The once mighty Wizarding World of Harry Potter has started looking surprisingly vulnerable. First came Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald underperforming at the box office and receiving negative reviews. That was followed by J.K. Rowling’s transphobic meltdown last year, which saw her widely criticized by Harry Potter stars and fans. On top of that, her decision to support Johnny Depp as Grindelwald looks like a bad call as he’s lost a court case and was quickly removed from the project. All of which puts Fantastic Beasts 3 on shaky ground.
So fans likely won’t be happy to learn of reports that the movie is “in trouble” and that it may be reformatted as an HBO Max exclusive rather than receive a theatrical release. The news comes via leaker Daniel Richtman and casts doubt on whether the planned five movie arc will be completed, with hints that they’ll wrap up the story in the third instalment. Previous rumors have said that Warner Bros would prefer Fantastic Beasts 3 to have a “definitive end”, which if true doesn’t indicate a huge amount of confidence.
Right now it’s difficult to quantify how much difficulty the Wizarding World is in, though Rowling demolishing her reputation in 2020 has led to a lot of her faithful fanbase disowning the franchise and looking elsewhere for their thrills. In a hint of what might be coming, upcoming video game Hogwarts Legacy went as far as assuring us that Rowling had almost no involvement in it. Alternatively, we could simply see that mainstream audiences don’t care about Rowling’s transphobia and will turn up regardless.
Either way, I anticipate Warner Bros to subtly disassociate Rowling from Harry Potter, which may mean the end for Fantastic Beasts as it was very much her baby. There’s a whole year before Fantastic Beasts 3‘s July 15, 2022 release, so I fully expect more drama to emerge from behind the scenes.