Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

J K Rowling returns to the Potter trough

The hugely successful author is to develop a film in the Potter universe for her old friends at Warners

Sat, Sep 14, 2013, 18:28


A few months ago, Daniel Radcliffe, while being interviewed by Radio 4, speculated about a future remake of the Harry Potter films. It’s not such an unlikely suggestion. Think how quickly the studios got around to “rebooting” Batman, Superman and Spider-Man. The other possibility, of course, was that Rowling might return to the franchise and trigger further sequels. That scenario was rendered a little less likely when the author — after initially publishing pseudonymously — found critical and popular success with her crime novel Cuckoo’s Calling.

So, the cineverse was genuinely taken aback when, late last week, news emerged that J K was planning to write a spin-off script based on a Hogwarts text book titled Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The book was originally published to support Comic Relief in 2001.

Why would she bother? We can speculate about trucks of money being backed up to her house. But cash is, surely, now ¬†meaningless to our Joanne. Her story is that Warners were thinking of developing the project anyway and she felt it best if she were there to take care of her baby.¬†”The idea of seeing Newt Scamander, the supposed author of Fantastic Beasts, realised by another writer was difficult,” she explained. “Having lived for so long in my fictional universe, I feel very protective of it. 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.”

It’s her creation. She can do what she wishes. But one can’t help but bemoan the franchise arms race that is currently afoot. Star Wars comes back. Disney then announce spin-offs from that film. In response, Warners declare that Batman will fight Superman. A second front is then launched down the Hogwarts corridor. By the end of this decade, we’ll all be shaking in muddy trenched begging for our mothers. Tell me, it’ll be over by Christmas. Lie to me, Sergeant Major. Lie to me.