Ever since Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Philosopher’s Stone came out on bookshelves in 1997, the Harry Potter franchise has been a behemoth. For decades, people couldn’t get enough of the story of the young boy who discovered he was a wizard and was whisked away to a magical boarding school. Warner Bros. adapted the seven original books into eight blockbuster movies, there are Harry Potter theme parks, a successful Harry Potter stage play, and now a hit video game: Hogwarts Legacy.
That said, recently there have been cracks in the foundation. To start, the new spinoff film series Fantastic Beasts has underperformed at the box office, with each new movie making less money than the last. Originally Warner Bros. planned to make five Fantastic Beasts movies, but now it looks like they may cut their losses and stop at three.
And then there’s Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, who’s made headlines in recent years less for her creative output and more for her tireless efforts to demonize and oppress transgender people. Whenever a new Harry Potter project is announced, people have to relitigate “the Rowling question.” But the projects keep coming, because the brand itself remains extremely popular.
J.K. Rowling would maintain “a degree of creative involvement” with new Harry Potter TV show
That brings us to Bloomberg, which reports that Warner Bros. Discovery is close to striking a deal to create a new TV adaptation of the original Harry Potter books on HBO Max. Each book would be adapted as one season of TV, so this could provide the streamer with years of content.
WBD has been trying to nail this down for a while now; the only surprise is that it took so long. A Harry Potter TV series would be a huge draw for whoever hosts it, potentially making stars of whatever new actors play characters like Harry, Ron and Hermione.
As for “the Rowling question,” Variety reports that she would “maintain a degree of creative involvement with the series” but “would not serve as primary creator or showrunner.” That’s pretty much the dance any studio has to do now when a Harry Potter thing comes up; Rowling created the series so it’s silly not to mention her, but she’s so radioactive that they want to maintain some distance.
This new TV show is still in early development. There’s no guarantee it will even come to pass, but given the potential returns, I’m sure WBD is doing everything in its power to make it happen.