What’s new in Harry Potter? Film, series and a play are planned around the Hogwarts universe. TV DIGITAL reveals the current plans.
An article by TV Digital Reporter Melanie Koch
Happy Birthday, Harry Potter! In 2001, the first film about the sorcerer’s apprentice conquered the screen – it was the beginning of a worldwide success story. 20 years later, the eight-adventure series, based on the fantasy books by J.K. Rowling, is one of the most commercially successful of all time. Part one recently even broke a special record: In the summer of 2020, distributors brought “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” in a 4k version to Chinese cinemas, thus ensuring that the film increased its total sales to over a billion dollars. In total, the eight films, the last part of which was released in 2011, made over 7.7 billion US dollars.
And with the Potter universe, there is also a lot of cash outside the cinema: with theme parks, additional books and a play. For good reason: “The stories have accompanied many people through childhood, they have grown up with Harry,” says Maik Klokow, producer of the play “Harry Potter and the Enchanted Child” in an interview with TV DIGITAL reporter Melanie Koch. “The adventures connect generations.” And the stories surrounding Hogwarts School of Magic are far from over.
Harry Potter series for HBO is planned
At the beginning of 2021, rumors arose again that the film studio Warner Bros. as rights holder would prepare a Harry Potter series for the streaming service HBO Max. Those responsible did not denied the rumors. Jason Kilar, head of WarnerMedia, said at a conference of the investment company Morgan Stanley: “There’s this little thing called Harry Potter, which is one of the most popular franchises. And we are incredibly grateful to be able to work with J.K. Rowling. I would say there’s a lot of fun and potential.” Actually magical views. There are some ideas.
One of them focuses on the life story of the popular headmaster Albus Dumbledore. Although the films already hint at this, they still leave room for speculation. What once happened to his deceased parents? How did the friendship with the later feared magician Gellert Grindelwald develop? How did Dumbledore become the most powerful wizard of all time? Just a few questions that a series could shed light on.
But also the prehistory of Harry Potter’s father and his childhood friends would be a topic for a spinoff. James Potter, Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew and Sirius Black were inseparable in their school days, even designing the famous “Map of the Rum driver”. When Lupin turned into a werewolf, the other three wanted to help him and took the form of animals themselves.Friendship, courage, adventure: A series about the four teenagers would be a production in the style of the HP films.
“Fantastic Beasts”: Part 3 is coming in 2022
But even beyond a possible series, the magical world will be further expanded. In the summer of 2022, the third part of the film series “Fantastic Beasts” will be released, inspired by the reference book of the same name, which Rowling once wrote for the fans. The films focus on the magizoologist Newt Scamander, the first adventure takes place in New York in 1926. In total, Rowling is working on five scripts for the series. Since the second part in 2018 met with only subdued enthusiasm among the audience, the makers are planning the next cinematic adventure more visually stunning and dramatic, even about magic Nazis is rumored. And after New York and Paris, rio de Janeiro is the film’s main location this time.
While these films begin decades before Harry’s birth, the two-part stage version “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” begins 19 years after the novel series. The former sorcerer’s apprentice is now 37, married to Ginny Weasley and brings his son Albus to track 9 3/4 towards Hogwarts. In 2016, the production celebrated its premiere in London, and from December the German version is to be shown in Hamburg’s Mehr-Theater: “With 300,000 tickets sold before the premiere, we have broken a record in this country,” reports producer Maik Klokow. “80 percent of publikums don’t come from the city – it shows that the enthusiasm for Harry Potter is unbroken.”
What are the performers doing today?
With wise foresight, Warner secured the film rights to the play in 2019. Fans are hoping that former child stars Daniel Radcliffe, 32, Rupert Grint, 32, and Emma Watson, 31, will return to their prime roles in this way. Klokow, however, does not believe in a film adaptation of the play: “The story is written for the theater, only here can the magic fully unfold.” Whether it comes to such a film adaptation, ultimately decides author J.K. Rowling. The now 56-year-old also determines the development of the play with her rights company “The Blair Partnership”.
“When it was clear that Harry Potter was coming to Hamburg, Rowling’s international creative team flew in,” says Klokow. “Together with the directors, you have made the German translation suitable for the stage.” While Rowling attached great importance to the fact that only Brits were employed in the films, it was now important to her to keep the cast diverse. “Hermione is dark-skinned all over the world.”
A sorcerer’s apprentice against the most evil magician in the world: In “Harry Potter”, good always wins. But the perfect Hogwarts world has also cracked over the years. In 2020, J.K. Rowling posted a series of tweets in which she advocated not questioning the biological sex of men and women. A reaction followed promptly: critics accused the Harry Potter creator of being transphobic – and with Radcliffe, Watson and Grint, the main actors of the films also positioned themselves against the author.
It was not the only time that there has been turmoil in the Potter world in recent years. So Johnny Depp had to give up his role as Grindelwald in the “Fantastic Beasts” to Mads Mikkelsen. Because of the War of the Roses with his ex-wife Amber Heard, Depp was permanently in the headlines – and this negative coverage was a thorn in the side of the guardians of the Potter brand. Because damage to the sorcerer’s apprentice, who became a golden boy, cannot be in their interest. They prefer to conjure up all problems very quickly