LONDON - Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is to make her screenwriting debut by penning a series of spin-off films set in the magical world of the British boy wizard, she announced on Thursday, putting her in line for another huge payday.
The first film will be called "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" and will be based on a textbook of the same name used by Harry and his classmates at their school Hogwarts, Rowling said on her Facebook page.
Set in New York and featuring magical zoologist Newt Scamander - the author of Harry's textbook - it will be set 70 years before the events of the core Potter novels. The Warner Bros. film comes two years after the final movie in the eight-part series spawned by her phenomenally successful novels.
"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," the 48-year-old Rowling said.
She pitched the idea to Warner Bros. herself after the US studio approached her about making "Fantastic Beasts" into a film.
"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," she wrote.
"Having lived for so long in my fictional universe, I feel very protective of it and I already knew a lot about Newt.
"As hardcore 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."