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Warner Bros. announces 'Harry Potter' spinoff set in 1920s New York City

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling | AP file photo

Wait, what?

Warner Bros. announced Thursday that the Potter film universe will live on with a pseudo-spinoff written by none other than J.K. Rowling, the first film in a new series.

The film is based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, an in-universe textbook used at Hogwarts that Rowling later wrote and published to benefit a charity. The film will begin in 1920s New York City, a setting that evokes images of flapper girls, jazz music and skyscraper construction. It’s a far cry from the original series’ occasionally quaint hamlets and ancient castles.

The film’s announcement is a welcome, if surprising, turn of events. In 2010, Rowling had hinted she could write more books, but the idea has largely been buried since then. The news of a new movie penned by Rowling herself took the internet by surprise.

“It all started when Warner Bros. came to me with the suggestion of turning Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them into a film,” Rowling explained in a statement on her website. “I thought it was a fun idea, but the idea of seeing Newt Scamander, the supposed author of Fantastic Beasts, realized by another writer was difficult.”

“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. Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for seventeen years, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world.”

Further reading for Harry Potter fans

Everything We Know About J.K. Rowling’s New Potterverse Screenplay