So it's been announced that J.K. Rowling's new wizarding extravaganza Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the first in a five-part series that will connect to the blockbusting Harry Potter universe. And it's not the only movie franchise that's rapidly expanding...
The Marvel Cinematic Universe
OK, so you know this one, right? Since its inception with Iron Man in 2008 through to this year's world-conquering blockbuster Captain America: Civil War, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has revolutionised the way movies are planned and released. Across three distinct phases we've been introduced to the aforementioned Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and a twice-rebooted Hulk, the franchise performing the seemingly impossible task of taking second-tier comic book characters and making them as cool as their more celebrated brethren.
Next up in Phase III of the MCU: Doctor Strange starring Benedict Cumberbatch (it's out next week, people!), the Black Panther movie starring Chadwick Boseman, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War. Yep, this universe is only going to get bigger and bigger.
The DC Extended Universe
Attempting to ape Marvel's strategy but with slightly more scattershot results, the DCEU began with 2013 Superman blockbuster Man of Steel, directed by Zack Snyder and starring Henry Cavill. The movie's murky, anguished approach drew mixed reviews, although not as mixed as those that greeted this year's smash-a-thon Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, one that introduced Ben Affleck as a far more savage Batman.
Affleck is set to carry us through the DCEU in the Justice League movie, where Batman must recruit classic characters including Aquaman and The Flash to battle evil. But even before that Gal Gadot's warrior princess Wonder Woman will be getting her own standalone movie in March 2017. Other standalone films coming down the pipe include the aforementioned Aquaman and The Flash – but will they start to absorb more of the humour and panache of their Marvel rivals? It remains to be seen.
The Star Wars universe
If the much-derided Star Wars prequels left the future of the space saga in doubt, it currently couldn't be in ruder health. Following J.J. Abrams' warmly received and triumphantly nostalgic The Force Awakens, a blockbuster that hewed closely to the structure of A New Hope whilst adding fresh new twists, we're due to get Episode VIII and IX over the next couple of years.
But before that, the anthology series of spin-offs are set to begin this December with the eagerly anticipated Rogue One. Not connected to the timeline of The Force Awakens and its sequels, this movie explores the events leading up to the start of A New Hope and promises to bring a grittier, war movie aesthetic to the enduringly popular series.
Then of course everyone's favourite space cowboy Han Solo is getting his own movie. Directed by The LEGO Movie visionaries Phil Lord and Chris Miller, it sees rising Hail Caesar! star Alden Ehrenreich taking on on the plum role – but will he imitate the one and only Harrison Ford effectively?
The LEGO Cinematic Universe
We were all knocked out by 2014's runaway hit The LEGO Movie, a deliriously clever and warm-hearted family adventure that both embraced and poked fun at its plastic inspiration. The blend of cheeky humour and gorgeous animation gave rise to some wonderful characters, chief among which was Will Arnett's hilariously broody Batman who gets his own LEGO Batman Movie in March next year.
That particular film is to be directed by the first movie's animator Chris McKay. But it's not all about the Bat. The LEGO Movie 2 is laying the brick foundations for a sequel, to be produced and written by the original movie's Phil Lord and Chris Miller. And then in the not-too-distant future, the mighty Ninjago franchise will be bringing yet more variation to the LECU.