In 2016, five years after the main Harry Potter film series concluded with The Deathly Hallows — Part 2, Warner Bros. Pictures delved back into the Wizarding World with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a story following Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scamander more than half a century before the Boy Who Lived was born. That movie spawned two sequels, and for a time the plan was for Fantastic Beasts to be a five-movie saga. However, there’s been no movement on more installments since The Secrets of Dumbledore came out last year, so is Fantastic Beasts 4 actually happening?
We’re definitely not done with the Wizarding World being explored onscreen, as evidenced by the Harry Potter TV series in development. However, as far as Fantastic Beasts 4 goes, its future is shrouded in uncertainty, though there have been a handful of updates on where things stand with it over the last several years.
Fantastic Beasts 4 Was On Rocky Ground Even Before The Secrets Of Dumbledore Came Out
In November 2016, shortly before Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’s wide release, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, who’s wrote the first Fantastic Beasts movie solo and co-wrote its two sequels, revealed that the Harry Potter prequel series would stretch across five movies rather than the previously-announced three. Two years later, producer David Heyman explained that this was a necessity because of the story Rowling had crafted, as it’d become apparent that what she was covering couldn’t be squeezed into just a trilogy.
But by August 2021, eight months before The Secrets of Dumbledore’s release, Fantastic Beasts 4 was already finding itself on shaky ground, as it was reported that director David Yates was looking to take a break from the Wizarding World after helming the first three Fantastic Beasts movies. So at the bare minimum, fans would have had to wait a long time before the next entry, assuming, of course, Warner Bros. didn’t just decide to hire another director to replace Yates in order to get the movie out more quickly.
Fantastic Beasts 4 Becomes Even More Uncertain Following The Secrets Of Dumbledore’s Release
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore was released on April 15, 2022, and along with earning mixed critical reception (CinemaBlend’s review stamped it with 3.5 out of 5 stars), it only collected $407.2 million worldwide, making it the lowest-grossing Wizarding World movie yet. Days later, word came in that it would be weeks or even months before Warner Bros. decided whether or not to keep the Fantastic Beasts saga going.
A month later, then-newly-installed Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav was said to be meeting with J.K. Rowling to discuss what to do next with the Wizarding World, and he was especially keen on utilizing the Max streaming service for the franchise’s future. Obviously his wish was fulfilled, as the Harry Potter TV series (which, to be clear, is adapting the original books), will stream to Max subscribers. Still though, there was no indication about if Fantastic Beasts 4 would move forward or not.
Eddie Redmayne Hasn’t Been Kept In The Loop On Fantastic Beasts 4
While the latter two Fantastic Beasts movies placed more focuses on the conflict between Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald, Newt Scamander was still front and center as the main protagonist, which is only fitting considering he’s the one taking care of most of the magical creatures on display in these movies. So naturally he’d be sticking around for Fantastic Beasts 4, but when asked about the project in October 2022, he said he wasn’t sure what was happening, and recommended that one inquire with J.K. Rowling, David Yates or Warner Bros. directly about its status.
Now granted, actors aren’t as privy to how things are coming along with a project compared to writers, directors and producers. Still, the fact that Redmayne hadn’t heard anything about Fantastic Beasts 4 one way or another could be construed as concerning.
David Yates Reveals That The Fantastic Beasts Series Is ‘Parked’
While promoting his latest movie, Pain Hustlers (which can be streamed now with a Netflix subscription) on the Inside Total Film podcast in October 2023, David Yates attributed the lack of updates on Fantastic Beasts’ future to how difficult putting The Secrets of Dumbledore together was, saying:
With Beasts, it's all just parked. We made those three movies, the last one through a pandemic, and it was enormous fun but it was tough. We were actually filming when there wasn't a vaccine. Thankfully, no one got sick, but we did have the most detailed protocols in place.
This wasn’t the first time Yates has brought up the challenge of making the third Fantastic Beasts movie during the pandemic, noting in September that shooting the movie without vaccines “took its toll.” So that was more than enough to warrant hitting the pause button on this film series, with Yates adding:
We're all so proud of [Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore] and when it went out into the world, we just needed to sort of stop and pause, and take it easy.
That second statement may have also been referencing Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore’s underwhelming theatrical performance, although let’s also not forget that the film series has dealt with its fair share of controversies, including Mads Mikkelsen taking over the role of Gellert Grindelwald from Johnny Depp following the latter’s legal troubles, Credence Barebone actor Ezra Miller’s multiple arrests and J.K. Rowling not shying away from sharing her controversial views about transgender women. So with that baggage on top of Fantastic Beasts’ diminishing returns, it’s not surprising that the series has hit a standstill. Yates continued:
The idea that there were going to be five films was a surprise to most of us. [JK Rowling] just mentioned it spontaneously, at a press screening once. No one had told us there were going to be five, we'd committed to the first one. I'm sure at some point, we'll be back. But yeah, I haven't spoken to Jo, I haven't spoken to [producer] David Heyman, I haven't spoken to Warner Bros; we're just taking a pause. It's quite nice. It allows me to do stuff like this.
So as of right now, although Fantastic Beasts 4 hasn’t technically been officially scrapped, its chances of actually being made don’t look good. Maybe Yates is right and this corner of the Wizarding World will be revisited someday, but when it comes to this magical world, the Harry Potter TV series is being prioritized. It’s also possible that Warner Bros. May decide to launch a new Wizarding World film series and leave Fantastic Beasts hanging out to dry two movies shy of its previous goal.
If/when the day comes that Warner Bros. provides any official clarification on Fantastic Beasts 4, we’ll pass it along. Until then, head to Max to get your fill of the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movies, and keep your eyes peeled on CinemaBlend for updates on how the platform’s Harry Potter TV show is progressing.