A new Harry Potter series is coming. But it’s not one anyone asked for—not even diehard fans. So why is HBO running a Harry Potter reboot? More importantly, has all the magic finally gone out of J.K Rowling’s infamous franchise?
The Rise of “Max”
To understand the rebirth of the original Harry Potter series, we first need to understand its host. A few weeks ago, HBO Max announced that they would be merging with Discovery Plus to create a new service, simply called “Max.” This change will be occurring on May 23rd, 2023.
Max will be hosting several popular series, such as Batman, Barbie, and Bugs Bunny. However, the announcement that caught everyone’s eye wasn’t an old series, but a new one: an upcoming decade-long reboot of the original Harry Potter movies. This time, in TV format!
Yes, you read that correctly—a decade long. Series creator J.K Rowling plans to spend the 2030s retelling her original story, for which we have an pre-existing 8-movie adaptation. Most people would agree, however, that there’s nothing wrong with the Harry Potter movies. The 2001-2011 series is arguably a cult classic, sparking beloved theme parks, merchandise, and a Fantastic Beasts spinoff.
So who asked for a remake?
A One-Woman Decision
The short answer: no one. Even among diehard Harry Potter fans, the new series is already deeply unpopular. Others have critiqued J.K Rowling’s transphobic views, her “lazy writing,” and her fight for relevance as she becomes increasingly disliked.
Those who have chosen to still support the franchise are disappointed in Rowling’s decision to remake her pre-existing series, rather than branch off and tell new stories. It’s no secret that the Harry Potter fandom has a dedicated sector for “Marauders” fans, who hold a deep love for the adult generation of the franchise, centered around Potter’s parents and their friends. A prequel series—or even a sequel, centered around Potter’s children—would have been more welcome than a flat-out remake.
“Not only is this a huge risk, but it looks kind of desperate,” Tiktok user @jstoobs says. “Fans have wanted a Marauders story, like, since forever. And [Rowling] has made it very clear that she has no interest in writing that story. The thing is, HBO would have a gold mine on their hands if they were able to make it… Even fans who hate J.K Rowling would be tempted by that.”
Stoobs, a well-known film commentator, brings up another good point in her video. She mentions Rowling’s militant relationship with her fans, which has driven her further into unpopularity among former Harry Potter enjoyers. “J.K Rowling has kept such an iron vice on everything to do with [Harry Potter],” Stoobs notes. “It’s gonna be the death of the franchise.”
Despite its unpopularity, the series is going ahead anyway. So what do we know about it so far?
First of all, Rowling wants the show to be a “book faithful” adaptation. This translates to one season for each book, and a much larger set, in order to showcase all locations in the series. It is also said that Rowling will have the final say in casting, and will profit heavily from the series.
It’s this last detail, along with Rowling’s extreme involvement in the project, that is likely to be its downfall. Many are planning to boycott the series, just as the “Hogwarts Legacy” game was boycotted, along with several more of Rowling’s works. Boycotters have also warned fans to be kind to the child actors who are eventually cast in the series. “Child actors are not as protected as they used to be,” says @lauraannreviews. “If you’re not protecting them, you’re breaking the screen code of conduct.
“I am a Harry Potter fan—I have been since I was a child,” Laura continues. “I haven’t touched it in almost a decade. We’ve already discussed that we don’t need this show. Has anyone discussed the children cast? Has anybody discussed the hate that they’re going to get?”
A Not-So-Magical Future
In the end, it’s hard to know where Rowling’s series will end up in terms of popularity. Despite the boycott, plenty of people will still tune in—out of morbid curiosity, if nothing else. Only time will tell if the series is a complete bust, or if something magical is made out of its ashes.
Overall, though, we are seeing a larger trend: the Harry Potter era is slowly, but surely, coming to an end. While the franchise probably won’t die out tomorrow, or even in the next year or two, it won’t last forever—and we have J.K Rowling to thank for that.
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