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These Fantastic Beasts 3 Details Are Bad News For The Future Of The Franchise

Even though "Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore" was originally intended to serve as the third movie in a series of five films penned by J.K. Rowling, rumors have swirled that Warner Bros. is quietly moving away from the "Harry Potter" spinoff franchise. Between public relations nightmares, WarnerMedia's impending merger with Discovery, poor audience and critical reception to the series in comparison to the original "Harry Potter" films, and declining box office expectations, Variety recently reported that the film studio is growing more convinced that the "Fantastic Beasts" series is no longer worth the investment.

The new movie finally landed in movie theaters across the United States on April 15, following an international release schedule that has trickled out only mediocre critical reviews for the third "Fantastic Beasts" entry; as of writing, 50% of 163 Rotten Tomatoes critics reported enjoying the movie. Variety reports that "Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore" expects to make $40 million over its opening weekend, which would place it within the five highest-grossing opening weekends of 2022, according to Box Office Mojo.

Even if the film does perform well at the box office, it seems that a combination of factors surrounding the Wizarding World franchise, as well as the new film's events, suggest that Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and a younger Albus Dumbledore's (Jude Law) days thwarting Gellert Grindelwald's (Mads Mikkelsen) efforts to turn the magical community against the entirety of the non-magical world could come to a close earlier than originally anticipated. 

Fantastic Beasts 3 creatives are moving on to other projects

Despite J.K. Rowling's assertion that the "Fantastic Beasts" series would consist of five movies, producer David Heyman noted at a fan event in February that Rowling had not started work on a script for the franchise's fourth film (via MuggleNet). That makes for a surprising change in the production schedule; for comparison, Rowling had already completed the script for "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald" before the first "Fantastic Beasts" movie even hit theaters (via YouTube).

Given that the COVID-19 pandemic forced Warner Bros. to push the release of "Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore" to 2022 (via The Hollywood Reporter), there should have been plenty of time for Rowling and co-screenwriter Steve Kloves to start work on a fourth script if Warner Bros. felt confident about continuing the series.

Additionally, it looks like some of the "Fantastic Beasts" creative minds aside from Rowling have other projects in motion. Kloves, who produces each "Fantastic Beasts" film and wrote the screenplay for almost every "Harry Potter movie," is currently in pre-production for an adaptation of the novel "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time," which IMDb says he will both write and direct. In August 2021, Deadline reported that David Yates, who has directed every Wizarding World entry since 2007's "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," was in talks to take a break from wizards and direct an original movie for Sony Pictures.

At the very least, it seems some of the Wizarding World franchise's long-standing creative team are taking a break.

The ending suggests some level of finality

Beyond the future projects of the "Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore" production team, the newest movie's events suggest a level of finality that seems more apt for a trilogy than the pivot movie in a five-film series. Many of the questions and mysteries posed by "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" and "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald" are answered for good in the new film: Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller) is revealed to be Aberforth Dumbledore's (Richard Coyle) long-lost son, ending the three-movie long mystery and suggesting that Credence's Obscurus will no longer consume him now that he has been accepted in the Wizarding World.

Similarly, the blood pact that prevented Albus from directly attacking Grindelwald breaks in Bhutan during the International Confederation of Wizards' election at the new film's climax, enabling the legendary Hogwarts professor to finally fend off the dark wizard himself. While Grindelwald does escape, the movie's final moments suggest its protagonist feel their mission has been accomplished.

Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) and Queenie Goldstein (Alison Sudol) even get married, putting a cap on their love story that started in the first film. In the final scene of "Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore," Newt and Albus speak outside Jacob's wedding just before the ceremony starts; when Albus thanks Newt for helping prevent Grindelwald's rise to power, Newt says that he would fight Grindelwald again if he's asked — suggesting that the threat Grindelwald poses has ended, at least for now.