Back in 2001, J.K. Rowling wrote a Harry Potter spinoff book called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It was published between the fourth and fifth book in the Potter series.
It's been revealed that the book will be adapted into a film trilogy. The news came from the New York Times in a profile piece on Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara.
The book is a reproduction of a textbook owned by Harry Potter and was mentioned in the first Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. The textbook was written by magizoologist Newt Scamander, a fictional character in the Potter series. For those of you who don't know, Magizoology is the study of magical creatures. According to the article, "three megamovies" are being planned, and the main character will be Scamander. Rowling had this to say about the project coming together.
“When I say he made Fantastic Beasts happen, it isn’t P.R.-speak but the literal truth. We had one dinner, a follow-up telephone call, and then I got out the rough draft that I’d thought was going to be an interesting bit of memorabilia for my kids and started rewriting!”
The author discussed the story and how it fits in with the Potter universe saying,
"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 underway."
I'm sure potter fans are going to love this. It's going to be really fun to watch these films all come together. Here's some more detailed information on the book for those of you not familiar with it:
Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts, provides the Foreword and explains the purpose of the special edition of this book (the Comic Relief charity). At the end, he tells the reader, "...The amusing creatures described hereafter are fictional and cannot hurt you." He repeats the Hogwarts motto: "Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus",Latin for "Never tickle a sleeping dragon".
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them contains the history of Magizoology and describes 75 magical species found around the world. Scamander says that he collected most of the information found in the book through observations made over years of travel and across five continents. He notes that the first edition was commissioned in 1918 by Mr Augustus Worme of Obscurus Books. However, it was not published until 1927. It is now in its 52nd edition.
In the Harry Potter universe, the book is a required textbook for first-year Hogwarts students, having been an approved textbook since its first publication. It is not clear why students need it in their first year, as students do not take Care of Magical Creatures until their third year. However, it may be used as an encyclopaedia of Dark creatures studied in Defence Against the Dark Arts classes. In his foreword to the book, Albus Dumbledore notes that it serves as an excellent reference for Wizarding households in addition to its use at Hogwarts.
The book features doodles and comments supposedly added by Harry, Ron, and Hermione. The comments would appear to have been written around the time of the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. These doodles add some extra information for fans of the series; for example the "Acromantula" entry has a comment confirming that Hogwarts is located in Scotland.
Integrated in the design, the cover of the book appears to have been clawed by some sort of animal.