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More or less exactly what it says on the tin: How does the released and upcoming Fantastic Beasts film series, written by JK Rowling, fit into the existing Harry Potter canon? Do they have the same level of authority as the books, the utter lack of authority of the movies, or somewhere in between?

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    I don't think this can be answered since JKR never really went for formal canon rules like Lucas did. So YMMV based on personal preferences. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 15 '15 at 23:36
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    I agree with @DVK in that everyone prioritizes canon differently, but I would personally put the upcoming Fantastic Beasts movie along side the other eight movies. Where that falls on one's personal spectrum of canon is going to vary person to person. :) – Slytherincess Jan 15 '15 at 23:39
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    @Slytherincess - the question make it sound like JKR will be involved in writing the scenario (I don't know if that's true). if so, it would probably be way higher canon than 7 films – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 15 '15 at 23:40
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    The general rule of thumb is that books + JKR interviews => Films. The films will fit into the same canon level as the other 8 films however with JKR as screenwriter, we'll have to take a judgement when the films come out. – Valorum Jan 15 '15 at 23:41
  • @DVK - I don't think JKR is writing the screenplay, but if you have a reliable source that says she is, please correct me. She usually serves as a consultant on the films, at least she did on the first eight. She also produced at least some of the films. – Slytherincess Jan 16 '15 at 0:28
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+100

While as the answers have already made clear that the Harry Potter universe has no official canon policy, it is interesting to note that Rowling has said on twitter that these movies are canon.

There were obviously some major changes from the HP books to the films... Are we to take everything in these films as canonical?

J.K. Rowling: Yes, because I'm writing them!
Twitter

Of course, Rowling has failed to address why the parts of the movies which aren't from her script should be canon just because she wrote other parts of it.

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    @DVK-on-Ach-To - A bounty? But this answer isn't even poking fun at The Cursed Child. – ibid Apr 4 '17 at 1:36
  • Perhaps I should accompany my bounty with a downvote :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Apr 7 '17 at 17:38
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There's no "official" canon in Potterverse the way LucasFilm had.

So there's no way to answer your question precisely.

Having said that, JKR will (at least according to my interpretation of her quotes) be the screenwriter for the films (unlike the original 8 Potter films) - see the bolded text for confirmation, all quotes from BBC interview/article:

"It all started when Warner Bros came to me with the suggestion of turning Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them into a film," said Rowling.

"I thought it was a fun idea, but the idea of seeing Newt Scamander, the supposed author of Fantastic Beasts, realised 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.

She went on: "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.

As such,

  • the realistic out of universe canonicity would definitely be WAY more than original Potter films (where JKR wasn't a screenwriter),

  • but personally I would rate it slightly less than the books' canonicity because JKR as a screenwriter is under the control/influence of the director/producer of the movies.

  • Of course, this could all change if JKR officially states some canon rules.


In addition, as far as in-universe continuity, Rowling said:

"Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for 17 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.

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Now that we have established that J.K. Rowling will indeed be writing the screenplay to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I wanted to answer your actual question. According to JKR, Fantastic Beasts will not be an extension of the Harry Potter universe:

"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."
J.K. Rowling to Write Harry Potter Spinoff -- NPR -- 9.12.13

So, Fantastic Beasts will not fit into existing Harry Potter canon.

Since we haven't seen the movie yet, it's impossible to assess its authenticity in comparison to the Harry Potter movies, but I would suggest that perhaps Fantastic Beasts might have a higher level of authenticity within the wizarding world's canon (which stands alone from Harry and his story) because it's a stand alone set within the wizarding world. This is just an idea, though, on my part.

As a movie, compared to the Harry Potter movies, in the same way as I mentioned above, I think Fantastic Beasts would have greater authority. One, the author herself is writing the screenplay, and she is very protective of her universe; she's also very exacting. Two, while the Fantastic Beasts and Harry Potter movies come from the same universe, their stories do not intersect. While the book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a bestiary, it also has a brief one page bio of Newt Scamander and an introduction that has a good bit of canon information on Magizoology. Whether JKR will use this in her screenplay, I don't know, but should she use her existing canon, and build Newt's story on that canon foundation, it would put Fantastic Beasts closer to JKR's personal wizarding canon as a movie.

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    I'm a little confused by your answer. Reading JKR's commentary, it seems clear that even though Harry, etc. will not be in the films, they will be in the same universe. I don't understand what you mean by a distinction between wizarding world canon and Harry Potter canon (e.g. Beedle the Bard doesn't involve Harry Potter characters, but is canon as a book of legends) – user30472 Jan 17 '15 at 1:41
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    I consider the Harry Potter universe to be identical to the Wizarding World universe, even if Harry's stories are just a small part of the larger universe. I have never heard of their being two different canons/universes; I am perfectly willing to accept that there are alternate universes or less canonical works, but not that something not involving Harry Potter, but in the same world is not part of the same universe (especially given how the term universe is understood in fandom). – user30472 Jan 17 '15 at 1:46
  • Yes, they are set in the same universe: the wizarding world. As Newt's story begins 70 years before Harry's story it is highly unlikely Harry and co. would be making cameos. JKR has said Fantastic Beasts will be "an extension of the wizarding world", which I read as being set in the wizarding world, but a story totally separate from Harry's. – Slytherincess Jan 17 '15 at 1:47
  • Thing is, this isn't fandom. Yes, "universe" means many different things in fandom. But I am quoting to you what the author of the series has said; her word will always take precedence over fandom particulars. If you prefer the word "universe", you could substitute "universe" where I have written "world". And you are free to hate my answer :) But it is important to remember that Stack Exchange is infinitely different than fandom. Here, people look for hard facts and sensible subjectivity. In fandom, anything goes! – Slytherincess Jan 17 '15 at 1:54
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    1/2 @Slytherincess I definitely don't hate your answer! I actually think the last two paragraphs make up a good answer (which is why I didn't downvote). I also love SE's emphasis on definite answers (there's a reason for quality being so high here). Your JKR quote is also very useful. When I say fandom, I only mean that most fans and critics of SF works would see universe as being part of a connected group of works, even if characters and settings don't crossover (EG Heinlein's future history). The only part of the answer I was confused by was your differentiation between – user30472 Jan 17 '15 at 2:22
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According to this the films will be indeed written by JKR but I doubt they can be written according to the book strictly, as the book is not a story, but rather an documentary or journal of the magical creatures in the Harry Potter world. The movies can indeed be just about the trip of the author but it is likely more action will be needed to make a good movie.

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    For the record, the book is a "bestiary" rather than a journal. – Valorum Jan 16 '15 at 0:00
  • Thank you Richard. Indeed that is the best and the closest would be encyclopaedia I guess, I meant journal because the author was describing his experiences and the movie is likely to base its action around this idea (as the rest is just raw information). – yldm Jan 16 '15 at 0:02
  • Technically isn't the book supposed to be a textbook that Harry owned? From what I've quickly gathered about it, it contains the history of Magizoology and has 75 different species. I suppose you could call it a bestiary in the sense that it talks about different magical creatures. – DoctorWho22 Jan 16 '15 at 0:16
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    @DoctorWho22 -- You are correct in that Fantastic Beasts was a textbook Harry was required to purchase his first year. It's on his welcome letter in the chapter Diagon Alley in Philosopher's Stone. :) – Slytherincess Jan 16 '15 at 0:33
  • What is the HP Wikia's source? Is it reliable? Curious. :) – Slytherincess Jan 16 '15 at 0:34

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