It seems that Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) may have inadvertently confirmed that the Fantastic Beasts franchise may no longer be a thing. In a recent Q3 earnings call with WBD CEO David Zaslav it was revealed that no Wizarding World content was in current development. This includes Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts intellectual property.
While the Harry Potter franchise ended in 2011, it was previously mentioned by J.K. Rowling that there would be five films within the Fantastic Beasts franchise. With the latest earnings call, that seems to not be the case.
The Fantastic Beasts franchise has been marred with controversy. Rowling has continued to express anti-trans sentiment since 2020, when she first tweeted out her frustration with an op-ed on people who menstruate for not using the word “women”. Since then, she has used her platform to spread her anti-trans views via social media, with the most recent action being her denouncing of Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon’s support for reforming the Gender Recognition Act (GRA). The GRA reform simplifies the process to change your gender identity on your birth certificate.
Additionally, the inclusion of Johnny Depp as antagonist Gellert Grindelwald within the Fantastic Beasts franchise has caused plenty of conversation. Depp was included in 2016 with a cameo in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, amid domestic violence allegations that were placed on him. Since then, those domestic violence allegations transformed into legal battles with actress and ex-wife Amber Heard.
Consequently, Depp was asked to resign from the franchise by the previously named Warner Bros., but not before a $16 million payout.
Then there’s Fantastic Beasts star Ezra Miller. Miller portrayed Credence Barebone / Aurelius Dumbledore within all three films released. And while they rose to further prominence in the franchise, their time within Fantastic Beasts has been overshadowed by their erratic behavior and legal woes.
The cherry on top of it all, the third Fantastic Beasts film, The Secrets of Dumbledore was the lowest grossing film within the entire Wizarding World franchise.
However, Zaslav mentioned being open to creating further Harry Potter content with Rowling.
“And a focus on the big movies that are loved, that are tentpoled, that people are going to leave early from dinner to go to see — and we have a lot of them,” stated Zaslav on the earnings call. “Batman, Superman, Aquaman, if we can do something with J.K. on Harry Potter going forward, Lord of the Rings, what are we doing with Game of Thrones? What are we doing with a lot of the big franchises that we have? We’re focused on franchises.”
While he wants to “have a real focus on franchises”, the Fantastic Beasts franchise seems to be stalled indefinitely.