As it turns out, modern audiences want lore, and they want it in spades. It seems fitting then that Warner Bros. would try to prolong the life of their cash cow Harry Potter franchise with a series of sort-of prequels that don’t exactly attempt to expand the world and lore of the HP world, but rather shed light on areas that fans might find interesting. More lore equals a larger, more dedicated fandom, right? In this case, not really.
Disney tried to pull the same trick with Star Wars, and has nearly killed off the franchise in the process. Movies like ‘Rogue One,’ ‘Solo,’ and ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ were mostly approved on a pitch that promised a movie that would answer long-held fan questions like “How did the rebels get the plans for the Death Star?” or “Why is Han Solo such a cool guy?” or “Was Dumbledore cute when he was young?” And yes, these movies provide answers to these questions, but in a very unsatisfying way. Studio executives don’t quite understand that sometimes it’s better not to understand something, that something can be made more powerful by only being mentioned for a moment and not explained.
What’s more, those same executives have failed to place importance on these being solid and satisfying movies in their own right. The Fantastic Beasts series is an attempt to play out stories in the Harry Potter world that don’t rely so much on Harry and his pals. The only problem, of course, is that these stories are not terribly interesting, and feature little magic outside of shooting at bad guys with zappy wand-bullets. In the end, these movies serve as excellent advertisements for the original series of films, their fun and originality, and what a miracle it is that all 8 of the original movies were so wonderful. Apparently that magic has just run out.