Warner Bros. is nearing a deal to produce a live-action streaming series for HBO Max based on the Harry Potter book series, according to Bloomberg.
The outlet says the plan is to have seven seasons, each focused on one of the novels. While the Harry Potter films were overall critical and commercial successes, they naturally had to cut a fair amount of material to fit into roughly two-hour runtimes. Therefore, Warner Bros. is intending to use the TV format for a more in-depth exploration of the storylines of the books on HBO Max. (In Canada, most HBO Max originals stream on Crave, so presumably, this series would as well.)
Currently, Warner Bros. is said to still be in negotiations with Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling. While she’s not expected to be a showrunner, Rowling would still be attached as a producer to ensure the adaptation is faithful to her novels. Part of Rowling’s larger deal with the entertainment giant requires her to sign off on any Wizarding World-related projects.
The last mainline Harry Potter film was 2011’s Deathly Hallows — Part 2, although three spin-off prequel films in the Fantastic Beasts series — all of which have been written or co-written by Rowling — have been released in the years since. That said, reception to the Fantastic Beasts series has been middling, with last year’s Secrets of Dumbledore even garnering negative reviews while becoming the lowest-grossing movie in the entire ‘Wizarding World’ franchise. Therefore, it makes sense that Warner Bros. would return to the main Harry Potter series, especially in a nostalgia-fueled industry.
However, news of a potential Potter reboot has been met with a mixed response, with some pointing out that we’re barely 10 years removed from the Daniel Radcliffe-led movies. Beyond that, though, the Wizarding World is now viewed as tainted by many amid ongoing controversies surrounding Rowling herself.
Since 2019, the author has been making repeated comments about transgender people that have been condemned for helping to spread hatred and abuse toward an already marginalized community. Members of the LGBTQ+ community have criticized Rowling for her anti-trans rhetoric, as have Harry Potter cast members like Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, who distanced themselves from the author while expressing support for trans people. Most recently, Rowling led many to call for a boycott of Warner Bros. best-selling Hogwarts Legacy, a video game based on the Wizarding World, due to the fact that she would ultimately profit from its success.
Should the HBO Max series go through, it remains to be seen who else will be involved and, more importantly, how Rowling herself might affect the project.
Image credit: Warner Bros.