J.K. Rowling signs up for 'fantastic' Harry Potter spinoff movies

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Sep 12, 2013, 11:40 AM EDT

We may not get the further adventures of Harry Potter, but J.K. Rowling's about to give us the next-best thing.

Though she finished her bestselling seven-book series detailing the magical adventures of a boy wizard and his friends six years ago, Rowling has never completely stepped away from Potter's Wizarding World. She opened a theme park attraction at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla., promised to one day write a Potter encyclopedia, launched Pottermore, an online game experience based on her books, and has even answered fan questions about the fates of individual characters. Now it seems she's ready to return to the Wizarding World on the big screen.

Warner Bros. Pictures just announced that Rowling will make her debut as a screenwriter with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the first in a planned series of films set in the Wizarding World several decades before Harry Potter came along. The title of the film is taken from one of Harry's textbooks (a version of which, written by Rowling, was published by Scholastic back in 2001), which first appears in the text of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. The film will follow the adventures of the author of the Fantastic Beasts book, Newt Scamander, and will feature magical creatures and many other elements of the Wizarding World that Potter fans will find very familiar.

“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,” Rowling said in a press release. “The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York, seventy years before Harry’s gets underway.”

The film will also, naturally, be tied in to Warner Bros.' videogame, consumer products and digital divisions, and will also be tied in to Rowling's Pottermore experience. There's no release date yet, but fans of the Wizarding World have to be excited that Rowling is re-teaming with the studio that brought us the eight Potter blockbusters, and Warner Bros. has to be excited that they've got a chance to recapture that Harry Potter-fueled box-office gold.

OK, Potter superfans. This is not a drill. We're officially getting a spinoff movie. Time to start your dream cast list for Newt Scamander.

(Via Deadline)