When a book is adapted into a movie, a lot of the world-building is left in the cutting room due to a limited runtime. In an epic fantasy series like Harry Potter, the time constraints and plot choices meant that a lot the elements that made the Wizarding World so appealing in its books were left out of the films. Could a different format make room for a new way to tell the story? A new project at Max is looking into turning the Harry Potter saga into a decade-long TV series, dedicating one season to each of the seven books.
“We are delighted to give audiences the opportunity to discover Hogwarts in a whole new way,” said Casey Bloys, chairman and CEO of HBO and Max Content. He described the endeavor, which will feature a completely new cast, as a faithful adaptation of the beloved Harry Potter book series. “This new Max Original series will dive deep into each of the iconic books that fans have continued to enjoy for all of these years.”
The announcement was met with mixed reactions. While some appreciated a chance to see the book lore expanded, the general response among the Harry Potter fandom was cold, to say the least. “We don't need [a] Harry Potter reboot,” said one Twitter user praising the original stars of the films. Others added, “Literally no one asked for this.” Another person critiqued Bloys' own words, saying, “‘Faithful'? Because the beloved, wildly successful and fan-adored movies weren't?” To many fans, the films still feel pretty recent, as the last movie of the franchise, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II, came out 12 years ago.
Others, while thankful for the opportunity to revisit the beloved books, mentioned they would have rather seen another aspect of the story turned into a show, instead of just a retelling of the Harry Potter tale. “As much as I would love to see a Harry Potter series, I feel there was so much more material to choose from rather than rebooting the original,” wrote one Twitter user. “We have the Tom Riddle years, Voldemort's journey, the Marauders' years at Hogwarts or even the story of the four founders.”
The bigger issue fans seem to have with this new adaptation is the involvement of the books' author, J.K. Rowling, who will join the series as an executive producer. Rowling has become a controversial figure over the last few years due to her openly transphobic views. This series would be another stream of revenue for the billionaire, giving her longevity as an influential voice in pop culture, which many fans (some of whom happen to be trans) don't feel right about. Of course, there are others who prefer to separate the artist from the art, in order to continue enjoying the work.
Ultimately, only time will tell if established Potterheads will tune in. The streaming service may be aiming to replicate the phenomenon around the original movies—allowing a new audience to grow alongside the characters with each new installment. It is yet to be seen if a new generation of fans will develop a bond the way millions of kids connected with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone when the book came out in 1997 and the film was released in 2001.