A recent report claimed Warner Bros. is closing in on a deal to reboot Harry Potter with a seven-season HBO series, with each batch of episodes adapting one of J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World books.
This came after Ron Weasley actor Rupert Grint shared his certainty that a Harry Potter remake would come eventually and even voiced support for the franchise to take on a television format, saying how he feels it could "really work" - although the British actor has equally voiced his interest in returning for a ninth movie.
Warner Bros.' hopes to continue the Harry Potter franchise come in the midst of controversy surrounding original author J.K. Rowling after she made a series of anti-transgender comments over recent years.
J.K. Rowling Sticking With Harry Potter for HBO Reboot
Speaking on The Hot Mic podcast, insider Jeff Sneider addressed why Warner Bros. is planning to reboot Harry Potter as an HBO series and revealed controversial Wizarding World creator J.K. Rowling's involvement in the project.
Warner Bros. was reportedly planning to develop the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child stage play as a ninth movie with the original cast returning. But, unfortunately, it encountered issues with bringing on Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson due to the situation surrounding Rowling's recent transphobic comments.
This supposedly led the studio to try and buy Rowling out of the Wizarding World, however, realized they were "stuck with her" if they wanted to push ahead with these characters after she "requested an insane amount."
With Warner Bros. bound to Rowling and cast members refusing to come back with her, this apparently spurred the decision to reboot as that was what the franchise figurehead was "willing to agree to."
Although the studio is said to be "serious about making this show," Sneider stated it may also be "being used as leverage" to push Watson and Radcliffe to return for Harry Potter 9 under the threat of losing those roles as they would "move on and use somebody else."
The insider added there was "talk of pitches" for versions of Harry Potter set in America and the French capital Paris. However, Rowling reportedly "shot those pitches" down as "Harry Potter is a British property and should stay true to its roots."
Why J.K. Rowling Will Produce the Harry Potter Reboot
J.K. Rowling committed over a decade to writing the seven Harry Potter novels and has since dedicated many more years to the Fantastic Beasts movies and other expanded universe material. That said, despite them being based on her intellectual property, she had little involvement in the movies.
Even with that being the case, it's no surprise she would want to be so protective over the world she built and how it is handled. So, it's pretty expected that she wouldn't be interested in any retelling that abandons Harry Potter's essential Britishness and takes the world abroad to Paris or the United States.
These pitches were likely in an effort to create a Harry Potter reboot with distinct differences from the original. But with Rowling having reportedly shot those ideas down, fans are likely in for a familiar retelling, but this time in the television format with more time to dive into parts of the books that were absent from the movies.
Estimates say Rowling makes $50 to $100 million annually from the Harry Potter franchise across the movies, books, games, theme parks, and merchandise. Adding a television reboot into the mix serves to increase that figure greatly as she continues to receive her royalty cut of all things Wizarding World.
Rowling has to greenlight any projects in the Harry Potter world and has taken involvement in some, having served as a producer on the two Deathly Hallows and three Fantastic Beasts movies. Although just as her involvement in the original Harry Potter adaptations was minimal, the same will likely be true for the reboot.
According to Deadline, Rowling’s production company Brontë Film and TV recently posted a 74% decline in profits last year after performances of The Cursed Child play were closed due to COVID-19. The Harry Potter reboot serves as a stellar opportunity for Rowling to help course-correct those figures in the coming years.
HBO's Harry Potter series has yet to be officially confirmed or acknowledged by Warner Bros. at this time.