The FANTASTIC BEASTS Films Will Span 19 Years - Is This A Fantasy Series About World War II?

And will David Yates direct all five?

The more I learn about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the more interested I get. Well, minus Johnny Depp playing Gellert Grindelwald, but that’s a given around these parts. The latest in the Wizarding World comes from J.K. Rowling herself, who revealed the timeline of the five-part prequel saga in a recent interview:

It’s interesting to note how the idea for five movies grew naturally after the “trilogy” was announced as a placeholder – if there’s anyone in modern fantasy who knows how to play the long game, it’s Rowling – but what’s also interesting is the specific mention of the series’ time frame. The first film releasing later this week begins in 1926, and if my arithmancy is correct, that would put the end of the series at around 1945. That doesn’t seem like a coincidence, and given that we know the subsequent films will take the series back to Europe, it feels like Fantastic Beasts will follow the Harry Potter films and get darker with each installment. Colour me intrigued.

This isn’t to say that the films will focus on the horrors World War II as we’re used to seeing them. If anything, a parallel, behind-the-scenes conflict of similar magnitude feels likely, and between the books, the supplemental material and J.K. Rowling’s interviews, there’s more than enough evidence to indicate that this is where we’re headed. Dumbledore and Grindelwald had their famous duel sometime around 1944, described by eyewitnesses as “the greatest duel ever fought,” and Dumbledore securing the Elder Wand (one of the Deathly Hallows) could make for a great end point to this harrowing story.

I realize much of this sounds like conjecture, but in a 2005 interview when fans believed Grindelwald to have died in 1945, this is what she said about the timeline of the era:

Rowling: “I'm going to tell you as much as I told someone earlier who asked me. You know Owen who won the [UK television] competition to interview me? He asked about Grindelwald. He said, “Is it coincidence that he died in 1945,” and I said no. It amuses me to make allusions to things that were happening in the Muggle world, so my feeling would be that while there's a global Muggle war going on, there's also a global wizarding war going on.”

Does he have any connection to—

Rowling: “I have no comment to make on that subject.”

Do they feed each other, the Muggle and wizarding wars?

Rowling: “Yeah, I think so. Yeah. Mm.”

Plans can certainly change, but with someone as concerned with the inner consistency of her world, it’s likely that Rowling would’ve carried this idea over into the upcoming films. I don’t doubt that the question she cut off would’ve been about Hitler (she did well not to answer it), but “Yeah, I think so. Yeah. Mm” sounds pretty definitive in regards to Grindelwald’s rise to power having something to do with World War II and perhaps wanting wizards out in the open.

I haven’t been excited about this series until very recently, but given my recent re-watch of the Yates Potter films (Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows 1 & 2), I’m optimistic about his return to the franchise. Not only will he direct the first and second installments of the new series, but per The Hollywood Reporter, he seems keen to stick around till the end.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be Yates’ fifth film in the franchise, and he could end up with a grand-total of nine when it’s all said and done! But first, let’s hope this next one turns out to be good. I’m starting to believe it will be.