‘Harry Potter’ Spin-off Series in Development at HBO Max
HBO Max is preparing to expand upon the Harry Potter world with a new series exclusive to the service.
The Hollywood Reporter is confirming something we all knew was coming – Warner Bros. and HBO Max are in early talks with writers to develop a spin-off series based on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This comes as no surprise, especially after last week’s announcement that Warner Bros. had knighted Tom Ascheim as the new head of the Harry Potter franchise.
The creative process is still in the very early stages, with studio chiefs having meetings with different creatives who are pitching their ideas. However, this lines up with the overall policy at the studio of expanding every property with spin-off series for the streaming service. It also looks like WB is trying to model their two biggest franchises, DC and Harry Potter, after the MCU.
At this moment, there is no word on when this new series will take place, what characters it will involve, or what it will be about. For that reason, it is possible that they will be turning away from any connections with the Fantastic Beasts movies or even the original eight Harry Potter installments. I have a feeling this will not be the case, though. I would not be surprised if within the next year we find out that the new series will follow Harry, Ron, and Hermione years after Voldemort’s defeat. Or maybe it will follow their offsprings and their adventures in Hogwarts, starting where the last book/movie ended.
I have a feeling that, in an era of massive nostalgia for the past and a desire to bring back beloved actors to the roles that made them famous, we are going to hear that the original three, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint, will be returning to their roles. Clearly, Watson would be the hardest one to get, but with the right pitch for her character, I think it can be done.
Another possibility is to continue on with the Fantastic Beasts franchise, but I think they are not doing that. The franchise is surrounded by controversy at this point, and I don’t think they will greenlight a new series before seeing how the third movie performs in theaters (if there are theaters around when it comes out, of course).
And that brings me to my central point – this is a mistake. Warner Bros. should not be doing this right now, and unless they are able to bring the original three back together, they are pretty much digging this franchise’s grave. The Fantastic Beasts movies have been a tremendous disappointment for general audiences, and even though the first one managed to do very well, the cold shoulder from moviegoers finally caught up when the second entry came out.
And it doesn’t stop with the box office argument, because every few months someone related to the franchise makes the headlines with a new controversy. Ezra Miller was recorded on video last April choking a woman at a bar, and while that story was probably buried by WB, I have a feeling it will backfire on them before the third movie comes out. A couple of months later, J.K. Rowling made some very insensitive comments on social media about transgender people that caused a wave of hatred towards the acclaimed writer. Most of the main actors from the movies were forced to make a statement condemning Rowling’s comments, and even the studio had to comment on the matter. And earlier this year, Johnny Depp was forced to leave his role as Grindelwald after a judge decided that The Sun was not wrong in calling him “wife-beater.”
At the end of the day, I don’t think these stories have a huge effect on the box office results for the movies, but the quality of the movies does suffer. First of all, I must say that I am in the minority here. Back in 2016, I found out talking to many fans and interacting online that the response to the first Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them had been great, and that they considered the movie to be quite solid. And the numbers supported my impressions, with a firm 74% on Rotten Tomatoes and almost $900 million at the box office.
I thought that movie was a mess, and could not wait to get out of the theater. As a massive Harry Potter book fan, I found several details in the movie that strongly contradicted the story I grew up with, and I did not appreciate that. I must say, though, that it had been years since I read the books, so it’s possible some of those details were not as sharp in my mind. But beyond that, it felt to me like the movie did not know what it wanted to be. At times it deviated towards being just a spin-off movie about some cute magical animals, and other times it was setting up four more movies to come. And I don’t really care when some movies mix the two (the MCU does it all the time), but you have to do it right. And they did not achieve that, in my eyes.
Then, The Crimes of Grindelwald came out, and apparently, audiences did not like that movie at all and were even offended by some parts of it because it contradicted so many things from the original Harry Potter movies. I did not watch this movie until it came out on VOD, but my first reaction to those headlines was: really? They already had some massive problems in the first one, but you are saying that now? Ok. Then I watched the movie… and I thought it was fine. This time around, I thought I could see what they were doing – they were not accidentally contradicting canon, but rather creating a new one. And I honestly have no problem with that… if you tell a good story. And I kind of liked the story of the movie. It felt more cohesive than the first one, and the pacing was much better in my opinion. Funnily enough, people complained about the movie not being cohesive and feeling slow-paced. So maybe I’m the crazy one.
But the story doesn’t end there, because since Crimes of Grindelwald came out, I have been seeing more and more people complaining about the first movie too, plus the whole idea of the five-movie arc. Looking at the box office results, the audience response to the last movie, and the franchise as a whole, and with all of the baggage that these productions are carrying now with them, I thought it was time to put this franchise to bed.
To me, the best plan moving forward would be to cancel the rest of the movies, wait a few years, and announce to the world that the original trio is coming back to reprise their roles for a HBO Max series. I’m telling you right now, that right there breaks the Internet at a Disney-buying-Lucasfilm level.
That being said, my ideal series would not be having those three back. I’m more attached to the Harry Potter written on the page than the one played by Daniel Radcliffe, so while I would watch such series, I would not be the one jumping up and down about it. The series I would love to watch is one that follows a group of students in Hogwarts through an entire year. I want to see more in detail in live-action what it is like to live in Hogwarts, go to class every morning, go to the lake after lunch, and go to Astronomy class after dinner.
Speaking of Hogwarts, here is another pitch I would love to see, and that I actually think is the runner-up for the series they will green-light – the story of Salazar Slytherin, Godric Gryffindor, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Helga Hufflepuff. How they built Hogwarts, their disagreements, how Slytherin built the Chamber of Secrets, etc. That’s a mythological story within the Harry Potter lore I have always wanted to read/see.
Miguel Fernández is a Spanish student that has movies as his second passion in life. His favorite movie of all time is The Lord of the Rings, but he is also a huge Star Wars fan. However, fantasy movies are not his only cup of tea, as authors like Scorsese, Fincher, Kubrick or Hitchcock have been an obsession for him since he started to understand the language of filmmaking. He is that guy who will watch a black and white movie, just because it is in black and white.