So, Is Fantastic Beasts Franchise Dead After All? 2023's Deep Dive
It doesn't seem like Fantastic Beasts is going to be getting a fourth and fifth installments anytime soon.
- There are many red flags suggesting the Fantastic Beasts franchise is dead.
- Box office failure and behind-the-scenes scandals have made a fourth installment highly unlikely
- WBD focuses on the new Harry Potter series, completely ignoring the Newt Scamander-led films.
- David Yates says the franchise is on an indefinite hiatus but does not close the door completely.
It's been over 18 months since the premiere of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, but Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) is maintaining complete radio silence on the franchise and seems to have forgotten about its original promise to make five movies in the series.
If you were hoping to see new chapters in the story about Newt Scamander, his fantastic beasts, Albus Dumbledore, and his tumultuous relationship with Gellert Grindelwald, we've got some bad news for you.
Everything that's happened in the past few months suggests the fourth movie isn't happening. Here's a complete timeline of the bad omens.
April 2022: The Secrets of Dumbledore Flops
The Secrets of Dumbledore opened in theaters four years after the second movie, following several COVID-related delays. And while many liked it better than The Crimes of Grindelwald, it still failed miserably at the box office, earning the dubious distinction of being the Wizarding World franchise's lowest-grossing movie. A red flag can hardly get any redder than that.
August 2022: Mads Mikkelsen Teases Johnny Depp's Possible Comeback
From the very beginning, the franchise has been mired in behind-the-scenes controversy involving J. K. Rowling, who writes the scripts for the movies, and its main stars, Ezra Miller and Johnny Depp, all of whom have been making headline news for all the wrong reasons.
The Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard scandal even led to the character of Grindelwald being recast for the third film. However, after Depp won the lawsuit and restored his reputation, the new Grindelwald actor, Mads Mikkelsen, told Deadline that Depp might be brought back in to play the role again.
'Let's see if he comes back,' Mikkelsen said. 'He might. I'm a big fan of Johnny. I think he's an amazing actor, I think he did a fantastic job.'
Does that mean Mikkelsen knew Fantastic Beasts 4 was happening? Unfortunately, what happened after that suggests that wasn't the case at all.
November 2022: David Zaslav Ignores Fantastic Beasts, And Variety Reports That The New Film Is Not In Production
During WBD's Q3 earnings call, CEO David Zaslav announced that the studio was taking a profit-driven approach (which means the third movie's box-office loss was now a huge problem) and intended to focus on its most popular properties, including Harry Potter.
'We haven't done a Harry Potter movie in 15 years,' he said, speaking as if Fantastic Beasts wasn't even a thing and sparking anger in the fandom.
The WBD boss also teased a new project set in the Wizarding World universe if the studio 'can do something with J. K. [Rowling] on Harry Potter going forward.' But the project was apparently only being discussed at the time.
Variety later confirmed that no content based on J. K. Rowling's works was in active development at the time.
December 2022-January 2023: Eddie Redmayne Not Sure About Sequel
Of course, without any news or mention of Fantastic Beasts, its star, Eddie Redmayne, gets asked in various interviews if he knows anything that can shed light on the franchise's future.
Over and over again, he has reiterated that he doesn't know anything about the fourth movie yet.
'It's more a question for J. K. Rowling and David Yates and Warners, but I don't know, I'm afraid. I can't add to that,' the Newt Scamander actor told IndieWire in December 2022.
His response was exactly the same when he spoke to NME a month later.
'At the moment, there's nothing that I'm aware of. So, as I'm aware, it's not something that's on the cards,' Redmayne said.
April 2023: Harry Potter TV Series Is Announced
Five months after Zaslav mentioned a new Wizarding World project, WBD issued an official press release announcing the first-ever Harry Potter TV show based on the original book series.
According to the press release, the show is expected to run over a decade and will be a faithful adaptation of the beloved story. Since then, the new MAX series has been all that studio executives and the media have been talking about.
Thus, it would appear that Fantastic Beasts has been left withering on the vine on the furthest possible back burner they could find for it.
September 2023: David Yates Weighs In
Finally, the franchise's director, David Yates, confirmed the fandom's worst fears and the reddest flags in the news in September when he talked about the lack of news about the fourth film in an interview with Deadline.
'We haven't had a conversation since we finished [filming The Secrets of Dumbledore],' Yates said. 'It's been about, "Let's just park it and let's be done for a while," so never say never, I would say, but I'm very excited about moving on…'
So it sounds like even though nobody has come out and outright pulled the plug on the project, everyone involved with it is perfectly happy to just let it die a natural death.