Credit: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images Photo: David Yates Attends the New York City Premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 on July 11, 2011

David Yates is bringing his magical touch back to the Harry Potter franchise.

Sources tell Variety that the British director — who helmed the final four Harry Potter movies — is negotiating with Warner Bros. to direct Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the first movie in a planned Harry Potter spin-off trilogy.

We heard the wondrous news in October — that Warner Bros. would be adapting J.K. Rowling's Fantastic Beasts textbook for the screen, with the Harry Potter author herself penning the script.

The story takes place in New York about 70 years before the events of Harry Potter — and follows 20-something "magizoologist" Newt Scamander in his profession. (That role has yet to be cast.)

"Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for seventeen years, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world," J.K. says, per Variety.

In addition to his Harry Potter entries — Order of the PhoenixHalf-Blood Prince, and the two-part Deathly Hallows — David has directed a slew of dramas for British television and the pilot for FX's Tyrant. He's currently filming the live-action film Tarzan.

Fantastic Beasts is set for a November 18, 2016, release date.

Source: Variety

Dan Clarendon is an assistant editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow him on Twitter and Google+!