David Yates isn’t leaving the Wizarding World anytime soon.
He plans to stick around and direct the entire Harry Potter prequel series, which recently expanded from a trilogy to five films and begins with next weekend’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. informed THR at Thursday’s world premiere of the news, saying despite the huge commitment, he was enthusiastic and only looked at it “movie to movie.”
“I love making films, and I’ve got a great team, all of whom are like family.”
He previously helmed the last four entries in the series proper, making him the purveyor of childhood imaginations the world over for the past decade, with this news setting him up for another. Fortunately, Potter creator and mastermind J.K. Rowling is along for the ride, returning to script the remaining four films. Her first script for Fantastic Beasts was the result of three drafts by Rowling, with input from Yates, Steve Kloves, screenwriter on the original Potter films, and longtime producer David Heyman.
The beloved author is currently “putting the finishing touches” on the Paris-set sequel, which is in currently in pre-production in England and France ahead of a Nov. 18, 2018 release. The film will introduce a young Albus Dumbledore, played by Richard Harris and Michael Gambon in the original series (check out our picks for the role here), and focus on the rise of Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp, who will cameo in the first film), the most powerful dark wizard who lived prior to Voldemort (and Dumbledore’s former best friend and love interest).
Yates said the untitled sequel feels quite different than the first film, describing it as “haunting” and dreamlike and commended Rowling for shaking up her formula.
“The first draft was quite whimsical and lyrical, but it felt it didn’t have any heft and we weren’t sure what it was about,” recalled Yates. “Then Joe took a left turn and it was right up my street: it was really intense and dark. Joe and I loved it, but David Heyman and Steve Kloves very wisely said, ‘Whoa, hang on guys, this needs to get some of the lightness back.’ It was after that dark second draft that Joe suddenly found the melody; then, she was away to the races. It was a struggle to keep up with her because she knew what it was: a balance between light and shade.”
Rowling herself added
“I’m never complacent — I’m always feeling like I gotta do my best work, and I’m always pretty hard on myself. We’ve set ourselves an ambitious story to tell in five movies, but it’s going to be challenging and exciting — all the things I like.”
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them kicks off the prequel series a week from day