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SYFY WIRE Harry Potter

WIRE Buzz: Harry Potter may get Tokyo theme park; Wind in the Willows movie; Kingdom S2 teaser

By Jacob Oller
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

As JK Rowling’s Wizarding World continues to expand beyond her original Harry Potter books, with a spin-off film series, Broadway show, and AR game, it might just be approaching its next logical step: the first standalone Harry Potter theme park.

While The Wizarding World of Harry Potter sits in Universal Studios, there is no theme park purely dedicated to the boy who lived. That might all change thanks to the reconfigured future of a long-running amusement park in Tokyo, Japan. Variety reports that Warner Bros. is in talks with Seibu Holdings and the Tokyo government to replace the Toshimaen amusement park with something a bit more magical.

Toshimaen has been around since 1926, but has suffered a decline in popularity since a heyday in the ‘90s. That’s led to a planned sale of the area — though Variety reports that negotiations are still underway — that would lead to it splitting into a Harry Potter park (launching in 2023) and a large public park.

While Universal Studios Japan in Osaka has a Harry Potter section, the proposed Harry Potter park would have studio sets rather than rides. As for how much the deal will cost WB and how large a section of the land it will occupy, details are scarce. Both sides have declined to officially comment, with an announcement planned to come in the Spring.

Next, a long-coming adaptation is finally heading to the big screen from a powerhouse combo of talent. The Wind in the Willows, the Scottish children's novel from Kenneth Grahame that became half of the beloved Disney animation The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, is getting a new animated film from one of the most prestigious animation houses in the world.

According to Variety, the story of Mole, Rat, Mr. Toad, and Mr. Badger will be adapted by Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey, and animated by Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital. The company was behind the CG of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the motion-capture of the Planet of the Apes series, so its handling of the very British, very talkative animal cast looks to repeat some previous successes. And no, Andy Serkis has not been cast (despite his mo-cap creature expertise).

The story was previously developed by Guillermo del Toro for the big screen, but was abandoned when the famed genre director butted heads with Disney over the too-cool tone the company wanted to take. Now, in the hands of Fellowes, it looks to get back to its classic roots.

“We are finalizing some of the finest actors to lend their creative and vocal talents,” producer Gerald R. Molen said. “We could not have dreamed of a better writer and creative force than Julian Fellowes to work with Ray Griggs to bring to life the classic English novel’s characters, nor finer visionaries than Weta to capture the look and feel of Grahame’s world.”

Further including Jackson in the process, production on The Wind in the Willows will take place at the director’s own Stone Street Studios in New Zealand.

Finally, one of the more unique entries into the over-saturated world of zombie fiction has released its first look at its second season. Kingdom, the Korean period drama series from Netflix, blended medieval politics and zombie outbreak action in its first action-packed season. Now, thanks to a new teaser, fans can check out what kind of weapons its heroes will wield in its future — and when exactly that future will come.

Shooting guns and bows from the rooftop, Kingdom’s survivors make their stand in the below clip, which also announces a Spring premiere date for the second season.

Check it out:

“The fight that doesn't end even after the night of terror,” the video description reads. With the un-deadly plague spreading across the nation, the government struggles to contain the outbreak all while unscrupulous members of the community look out for themselves. Some even try to profit off the disaster. But the real draw here is the action, which looks to add guns to its inventive fun when the show returns to the streaming service.

Kingdom comes back to life on Netflix on March 13.