It's almost time to return to Hogwarts, this time on the small screen. After years of rumors, Warner Bros. Discovery has officially confirmed a new Harry Potter television series will dive back into J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World, though it won't do so without its fair share of controversy. From a potential release date to Rowling's level of involvement, here's everything we know about the project so far:
It will be a Max original series
Initial reports suggested the live-action Harry Potter television series would be an HBO show. But Warner Bros. Discovery has clarified it will actually be an original series for Max, the streaming service formerly known as HBO Max, not something that airs on the HBO television channel.
It will be a 'faithful adaptation' of J.K. Rowling's original books
The Harry Potter TV series won't be a continuation of the films, but rather a new interpretation of the original J.K. Rowling novels, and the official announcement touted the show as a "faithful adaptation" of the books. The idea is that a TV series will have more time to explore details that the movies couldn't, as book fans have often complained about aspects of the source material that the films excised or abbreviated.
"We truly have the time to tell more in-depth stories in ways the world has never seen before," HBO boss Casey Bloys said during a press event unveiling the show, adding that it will "stand alongside" the movies while appealing to an "entirely new generation."
It will be released over the course of a decade
The Harry Potter movies were released across 10 years, with the first hitting theaters in 2001 and the last debuting in 2011. Similarly, Warner Bros. Discovery is already describing this as a decade-long project.
"For ten consecutive years, people will see Harry Potter on HBO," Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav said.
Bloomberg, which first reported that the show was in the works, said the plan is for each season to be based on one of the seven books. But Zaslav's quote appeared to suggest either that there could be more seasons than there are books or that a new season won't necessarily premiere every year.
J.K. Rowling is involved as an executive producer
In recent years, J.K. Rowling has become a controversial figure for repeatedly making statements that have been widely condemned as transphobic. Despite this, she is involved in the Harry Potter show and has been given the title of executive producer.
Not only that, but Rowling's literary agent, Neil Blair, is also an executive producer, and her production company, Brontë Film and TV, is involved in the show. Bloomberg reported Rowling won't "run the show day to day or serve as its primary creator," but she'll ensure the series is faithful to her material. "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," Rowling said.
A search is currently underway for a writer and showrunner for the series, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Ruth Kenley-Letts will also serve as an executive producer.
It will star a new cast
This should go without saying, but Warner Bros. Discovery noted the series will feature a "new cast to lead a new generation of fandom." So far, no casting has been announced, and that's likely far off.
Prior to the show's announcement, there had been speculation that the cast of the original movies could return for an adaptation of the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a sequel to the final book. But it's not clear if this was ever attempted or if stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson would be willing to come back given they have all condemned Rowling's comments on trans people. In 2022, Radcliffe told the New York Times that returning to Harry Potter is "not something I'm really interested in doing right now," although "I'm never going to say never."
It will have a budget comparable to 'Game of Thrones'
Don't expect Max to skimp on the budget for the Harry Potter series. Bloys said the show will be on the "scale" of Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon "or higher," adding that the streamer will spend "whatever it takes to make a quality show.'
It may debut in 2025 or 2026
No premiere date or even premiere year has been confirmed. But Deadline reports the show is expected to debut in either 2025 or 2026, which would imply it will run through 2035 or 2036.
Other Wizarding World projects could potentially still happen
The Max show would seem to rule out the possibility of bringing back the original cast any time in the next 10 years. Still, Zaslav said the show doesn't necessarily mean other Wizarding World projects can't happen, as well. "We're free to do anything we want," he said, per Variety.
A teaser for the show evoked the original movies
One major question about the series concerns to what degree it will lean into look and feel of the movie adaptations, which have become iconic in their own right. It was notable, then, that a teaser video for the Max show evoked the film series, such as by using the original John Williams theme music. A piece of Williams' Harry Potter score also played during a press event announcing the series, and David Heyman, a producer on the movies, is also in talks to be an executive producer on the show. So it wouldn't be surprising if the Max series retains certain aspects of how the movies interpreted the books despite being a reboot.
It's already facing backlash
The series announcement sparked a fair amount of online pushback for various reasons. For some, a new adaptation of the books seemed redundant when the movies already exist, though other fans were excited about the idea of seeing a version of the story on screen that's more faithful to the source material.
More than that, though, there was blowback to Rowling's involvement given the controversy surrounding the author's views on trans people. When asked about this, Bloys said "our priority is what's on the screen." When the series debuts, expect there to be fans who refuse to watch due to Rowling's involvement, though it remains to be seen if this will affect the viewership in any substantial way. Despite similar calls to boycott the Harry Potter video game Hogwarts Legacy this year, it still became a massive hit, generating $850 million within its first two weeks.