Warner Bros. is allegedly waiting to see how Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore performs before greenlighting any further sequels.
According to Variety, the five-film plan for the Fantastic Beasts franchise now hinges on how The Secrets of Dumbledore is received by audiences, with Warner Bros. allegedly assessing the movie’s performance to determine whether to greenlight films four and five. Sources have also apparently confirmed that there’s currently no written script for the fourth installment.
The outlet broke down some of the biggest controversies that have plagued the Wizarding World franchise leading up to this point, including Ezra Miller’s recent arrest for disorderly conduct and harassment, Johnny Depp’s forced resignation due to abuse allegations between he and actress Amber Heard and a libel case Depp had against The Sun newspaper.
Mads Mikkelsen was cast to replace Depp in the role of Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts 3, but the third installment wasn’t without its setbacks. Variety notes that “Warner Bros. initially postponed filming in 2019 to retool the third movie,” causing extra time to be spent in pre-production. The film then faced further delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the same time, Harry Potter creator JK Rowling came under fire for being a major voice of anti-trans rhetoric, which forced Harry Potter fans to wrestle with the series they love and its creator’s prejudice. They were note alone as franchise stars Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, and Eddie Redmayne also condemned her remarks on gender identity and trans women.
Actors Who Were Replaced During Production
In terms of box office performance, 2016’s Where to Find Them was a commercial success, grossing more than $800 million worldwide, even though its opening weekend numbers fell short compared to the rest of the franchise. 2018’s The Crimes of Grindelwald suffered a 20% decline, earning $650 million globally to become the lowest-grossing installment to date.
The Secrets of Dumbledore faces some challenges of its own as some countries where the movie was scheduled to hit theaters have strict censorship mandates that could impact the release. References to Dumbledore and Grindelwald’s gay relationship have already been edited out by Warner Bros. for the movie’s release in China.
News came from Rowling that the trilogy would be extended back in 2016, saying at that point that considering it a trilogy was “kind of a placeholder.” Director David Yates later defended the decision to extend the series from three to five movies, explaining that Rowling realized there was “a whole lot more” to the story while writing the second.
Whether the rest of the story ever makes it to screen remains to be seen. IGN rated The Secrets of Dumbledore a 4 out of 10, calling the franchise’s latest entry “an un-fantastical Potter prequel with uninteresting secrets” that “looks drab and feels like it was made by people who want to leave its magical premise behind.”
Adele Ankers-Range is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow her on Twitter.