Big news on the World of Wizarding front. Sources for both The Hollywood Reporter and Variety say that a live action Harry Potter series is headed for HBO Max. While the streaming service and Warner Bros. denied to Variety that a series is in development, and no writers or actors are currently attached, the two publications report that sources have confirmed that the series is in the “very early stages.” Obviously, a live-action series based on Harry Potter would be a huge win for HBO Max as it looks to gain ground after a competitive first year. Considering the wizard world is one of Warner Bros.’ most lucrative franchises, the show could be HBO’s next Game of Thrones but with the added benefit of reaching a much younger audience.
However, this latest news isn’t without controversy. Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling has been facing intense backlash for her anti-trans views, and the Fantastic Beast series recently had a problem of its own. As Variety explains:
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. Then Johnny Depp, who played the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the “Fantastic Beasts” films, exited the franchise after he lost a libel case against the British tabloid The Sun, which published an article in 2018 alleging he was a “wife beater” due to allegations of domestic violence made by his now ex-wife, Amber Heard.
Considering Warner Bros. and HBO Max are denying that the Potter series is in development, there’s no word on Rowling’s involvement with the project. But as THR notes, it’s pretty much a given that she will be given the “complicated rights issue” surrounding the IP. “Rowling controls the franchise and has a say in everything involving the property.”