The Harry Potter universe is about to get a whole lot bigger, with a new live-action TV series reportedly in early development at HBO Max.
WarnerMedia executives have held multiple discussions with potential writers to hash out the specifics and work out possible directions to bring the series to the small screen.
No writers, directors or actors have been tied to the project yet, and Warner Bros and HBO Max are remaining tight-lipped.
In fact, the two studios have denied that any plans for a Harry Potter series are in development, despite multiple sources confirming its existence to The Hollywood Reporter.
“There are no Harry Potter series in development at the studio or on the streaming platform,” HBO Max and Warner Bros said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
— d w i g h t (@vxnphil) January 25, 2021
I solemnly swear that I am up to no good
As WarnerMedia looks to sink some money into the streaming side of things, it may well be following in the footsteps of Disney+’s hit Star Wars spin-off, The Mandalorian.
One leading fan theory is that the series might be focused on the First Wizarding War in the 1970s, which took place after the events of the Fantastic Beasts spin-off series, but before the events of Harry Potter.
This theory could chronicle Lord Voldemort’s rise to power.
The other leading idea is that it may follow the adventures of the Marauders, a group of troublemaking Gryffindor classmates who got up to mischief between 1971 and 1978.
Even if you’re not a diehard Pott-head, you will recognise the various members of the Marauders from the franchise, including Sirius Black, James Potter, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew.
This option would open up the TV series to explore other characters’ origin stories who were also Hogwarts students during this time, like Professor Severus Snape, Lily Potter, and Neville Longbottom’s parents.
Marvolo Gaunt and his crazy daughter
The young Potter/Weasley cousins
Anything at the French or Russian Wizarding schools (assuming they also have them elsewhere)
— Derp State🕴🤫 (@jerkass27) January 25, 2021
News that Warner Bros is planning to continue mining the multibillion-dollar Wizarding World empire should come as no surprise.
Since the release of the first book in 1998, the novels have earned more than $13 billion, while the feature films have brought in $US7.7 billion ($9.9 billion).
The Fantastic Beasts series, of which the first two films have been released out of a rumoured five-film deal, has already reportedly grossed nearly $US1.5 billion ($2 billion).
A play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and a theme park, Harry Potter World, also add to the lucrative empire.
Undesirable No. 1
Though Harry Potter remains one of the most popular and beloved franchises of all time, the series has been marred by controversy in recent years.
First there was the time JK Rowling was cancelled for a series of transphobic tweets in which she claimed the only people who could menstruate were women, disregarding the experiences of transgender men, non-binary and intersex individuals.
Then there was the time she wrote a 3600-word essay where she doubled down and made more offensive statements about transitioning, including the idea that it would have helped her escape domestic violence.
“The allure of escaping womanhood would have been huge,” she wrote.
Rowling said growing up in the 1980s meant she “didn’t have a realistic possibility of becoming a man”, so “it had to be books and music that got me through”.
wanting more Harry Potter content but not wanting jk Rowling to make any money off it pic.twitter.com/719wM9v8n6
— ayeo (@gimmekith) January 25, 2021
And who can forget Johnny Depp, who played dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the first two Fantastic Beasts films, and his sudden (paid) departure (sacking) from the franchise.
Depp’s contract was terminated following his unsuccessful libel case against British tabloid The Sun, which published an article in 2018 that labelled him a “wife-beater”.
The case was highly publicised as graphic descriptions of the violence between him and ex-wife Amber Heard filtered out of the courtroom and onto the headlines.