News of an upcoming Harry Potter reboot was recently confirmed by Warner Bros. Discovery, hailing a new era of magical adventures for fans of the beloved franchise. The Max Original series promises to “dive deep” into each of J. K. Rowling’s seven books, with HBO and HBO Max CEO Casey Bloys promising to create “a faithful adaptation.”
The Warner Bros. Discovery press release remarked, “Harry Potter is a cultural phenomenon and it is clear there is such an enduring love and thirst for the Wizarding World.” Bloys revealed that they intend to dedicate “10 consecutive years” to the hotly anticipated production, which promises to partner with author J.K. Rowling to preserve “the integrity of my books,” as she stated.
But don’t get too excited yet. The first season of the reboot is expected to release in 2025 or 2026 and has yet to be filmed. That said, there are rumors floating around about who has been cast so far. When it comes to returning actors, you can expect to see Tom Felton return to the franchise as Lucius Malfoy, the cruel and sinister father of his former character.
Up-and-coming child actor Toby Woolf is rumored to have been cast as the title character Harry Potter, and he already boasts of an impressive TV acting record. You may have seen him in minor roles on shows like Pistol, Rare Beasts, and Summer of Rockets, having begun his career back in 2017 on the BBC series The Last Post.
Likewise, fans speculate that Marriage Story star Adam Driver has been cast as Professor Severus Snape, previously played by Alan Rickman. With his history of portraying broody antagonistic characters, it’s easy to imagine him taking on the role of a cold and secretive potions master. But with all that being said, news of the TV reboot has been met with a mixed response from the public.
Fans have taken to Twitter to express their disappointment and apprehension. Comments like “Ewww that harry potter reboot is happening” and “With all due respect, pls don’t do this” have set the tone online amongst Potter devotees, with one Twitter user writing, “The HARRY POTTER franchise was a unique phenomenon, where a vast majority of fans were the same age as the characters in the novels and films, growing up with both simultaneously. The series captured the zeitgeist in a very specific way, in which no reboot can hope to recapture.”
Bringing J. K. Rowling on to the project has also been met with controversy and criticism due to her past comments on transgender issues. When asked about her involvement, Bloys retorted, “No, I don’t think this is the forum [to discuss this]. That’s a very online conversation, very nuanced and complicated and not something we’re going to get into.”
“[J. K. Rowling] will be involved. She’s an executive producer on the show. Her insights are going to be helpful on that.” Bloys continued. However, the CEO made sure to put some distance between the project and Rowling, adding, “The TV show is new and we’re excited about that. But, remember, we’ve been in the Potter business for 20 years. This is not a new decision for us, we’re very comfortable being in the Potter business.”
Some have called for her to be removed from the project, while others argue that she has a right to be involved and that her personal beliefs should not affect her work. Overall, the decision to include J.K. Rowling in the Harry Potter TV reboot has been a contentious issue among fans and critics alike. Only time will tell how Rowling’s involvement will be addressed moving forward, as well as how the network will handle the concerns of fans and navigate the controversy surrounding the reboot.