The new Harry Potter series in the works at Warner Bros. Discovery faces significant challenges as the studio revamps the franchise for a smaller screen.
Warner Bros. Discovery has greenlit the series and marked it as a high-priority project. The studio aims to create a more faithful adaptation of the books and dive deeper into the plots than the film’s more abridged versions.
The Harry Potter franchise is one of the most valuable in the world, although the latest films in the series, the Fantastic Beasts prequels, have met with mixed success. The company is keen to reinvigorate interest in the wizarding world with this reboot, although there are risks in doing so. News of the series was met with hesitancy from fans who weren’t receptive to the idea of a new cast taking over the roles. Some wonder if it’s too soon to reboot the franchise, which released its last film in 2011.
Channing Dungey, chairwoman and CEO of Warner Bros. Television Studio, said the series faces a number of different hurdles.
“We’re in conversation with a number of different writers to figure out who’s going to be the person to lead that franchise for us,” Dungey said in an interview with Variety. “The first step for us is figuring out who this showrunner is going to be, and once we get that locked down, then we can start having those [casting] conversations. The tricky part is the first two books, where the kids are on the younger end, around 11 or 12.”
The series will sport a new cast of young wizards, though Dungey said rumors swirling online about casting are inaccurate. The studio has yet to begin casting, which will undoubtedly be a feat. Not only is the franchise beloved worldwide and has grown into a massive fandom complete with its own theme parks, but finding child actors who can commit to the lengthy roles is another challenge. While Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint showed that young talents can carry a franchise decades beyond its release, filming for a TV series that will last seven seasons is quite the time commitment for any actor.
However, dividing the books into a multi-seasons-long series has its advantages. Plot points left out of the films, such as Hermione’s quest to grant House Elves their freedom, can be fully explored, adding more on-screen depth to the characters’ development. This format worked well for His Dark Materials on Max, which is based on the trilogy by Philip Pullman and ran accurately to the novels for three seasons.
Still, the new series could be off to a rocky start before production begins as J.K. Rowling faces backlash for her controversial sentiments on the transgender community that alienated some of her fanbase.