Yesterday we saw the surprise announcement that Warner Bros and HBO Max are developing a new live-action Harry Potter TV show. The story was broken by The Hollywood Reporter, who claimed that the studio is having “exploratory meetings” in order to figure out the format of the show. The studios quickly released a statement saying “there are no Harry Potter series in development at the studio or on the streaming platform.” But the report is adamant that this is happening, claiming that Warner Bros see expanding the Wizarding World as a “top priority”.
That makes sense, especially as the Fantastic Beasts spinoff series is in a tight spot after the Depp controversy and the unexpected box office failure of the second instalment. But there’s an elephant in the room: creator JK Rowling’s reputation. Over 2020 the formerly beloved author alienated large portions of the Harry Potter fanbase with a series of transphobic statements, also causing many of the actors in the movies to criticize her.
Since that her name has been mud online and die-hard Potter fans greeted yesterday’s rumors with disdain. Here’s a selection of comments:
man, a few years ago I would’ve lost my SHIT over an HBO Harry Potter show. I’ve been saying for a decade that it would be perfect for a long-form, high-budget series.
but since that show will put money into the pockets of an unapologetically transphobic piece of garbage… nty
— Ginny Di&D (@itsginnydi) January 25, 2021
Listen, HBO, I grew up with Harry Potter as much as the next guy but I really don’t need a new series, especially not one that’s going to give royalties to JK Rowling, thanks
— PatchworkMelody (@PatchworkMelody) January 25, 2021
I love Harry Potter but if problematic JK Rowling is attached to the new series on HBO Max, y’all can keep it pic.twitter.com/49LGJ0mhF6
— Joshua Chenault (@joshuachenault1) January 25, 2021
As a kid, I always thought a Harry Potter series would be great and do the books justice, as it would have the potential to bring all the small details to life…
…now the thought of renowned transphobe JK Rowling growing in power and wealth revolts me. @HBO stop it. pic.twitter.com/Mqlr9sgabj
— || (@lha196) January 25, 2021
I could get on board with a Harry Potter HBO Max show if it starred trans actors/characters and none of the money went to JK Rowling.
And also if it shows us the giant squid in the lake.
— Dan Curtis Thompson (@dctcomedy) January 25, 2021
Who’s going to tell JK Rowling and HBO Max we don’t want a live-action Harry Potter TV show, no one wants to support a fucking TERF, Jesus Christ
— hypnos || fic comms open ♥︎ (@ariaforhypnos) January 25, 2021
Desperately annoyed about the news that HBO Max may be bringing a new Harry Potter TV series into the world. So done with JK Rowling and her horrific transphobia.
— holilollie (@holilollie) January 26, 2021
Hbo thinking they’d be praised for the new HP series and not remembering that the people don’t like JK Rowling pic.twitter.com/AtuLQkP5tp
— Angeline Draws (@ohcoolnice) January 25, 2021
There are rumors of a Harry Potter tv show coming to HBO Max and while that sounds cool if JK Rowling gets any money from it I definitely won’t be watching 🙃🥲
— Alyssa Hope 💖 (@fearlys97) January 25, 2021
I’ve literally been asking for a HBO HP show and an open world game for a DECADE, and now both are in development AFTER JK Rowling reveals herself as a nasty ass transphobe. This truly is a cursed timeline.
— Sarah Katharine (@ssarahkatharine) January 25, 2021
In this house, what we’re not going to do is stream something on HBO MAX that has ties to JK Rowling.
— DMJWade (@jesthedm) January 25, 2021
Absolutely would drop my HBO max subscription over this. I do my absolute best not to support anyone or anything that supports hate, and not only does jk Rowling support it, she goes out of her way to criminalize and stereotype the trans community.
— 🇺🇸 Geek Freak 🇨🇦 (@GeekFreakBoutiq) January 25, 2021
It’s clear that Rowling has done serious damage to her image with her half-baked ramblings. I imagine Warner Bros isn’t particularly happy that she’s singlehanded strangled the golden goose of the Wizarding World franchise and turned so many fans against it. As I see it there are two ways forward on this. One is for Warner Bros to distance themselves from Rowling and say she will have no involvement in the project (as the developers of the upcoming Hogwarts Legacy video game have done), though that may be contractually impossible.
The other is to acknowledge that over twenty years they’ve had a good run, made billions of dollars, and that it’s time to put the Wizarding World on ice. I’ve got to agree with the fans on this one – I’d have a tough time enjoying any new Harry Potter project after the crap Rowling spouted.