In October 2016, ahead of the premiere of the first film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling announced that the Fantastic Beasts series would comprise a total five films. However, it seems that three films are all we'll get from the series after remarks from Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav hint that the franchise is at an end.
In his statement, David Zaslav said, "We’re going to have a real focus on franchises. We haven’t had a Superman movie in 13 years and we haven’t had a Harry Potter movie in 15 years." Completely ignoring the Fantastic Beasts franchise in his statement, many fans seem to support this, a fact that comes as no surprise due to the mixed critical reception the films have received so far.
Reports had emerged earlier that the future of the Fantastic Beasts franchise was pegged on the financial success of the third film, Secrets of Dumbledore. The threequel grossed $405 million worldwide, a Wizarding World franchise low. Plagued by controversies focused on J. K. Rowling and Johnny Depp, the latter of whom was replaced by Mads Mikkelsen in the third film after allegations of domestic violence, a decision to axe the series and chart a new course for the franchise looks like the right move for Warner Bros. Discovery.
The head of original content at HBO, Sarah Aubrey, expressed her views on the franchise recently, saying: "There’s nothing like a ‘Harry Potter’ fan, in terms of their endless appetite for storytelling and new ways of interacting with these characters. So whether it’s the reunion or live events or games, we’re very much in the business of creating new content for those fans and thinking what to do next. We don’t have a series in active development right now. But we are very much in that business, because fans are just clamoring for more storytelling."
Furthermore, during Warner Bros. Discovery's Q3 earnings call earlier this month, David Zaslav mentioned that he was open to working with J. K. Rowling "going forward." However, reports from a source in the studio indicate that there are no active discussions with J.K. Rowling concerning the future of the franchise.
The recent Harry Potter 20th Anniversary reunion received high praise from Potterheads, an indication that a revival of the original franchise and a shift targeting streaming content would be a breath of fresh air in a format that was beginning to become stale.