Ready for a new movie in the Harry Potter universe every two years?
In addition to announcing scheduled movie releases for every DC Comics superhero short of Matter-Eater Lad, Warner Bros. laid out a plan for the Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. If you're a Potter fan, mark down 2016, 2018 and 2020 on your (very forward-looking) calendar.
The background: Fantastic Beasts is based off a book of the same name that J.K. Rowling wrote back in 2001 as sort of a field guide to her universe's magical creatures. The movie version, though, will follow the book's fictional author Newt Scamander as he embarks on what we can only assume to be wizarding adventures.
The movie is set decades before the events of the Harry Potter series, and Rowling — who's writing the film — says it won't tie in too heavily with the story we're used to.
"Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards, where I was so happy for 17 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," she told the Independent. "Having lived for so long in my fictional universe, I feel very protective of it and I already knew a lot about Newt."
The takeaway: The key phrase coming from the Warner Bros. announcement is "at least." That could mean they will stretch Fantastic Beasts out over more than three movies if it seems lucrative enough, or it could point to another opportunity altogether.
As the Marvel movies have shown, there's a lot of money to be made when you can regularly crank out films set in the same universe. That's clearly the model for DC Comics material, and, as the Verge points out, it could be a plan for the Harry Potter franchise itself.
Whatever could be on the horizon — prequels? Sequels? Side character movies, a la Star Wars? — is left for fans to gossip and pine and complain about.