'Harry Potter: Will there be 'Fantastic Beasts 4' or is the saga dead?
Numerous questions about one of the most famous franchises in film history and multiple possible scenarios on its horizon.
What's going on with 'Fantastic Beasts' 4? Will we soon see a fourth film of the prequel to the 'Harry Potter' Universe? Has the series died? Numerous questions surrounding one of the essential franchises in film history and multiple possible scenarios on its horizon (not all of them with a happy ending...).
'Harry Potter' has positioned itself as one of the highest-grossing sagas in history, some of its films are among the best fantasy films in cinema history, and its magical universe, designed by British author J.K. Rowling, has served as an inspiration for an entire generation, which has seen young wizards grow up simultaneously with her own.
However, different controversies have arisen around the latest films and various members of this enchanted world and, some of them, have come to question its durability and its future. After more than two decades of film production and literary publication, in 2022 the franchise could come to an end. But is this true? Is it just another speculation that is going around the internet, but that has no basis? To understand where the saga stands, let's briefly recap its beginnings. That, of course, if you've already figured out which Hogwarts house from 'Harry Potter' you're from. Priorities.
When and how did 'Fantastic Beasts' 4 come about?
Following the premiere of the eighth and final film, 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Part II', – which adapted to the cinematographic format a part of the seventh novel of the saga –, it seemed that the magical universe could have come to an end, in 2011. Potter's story was catapulted up to 19 years after his victory against Lord Voldemort and the adventures of the mature Potter seemed to have more to do with offices and ministries than with the trolls, dementors, and dark wizards we were used to. Did the story end there? Nothing of that.
Not only because of the publication in 2016 of a play, 'Harry Potter and the cursed legacy', which managed to briefly lengthen the saga, but also because, in that same year, the first prequel film of the magical universe was released in theaters: ' Fantastic Beasts and where to find them'.
As a result of this, a total of 5 films were intended to be released, which would follow the adventures of our new protagonist Newt Scamander, set decades before the birth of the "boy who survived".
The first sequel in the franchise quickly became a hit, grossing $812.5 million at the worldwide box office. The Potterheads had been devoid of new audiovisual content from the Rowling universe for 5 years and they needed it like rain in May.
Two more would come after this film, 'The Crimes of Grindelwald' (2018) and 'The Secrets of Dumbledore' (2022), which would gross (clearly) less than its predecessor, adding 654.9 million and 405.2 million, respectively. Is this the only indication that allows us to question the future of the franchise? Absolutely. In addition to this clear drop in attendance by the public in theaters, several conflicts were formed around the saga that tarnished the name of the franchise. (But we will see that later).
'Fantastic Animals: Dumbledore's Secrets' and the resounding premiere
No one could have imagined years ago merging "loud" and "Dumbledore" into the same phrase. (Or well, hardly anyone). However, in 2022 everything seems possible with this franchise.
The third of the 'Fantastic Beasts' films focused on the past of the legendary headmaster of Hogwarts and good friend of young Potter, Albus Dumbledore, one of the key characters in the original 'Harry Potter' saga. And, thanks to the good esteem that the audience has always professed for him, an intense reception from viewers could have been expected. However, 'The Secrets of Dumbledore' was placed as the premiere with the lowest grossing in the history of the franchise. (Yes, we're still talking about $400 million and that's not bad at all, but when you compare it to the $1.3 billion that some of its predecessors grossed... It falls short.)
Critics completely rejected this last film in the saga. He was blamed for empty scripts and a forced plot. A vague content that did not do justice to the path it came from. This led to the question: is it necessary to continue prolonging this feeling of forced narration? Does the saga really need to be continued? Here comes the diversity of opinions. From the most righteous fans who defend tooth and nail the extension of the franchise, to the most skeptical who believe that this has been dead for several years...
What controversies are there around 'Fantastic Beasts' 4?
Where to start... The years haven't been particularly kind to some of the most iconic figures in the magic industry.
First of all, the internet turned on J.K. Rowling after repeated comments of a transphobic nature that she posted on Twitter and on her website. With this, the usual image of integration that the saga of 'Harry Potter' defended, was compromised by the author of it. Several of the main cast members, including Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Eddie Redmayne, spoke out against the writer and denounced how intolerable her comments were. While others like Ralph Fiennes defended Rowling.
To continue, Johnny Depp, who played the villain Gellert Grindelwald, was brought to trial by his ex-wife Amber Heard and his image was also compromised by the accusations of gender violence that fell on him. The actor was expelled from the cast after 'The Crimes of Grindelwald' and was replaced (in the third) by Mads Mikkelsen. Now, after the resolution of the trial and the apparent "return to the tables" of the actor, the possibility of his return is raised (if the saga continues...).
To all this was added the numerous scandals that have surrounded Ezra Miller, interpreter in the prequels, giving life to Credence / Aurelius Dumbledore. His various brawls with the law and the accusations that fall on his person,– among which included: theft, harassment, grooming minors, mistreatment, possession of weapons and a long, etc... (which would occupy more than one article as this)–, compromised its image and, consequently, that of the franchise.
What remains to be told in 'Fantastic Beasts' 4?
In the next 2 potential films, the events that continue until the explosion of the War against Grindelwald, in which the former lovers face life or death, in 1945, would be narrated. The great duel between Dumbledore and Grindelwald is, without a doubt, a historical event. However, it does not seem like an excessively wide content to fill two films in full. Yes, the rise of the "clean blood" coincides with the Second World War and the Nazi regime; yes, the historical similarities are there and could give a lot of play but, even so, what other possibilities would there be? What do we still need to know about the most relevant facts of this magical community?
If you were thinking about the origin and development of Voldemort, you may not be far off the mark. This is one of the theories that could be considered possible if we look at the great gaps that the story presents within the film adaptation. The Dark Lord was born on December 31, 1926, shortly before the events of 'Fantastic Beasts 1'. When the great battle between the two wizards takes place, he is already 18 years old and has spent his adolescence at Hogwarts. Where is he when all this is happening, will he take on some passion for "clean blood" from his predecessor Grindelwald?
Those who have read the original novels by J.K. Rowling will have seen that the movies suppressed the past history of Tom Riddle's family, reducing it to a simple outline. We also know almost nothing about the First Wizarding War and the horrors it produced, around the wizarding and muggle world, after the rise of the Dark Lord... What about the relationship between Voldemort and Nagini? (This second character has already been introduced in 'Fantastic Animals', it would just have to be developed...). Perhaps, if the years go by within fiction, we could get to see all these lost elements, once and for all, on the big screen.
The future of the franchise is truly uncertain. Confirmation that there is a written script, nor the green light for the production of another tape, has not been published. There are numerous possible futures and one of them is that, luckily or unfortunately, we will never see J.K. Rowling on the big screen (with a new release). Time will tell.
All the films in the 'Harry Potter' saga are available on HBO Max.
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