I was just informed that JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books (as if I need to elaborate on who she is, but whatever) is writing a screenplay for a spin-off movie of the Harry Potter series based on the fictional Hogwarts textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, with the possibility of many sequels. Not only that, but she’s okayed a play to premiere in London’s West End that will explore Harry’s early days with the Dursleys. This, plus the amount of involvement Rowling has in the development of the website Pottermore and various other projects and books related to the Potterverse, points to one thing: Rowling, who wanted to get away from Harry Potter, has come back to him to turn him into an even bigger franchise than he is now.

Now here’s my question: why? Is it because the lackluster response to The Casual Vacancy and the early reveal that Rowling was the real author behind The Cuckoo’s Calling called attention back to the boy wizard who’s name is synonymous with Rowling’s? Did she make a bad bet in stocks and she needs the money? Does she actually want to revisit this magical world (it’s a great world, don’t get me wrong, but I got the sense at some point that she wanted to move on with her career)? Or, God forbid, is she actually selling out for the money?

I guess I’m a little peeved about all this. I love Harry Potter. JK Rowling was the one who got me into writing stories in the first place, HP left an indelible mark on my writing style, I’m a proud member of Slytherin (according to the Pottermore sorting quiz for houses), and I geeked out as much as anyone when the last book and films came out. But perhaps what’s really getting me is that Rowling’s turning her beloved franchise into one of the mega-franchises we keep seeing cropping up all over the place today.

This is something along the lines of what some franchises are going for. I say TOO MUCH!

Everywhere you look, Hollywood producers are looking to make the next mega-franchise, the next Star Trek/Star Wars/Doctor Who/Avengers, something with a main body of work that’s accompanied by tons of additional work of varying canonical status but brings in a ton of money no matter what. Once Upon a Time has its own accompanying novel and a spin-off TV show, The Avengers has a TV show to go with it now, Terminator is doing a reboot/prequel/sequel film with a TV series to go with it, and now Harry Potter has jumped on the bandwagon! As if 8 films, several video games and board games, memorabilia and a theme park, almost all of which came into being because of the films and not the original books, weren’t enough! Now Rowling’s got to go and add in all this prequel and spin-off stuff.

Look, I’m not saying franchises are bad, and I’m definitely not saying we should do away with mega-franchises. I’m a total Sith Lord and Whovian, among other things. But some works are just fine without having a million different products that make up the Expanded Universe and a million more products in merchandising! The seven HP novels and the supplemental books that JK Rowling wrote for charity purposes were wonderful. Isn’t it enough just to have those and all the crap that came with and after the movies? Why do we need all this supplemental stuff that will give us an initial thrill but in the end won’t really add to the Pottermania experience?

If Reborn City or any of my other works were to get famous (and I try to have faith in that, especially with RC. After all, it’s a dystopian science fiction novel with heavy YA themes. I hear that’s popular these days), I would be choosy as to how I continue these stories, especially in other formats. Snake and Laura Horn both have sequels planned for them, while RC is the first in a trilogy. Several other ideas I have for stories have the potential to become franchises. Will I make them into that though? Probably not; sure, some of my stories like RC have the potential to have their worlds explored in other stories and formats. Doesn’t mean I’m going to do that, or let someone else do that. Sometimes it’s just best to leave a story as it is, and not constantly expand upon it, especially if it’s with the intent of making a huge profit.

Yeah, don't expect an expanded universe with 12 different trilogies, a Silmarillion, and a spin-off book series, TV show, or comic book series. Probably won't happen.

Yeah, don’t expect an expanded universe with 12 different trilogies, a Silmarillion, and a spin-off book series, TV show, or comic book series. Probably won’t happen.

At least, that’s my take on the subject.

Thanks for reading my rant. If I post anything else in the coming days, I promise it won’t be as full of ranting as this post was. Have a good night, Followers of Fear.

  1. Yeah, I’d say she’s embracing the fact that she’s been typecast. It’s a success-trap really, making such a hit with an idea that it becomes a massively popular franchise, and then people just want more of the same. Few people – be they actors, writers, musicians – have ever been able to transition away from something like that successfully.

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