12:28pm PT by Rebecca Ford
'Fantastic Beasts' Expanding From Trilogy to 5 Films
There's a lot more Fantastic Beasts coming.
Harry Potter creator and Fantastic Beasts screenwriter J.K. Rowling made a surprise announcement Thursday that she has finished the plot for five films in the Fantastic Beast franchise, expanding it from the trilogy it was originally announced as. She later said that she will be the screenwriter for all five installments.
The announcement came as Harry Potter fans got a sneak peek of footage from the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them during a global event. The event, hosted by several theaters around the U.S. and London, featured new footage from the film, and a live Q&A with stars Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Colin Farrell and Jon Voight as well as director David Yates.
The film, set to hit theaters via Warner Bros. on Nov. 18, stars Redmayne as Newt Scamander, who finds and documents an extraordinary array of magical creatures. He arrives in New York, where he misplaces the magical case housing his creatures. The escape of some of Newt’s fantastic beasts could spell trouble for both the wizarding and muggle worlds. In Potter lore, Scamander's book is eventually used in Harry Potter's studies at Hogwarts.
In addition to Rowling's big announcement, audiences at the event also got to see the first 10 minutes of the film and heard some tidbits about the sequel.
One burning question saw Yates asked about the reference to Dumbledore in the movie, as the fan-favorite character would have been alive during this time period.
"He is featured in a wonderful scene between Colin and Eddie," said Yates.
Yates also said that Newt will next be seen in a big capital city in the sequel and that Rowling has written the script.
For the Los Angeles portion of the event, Warner Bros. turned the entrance of the TCL Chinese Theatre into a 1920s town square, complete with shops, a classic car and actors dressed in garb from the era.
Many fans, who were gifted with wands before entering the theater, were in costume for the event. There were plenty of fans wearing classic wizard robes or the scarves and uniforms of Hogwarts.
Still others had embraced the 1920s dress that's featured in Fantastic Beasts. They gathered together for photos in front of the props, yelling out spells and laughing giddily at the decor. The ushers greeted attendees with "Welcome to the wizarding world!" as fans took their seats.
The London event was streamed live for those sitting in the Los Angeles theater. The new footage featured an interview with Rowling and several new scenes, including more on Farrell's wizard.
After the footage, the stars in London and Los Angeles sat down for a Q&A.
"What I love most about Newt is he's an incredibly passionate guy," said Redmayne.
Fogler, seemingly giddy from the attention of being in a massive theater with fans, revealed that his great great grandfather also was a baker, like his character: "This is so surreal. I feel like I'm in a dream."
Voight described the final film as "so wondrous."
"I saw the amazing amount of work that was put in," he said.
Waterston said that dealing with the wands was a tricky part of the role. "I just felt really goofy," she said. The actress revealed that she has a special pocket made in her jacket to hold the wand and it grew on her.
Sudol added that she and Waterston, who play sisters, had to learn how to be as comfortable as siblings.
Redmayne was asked if he felt pressure because of the success of the Harry Potter franchise.
"The honest answer is that I feel enormous pressure," he said. "We put quite high expectations on ourselves. We didn't want to screw it up."
The actor also revealed that there was a newspaper stand on set and that even every page of the newspaper had intricate articles set in the time and place of the film.
In a surprise appearance, Rowling also took to the stage in London. "This is unbelievable. It's like old times," she said.