When I turned 11 years old, I imagined an adorable owl by the name of Flufferpants tapping at my window to deliver a message from my homeboy Albus Dumbledore. It would be all, like, “Yo, your swish and flicks with your wand are dope, and your charms are utterly magical (pun, LOL). I want yo’ bod at Hogwarts.” This letter never came. And, I’ve only now realized that this message would have made my parents question whether I was being invited into a school or into a white van with “Potions Mastah” scrawled across the side. I was weird at 11.
Moral of the story: “Harry Potter” was and still is my shizzles, my jamzles, my Triwizard Cupizzles. But, by the pterodactyl-feces-flavored jelly beans, people! I am nervous! The announcement that there will be a new film trilogy based on the Harry Potter spinoff “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (2001) made me really hope that J.K. Rowling’s initials would actually be true, and they were just kidding about these films. I dropped my falafel into my cauldron — wizard slang, you wouldn’t understand — when I thought about the potential disaster. Think of everything these new films are going to be missing!
To give a bit more background, Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara recently convinced Rowling to adapt her roughly 50-page book into three movies. They will be set in New York, 70 years before Harry’s story begins, and will feature the “magizoologist” Newt Scamander. It is “neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world,” Rowling said.
I feel like I should be stoked like a fireplace, but instead, I’m as stoked as I am while treading through Berkeley’s torrential downpours without being under Rihanna’s umbrella (ella, ella, eh, eh, eh). I’m sure there are millions of people who are excited to get anything new from the wizarding world, but these films are going to be lacking pretty much everything that we love about the original series.
Most obviously, we will be left without all of the beloved characters. There will be no indignant “Dobby has no mastah!”s or Weasley shenanigans or seriously serious Sirius secrets. We grew up with these characters, and we care about these characters. They’re the ones who give the wizarding world its charm, and without them, this “extension” will actually be left empty. Instead, we’re given this newbie who has the name of an amphibian. Amphibians give me the heebie jeebies, and I don’t see Newt accomplishing the same level of connection with audiences as the original characters did for me as I stayed up all night reading the books.
The same thing can be said about the plot. The story of Harry Potter is truly epic. I mean, we’re talking the paleness of my thighs epic. It’s a once-in-a-generation idea that turned into a phenomenon. Newt, in the words of MC Hammer, just can’t touch this.
“Harry Potter” should be forever left alone. Let it be. Don’t go all “Hangover” on us and try to squeeze as much money as possible out of a single franchise until it turns into poopsticles. Despite fans eagerly lusting after Harry’s bod (figuratively) and never able to get enough, we should accept the fact that it’s over and appreciate it, without ruining it with numerous reiterations.
If Rowling and the movie industry insist on doing spinoffs, then they should at least provide a prequel or sequel, rather than a random story that has nothing in common with Harry’s tale, except that people can turn into Martha Stewart with some Polyjuice Potion if they wanted to. Showing what happened leading up to the original series, or what happened after, would be interesting because it would still feature the story and characters that we love while providing relevant information. A particularly cool prequel idea would be to follow Harry’s father during his days at Hogwarts, since, in the words of my roommate, “James Potter is the most (naughty word) charismatic character in the whole (naughty word) series.”
Yes, Harry and his world are my homies, but I am tentative about this new spinoff film trilogy. I’d rather have that owl Flufferpants make an appearance at my window sometime soon. I’m waiting, bro.
Taran Moriates is the arts columnist. Contact him at [email protected].