Things don’t always go according to plan in any film series. The most obvious, initially unanticipated change in the Fantastic Beasts franchise concerns the character of Grindelwald, for whom superstar Johnny Depp was revealed as a big surprise at the very end of the first film, only to appear in Fantastic Beasts 3: Secrets of Dumbledore to be passé again — after his scandalous argument with ex-wife Amber Heard, Depp was no longer acceptable for Studio Warner and was replaced by the completely scandal-free, Danish popular figure Mads Mikkelsen . But the biggest change in direction was made long before that, in the concept phase of the Beasts series.
An Attenborough-style Newt documentary
Colleagues at Collider spoke to producer David Heyman about Fantastic Beasts 3: Secrets of Dumbledore. Heyman revealed that the film originally had a very different style in mind than 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them became.
«One of the producers, Lionel Wigram, was thinking about what we could do and he had the idea that maybe we could do a documentary about Newt.
David Heyman doesn’t elaborate on what kind of film would have been made, but we’re thinking of a feature film that feels like a documentary. This genre is probably best known for the office series “ The Office ”.
In terms of humor, «The Office» is as far removed from the magical world as a muggle is from admission to Hogwarts, but the style with documentary-looking camera shots and interspersed interviews would have gone well with the «Beasts» films: Eddie Redmayne ‘s played Newt Scamander is a researcher of magical animals, whom we as viewers could have followed on one of his expeditions — a bit like David Attenborough in his nature documentaries.
In between, Newt would probably have been interviewed again and again about his discoveries and perspective on things. The approach, which is believed to have centered on Newt’s work as an animal researcher, is a far cry from the traditional fantasy cinema offered by all previous films in the «Beasts» series:
The heroic journey of Newt Scamander is told in opulent scenes, although it is actually less about the imaginative magical creatures. At the latest in the second film, it becomes clear that the inventor of «Harry Potter» JK Rowling wants to tell of a political threat within the hidden world of wizards. Newt has something to do with it again and again. Where the «Harry Potter» stories had a very clear focus on the boarding school adventures of Harry, Ron and Hermione — and thus on the main characters — Rowling’s «Beasts» films are obviously primarily about (fictional) historical context and the expansion of the arsenal of figures around Hogwarts.
JK Rowling had another idea
A documentary about an animal researcher and his whimsical creatures would have been a very different approach, so Rowling scrapped the idea as soon as she heard about it. «Well, Lionel had this idea. Jo [JK Rowling] got wind of it. She said, ‘Well, funnily enough, I made something up myself,’ producer David Heyman told Collider .
It is also clear that the «Harry Potter» creator herself and not the studio is responsible for the premise of the «Beasts» film series. The extent should also be Rowling’s responsibility, the plan with the documentary in any case does not sound as if five films were originally planned. On the other hand, when the author of one of the world’s most successful franchises outlines her plan to tell a story spanning several decades, it’s an invitation for every film studio in the world to think big. And so Warner already provided the announcement of a «Beasts» trilogy in 2014 with the addition that there would be at least three films.
Is it prematurely over after «Beasts 3»?
The number three was soon increased to five. Already film number 2, » Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald «, proved to be a stumbling block: the film, which was broken up into many storylines, received a comparatively large number of bad ratings and grossed significantly less than part 1, so that the «Fantastic Beasts : Dumbledore’s Secrets» was obviously designed as a possible ending for the series.
For the fact that two more films are to come, Part 3 ends in a conspicuously rounded and not very open manner. These days, after the film (with a week delay to Germany, among others) has also been released in the USA, the most important cinema market, it should become more clear whether the original plan with the five films will still be implemented.
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