'Fantastic Beasts' Sequel in the Works, Release Date Set

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Still - H 2015
<p>Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Still - H 2015</p>   |   Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros.
Director David Yates will again take the helm, having just wrapped the upcoming 'Harry Potter' spinoff.

With Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them just a little over three months away from hitting theaters, Warner Bros. has announced its plans for a sequel, which the studio has dated for Nov. 16, 2018.

The first film, which will bow Nov. 18 and is being dubbed a spinoff of the studio's hugely successful Harry Potter franchise, marks author J.K. Rowling's return to the big screen. The Harry Potter author wrote the Fantastic Beasts screenplay, which delves back into the wizarding world made famous by her seven books that were turned into eight films.

Rowling, who made her screenwriting debut on Fantastic Beasts, is penning the sequel, which will move deeper into an increasingly dark time for the wizarding world, where Newt Scamander and the story's other heroes have to decide on their allegiances.

Director David Yates, who helmed the final four Harry Potter films as well as Fantastic Beasts, will return to the director's chair for the follow-up, which brings back producers David Heyman, Rowling, Steve Kloves and Lionel Wigram. Neil Blair, Rick Senat and Danny Cohen will serve as executive producers. Though Warner Bros. made no mention of Fantastic Beasts stars like Eddie Redmayne, Ezra Miller and Katherine Waterston, all are expected to return for the second outing.

The announcement was made by Warner Bros.' president of creative development and worldwide production Greg Silverman and president of worldwide marketing and distribution Sue Kroll.

The move comes as Rowling’s world of wizards and magic continues to expand. A new play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two, opened over the weekend to rave reviews in London, creating a frenzy with sold-out performances. The script of the play, just published, has already sold 2 million copies in two days, according to Scholastic. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme parks at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla., Hollywood and Osaka, Japan, are drawing record crowds. And Warner Bros. Studio Tour London — The Making of Harry Potter is now online and generating robust business.