The demand to expand or revive popular series will continue to grow for as long as their legacy lives, and the same can be said for Warner Bros Discovery. During an investor call on 4 November (SGT), company CEO David Zaslav expressed an interest to further develop the many franchise under its arm, including Harry Potter.
“We’re going to focus on franchises,” said Zaslav. “We haven’t had a Superman movie in 13 years. We haven’t done a Harry Potter in 15 years. The DC movies and the Harry Potter movies provided a lot of the profits for Warner Bros. … over the past 25 years. I’d like to see if we can do something with J.K. on Harry Potter going forward.”
The wish to revisit Hogwarts again hardly comes as a surprise, and is only natural in light of Harry Potter‘s success. The movies have earned their place as a critically-acclaimed global phenomenon over the years, with all eight films raking in a box office total of US$7.7 billion. In fact, the franchise was so well-known that the official poster for Deathly Hallows Part 2 had removed the branding and movie title; yet most were still able to identify it.
The magic started to wear off with the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them spin-off series, which saw Rowling writing the stories herself. While the first movie was fairly positive, the subsequent entries were met with poor reception, with the latest installment The Secrets of Dumbledore getting only middling response.
But there’s a bigger issue at hand. Warner Bros’ willingness to have Rowling back onboard doesn’t exactly reflect well on them — the Harry Potter author is known to be publicly and frequently transphobic, a trait she has continued to double down on social media. That’s on top of her problematic views on a couple of other issues, which have drawn ire and criticism from the community each time.
Even Daniel Radcliffe, the franchise’s main star, has spoken out against her behaviour. Reiterating his disappointment for the creator of his most iconic character, he said in a recent interview with IndieWire:
“The reason I was felt very, very much as though I needed to say something when I did was because, particularly since finishing ‘Potter,’ I’ve met so many queer and trans kids and young people who had a huge amount of identification with Potter on that. And so seeing them hurt on that day I was like, I wanted them to know that not everybody in the franchise felt that way. And that was really important…”
Herein lies the question then: if even Harry Potter himself doesn’t want to work with Rowling, will there still be interest in the boy wizard and the universe he brought to life?