December 8, 2023

There were leaks that this was happening a week ago but today the announcement is official.

This is going to be a full retelling of all 7 books with an all new cast. They’re expecting this to take a decade.

Each season of the show will be based on one of the books in the franchise, with Warner Bros. Discovery describing the show as a “decade-long series.” It will feature an entirely new cast from the films.

“We are delighted to give audiences the opportunity to discover Hogwarts in a whole new way,” said Casey Bloys, chairman and CEO of HBO & Max Content. “Harry Potter is a cultural phenomenon and it is clear there is such an enduring love and thirst for the Wizarding World. In partnership with Warner Bros. Television and J.K. Rowling, 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.”

Supposedly, HBO has been looking at this since 2021. Variety’s article back then noted that the content came with some controversy.

…the “Harry Potter” world has not been without controversy. Franchise creator J.K. Rowling received tremendous backlash due to a series of anti-trans tweets and a lengthy essay on the subject in June 2020.

If you’re a regular reader then you already know JK Rowling hasn’t gotten any less controversial since then. In fact, when a new Harry Potter video game (Hogwarts Legacy) was launched earlier this year it was met with denunciations and silence from many gaming websites. One trans writer for Gamespot drew a firm line in the sand when speaking to the Washington Post:

“Everyone’s going to have a complicated relationship to that conversation,” said Jessie Earl, a 30-year-old trans YouTuber and journalist who uses she/they pronouns.

Last month, Earl declared her own stance. “I will not begrudge anyone their love of past works or thing[s] they already own that they take comfort in,” she tweeted. “I own the first 9 movies and all 7 books myself. But any support of something like Hogwarts Legacy is harmful.”

As I noted at the time, even commenters at the Post (a reliably left-wing audience) didn’t seem to find that convincing. JK Rowling herself mocked the line between old works and new ones.

The idea that people should refuse to buy the game was reinforced at Vox despite the fact that JK Rowling wasn’t directly involved in it. Some of Rowling’s critics really did their best to downplay the game even though actual reviewers agreed it was great.

In lieu of a review, Gamespot published a trans flag along with a list of trans charities people could donate to. But sadly the trans boycott was not successful. On the contrary, Hogwarts Legacy was undoubtedly a huge hit.

Selling over 12 million copies globally within the first two weeks of release, the game ranks among the fastest-selling titles in recent memory.

In statistics revealed by Warner Bros. Games, the company reported over $850 million in global sales in the first 14 days after launch.

So when the chairman of HBO Max says “Harry Potter is a cultural phenomenon and it is clear there is such an enduring love and thirst for the Wizarding World” I think he’s probably talking about Hogwarts Legacy. The very online left did their best to make the game problematic and to convince people not to buy it and the result was a massive hit that earned nearly a billion in revenue in the first two weeks.

Now with this new announcement those same activists are going to have a renewed interest in convincing people not to watch the new show. Because unlike the game, Rowling is directly involved with the new show.

Rowling will executive produce along with Neil Blair and Ruth Kenley-Letts. David Heyman is currently in talks to executive produce.

“Max’s commitment to preserving the integrity of my books is important to me, and I’m looking forward to being part of this new adaptation which will allow for a degree of depth and detail only afforded by a long form television series,” said Rowling.

Of course there’s no guarantee a new show will be a hit. That depends partly on scripts and casting and a lot of other things that haven’t happened yet. Still, this is probably the closest thing there is to a sure bet both because the property itself is already a huge hit and because Rowling will be in a position to make sure it doesn’t stray too far from her original vision. This is going to be another big win for Rowling and another big loss for her critics.

Speaking of her critics, they are already spouting bitterly about the announcement.

This is not even scratching the surface of all the hard coping that is happening already. I really look forward to all of the 3,000 word pieces begging people not to watch this followed by millions of people watching it anyway.