THE first instalment in a trilogy of Harry Potter spin-off films, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, has been scheduled for release in 2016, it has been confirmed.
The film, based on Harry Potter’s Hogwarts textbook of the same name, will be in cinemas from 18 November 2016 and is set 70 years before any of the Potter novels.
It will focus on the fictional author of the book - which Rowling released as a standalone book in 2001 - Newt Scamander.
Rowling has previously said that the film will not be a prequel or sequel, but rather ‘an extension of the wizarding world’.
Details of actors or directors involved in the film are unknown at this stage.
The author said in a Facebook post in September last year that she had ended up ‘pitching her own idea for a film’ to Warner Bros.
Ms Rowling said: “It all started when Warner Bros came to me with the suggestion of turning Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them into a film.
“I thought it was a fun idea, but the idea of seeing Newt Scamander, the supposed author of Fantastic Beasts, realised by another writer was difficult. Having lived for so long in my fictional universe, I feel very protective of it and I already knew a lot about Newt.
“As hardcore Harry Potter fans will know, I liked him so much that I even married his grandson, Rolf, to one of my favourite characters from the Harry Potter series, Luna Lovegood.
“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 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. 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, 70 years before Harry’s gets under way.”