The play will be about the boy wizard’s younger years pre-Hogwarts and will be co-produced by JK Rowling, Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender with Warner Bros.’ involvement. The show will be written by a playwright collaborating with the author. It is said to be opening on the West End within two years.

I am loving the unconventional approach Rowling is taking in expanding the Potter universe. More franchises should be broadening their horizons like this.

For Rowling, the most important issue was creative control‚ not an easy ask for a first-time screenwriter. Sources say Warners cannot hire someone else to rewrite her script without her approval — a gamble for the studio and a departure from the Potter films, which were written by such seasoned scribes as Steve Kloves and Michael Goldenberg. Rowling also has script approval on subsequent Fantastic Beasts films.

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” will be an original story and will mark Rowling’s screenwriting debut. It is planned as the first picture in a new film series. Set in the wizarding world, the story will feature magical creatures and characters, some of which will be familiar to devoted Harry Potter fans.

And Rowling’s extended quote on the new movie, which will be set globally, starting in New York …

“It all started when Warner Bros. came to me with the suggestion of turning ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ into a film. I thought it was a fun idea, but the idea of seeing Newt Scamander, the supposed author of ‘Fantastic Beasts,’ realized by another writer was difficult. Having lived for so long in my fictional universe, I feel very protective of it and I already knew a lot about Newt. As hard-core Harry Potter fans will know, I liked him so much that I even married his grandson, Rolf, to one of my favourite characters from the Harry Potter series, Luna Lovegood.

As I considered Warners’ proposal, an idea took shape that I couldn’t dislodge. That is how I ended up pitching my own idea for a film to Warner Bros.

Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for seventeen years, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world. The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York, seventy years before Harry’s gets underway.

I particularly want to thank Kevin Tsujihara of Warner Bros. for his support in this project, which would not have happened without him. I always said that I would only revisit the wizarding world if I had an idea that I was really excited about and this is it.”

American wizards, eh?

She’ll be donating the money to charity.

Just speculation, but what a thought.

It’s not the 8.3 million of the final ‘Potter’ book but the publisher claims it “exceeded expectations.”

Here’s the cover:

And summary (read at your own discretion):

When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…. Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town’s council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations? Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.
To be released Sept 27.

"Wonderbook: Book of Spells" will let players see pages from the real-world book come to life using augmented reality. Reader/players will use their PS Move motion controllers as wands, learning familiar spells from the Harry Potter world, like Incindo (the fire making skill).

Fyi, the “Incendio” typo is Variety’s, not mine. Take up all Harry Potter nerd complaints with them.