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Fantastic Beasts: David Yates not directing all five films

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Jaap Buitendijk

Despite reports that director David Yates will return to helm the next four sequels to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, fans of his shouldn’t get too excited just yet.  

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Yates allegedly told the trade he is “committed” to directing all five of the planned films in the Harry Potter prequel saga. “I love making films, and I’ve got a great team, all of whom are like family,” he said, noting, “I only look at it movie to movie.”  

However, EW has learned that this is not entirely accurate. Multiple sources say Yates is only committed to helming the next sequel, which he is continuing to develop with author J.K. Rowling, who penned the original screenplay for Fantastic Beasts. This doesn’t necessarily rule him out for the others, but Warner Bros. hasn’t formally announced his continued involvement.

“It’s lovely being part of it and I love doing it,” he said during an interview with Collider. “How long will I stay with it? I’d like to say I want to stay with it for the whole thing. The only thing that makes my knees wobble a little bit is just the sheer volume. Five movies over eight years is a massive undertaking, so I have to be careful that I’m able to give everything. If there’s any point in that period where I go, ‘You know what, it might be wise to step away for a bit,’ I would, to give someone else a shot.”

After helming the final four Harry Potter films, Yates returned to direct Fantastic Beasts, which sees magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) arriving in Prohition-era New York City with an enchanted briefcase full of magical creatures. Also starring are Katherine Waterston, Ezra Miller, Colin Farrell, Ron Perlman, Alison Sudol, Carmen Ejogo, and Dan Fogler, with Johnny Depp in a cameo role to be expanded upon in the sequels. 

Rowling announced during the worldwide fan event that she mapped out scripts for five total films, the second of which was already announced for release on Nov. 16, 2018. Yates teased to EW that the story will head “in a whole new direction.”