at Warner Bros to postpone production of Fantastic Beasts 3 until all the nuts and bolts have been tightened.
Thankfully, as reported yesterday, Fantastic Beasts 3 will see the return of Steve Kloves, who previously wrote the scripts for all the Harry Potter movies besides Order of the Phoenix. This is definitely a step in the right direction. With Rowling’s genuinely brilliant story ideas and Kloves’ ability to take those ideas and morph them into a tight screenplay fit for the big screen, I think the 3rd film in the franchise could finally be something special.
Now, we’ve got more information on the direction Fantastic Beasts 3 will be heading in. Variety reports that Jude Law’s young Albus Dumbledore would receive more of the spotlight. I think this is the right decision to make. While it’s somewhat too late to change the name of the film series — we’re stuck with Fantastic Beasts — it would be wise to focus the narrative on Dumbledore and Grindelwald, without randomly shoehorning in scenes with cute magical beasts. Newt Scamander should play a supporting character in the upcoming films, with Dumbledore sitting in the driver’s seat. The report also indicates that while the film will explore an entirely new location — Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — a lot of the action will also take place in Hogwarts.
Fantastic Beasts 3 is expected to arrive in theatres in November 2021. Despite the setbacks, Warner Bros. still believes that the planned five-film series will happen.