HBO Max is working a little magic to bring back the Boy Who Lived. A Harry Potter TV series is reportedly in early development at HBO Max, with WarnerMedia talking to potential writers to hash out the subject of an HBO Max series set in the Wizarding World.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that HBO Max is in the process of developing a live-action Harry Potter TV series for the streamer, with “multiple conversations with potential writers exploring various ideas.”
It’s not yet confirmed whether the series would be a straightforward adaptation of the seven books, or if it would be a spin-off exploring yet another corner of the Wizarding World. No writers or talent are yet attached to the project either, as conversations are still “in the extremely early stages,” with HBO Max and Warner Bros. claiming “There are no Harry Potter series in development at the studio or on the streaming platform” in a statement to THR.
Considering Warner Bros.’ strategy to expand its DC Comics franchises through HBO Max spin-offs, it’s no surprise that a Harry Potter project was next on the list. WarnerMedia has been working hard to build buzz for its streamer’s original content, with revivals of mega-hits like Friends, Sex and the City, spin-offs of Game of Thrones, and more. And Harry Potter remains one of the Warner’s most valuable pieces of IP. HBO Max launched with a flashy banner advertising all eight Harry Potter films (before subsequently losing the streaming rights to NBCUniversal’s Peacock), and there’s chatter that plans for a Harry Potter HBO Max project have been a priority for some time.
But while this all makes sense strategy-wise and franchise-wise, HBO Max should tread carefully when it comes to Harry Potter. Fatigue has set in for the franchise, with the ongoing spin-off films Fantastic Beasts tanking critically and commercially, and author J.K. Rowling’s insisting on torpedoing the franchise’s legacy and any lingering goodwill by doubling down on her reprehensible anti-transgender beliefs. Rowling maintains a tight control of the franchise, and has a say in everything involved in the property. Her involvement in a Harry Potter TV series would no doubt sour the any excitement for the project for many fans.
And there’s the question of what this series would cover: would it be a spin-off? A prequel? A more involved adaptation of the original books? Fans had been insisting for years that a TV series-length adaptation of the seven books would do better justice to the story than the films, but it might be better for HBO Max to distance itself as much as possible from Rowling’s works and create an entirely new story in the Wizarding World. Which means, yes, tumblr fans, you’d have to finally let go of that Ben Barnes-young Sirius Black fancast.
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