I think we could all agree that more Harry Potter should be a good thing, right? On paper, it sounds like an excellent idea. Give us all that Hogwarts magic please and thank you! But over the last few years, there’s been a Death Eater sized shadow that has fallen over this franchise. A great deal of that stems from creator JK Rowling and comments made concerning the LGBTQ community. Comments that seemingly go against the very principle of all the Harry Potter novels. It can be difficult loving something so fiercely, something that brought you immense joy, only to find that the person who provided this joy and meaning isn’t who you thought they were. It’s a betrayal on Wormtail levels. I like to believe you can disassociate the books and the author but I have yet to try re-reading the series since Rowling’s random continued comments/attacks. I don’t know if that’s because her actions have pushed me away or I just don’t have enough time to read everything I want to read. I do know that I’m not ready to abandon this story and these characters. Not yet.
On top of this, the Fantastic Beasts spin-off series has not been going swimmingly. Castings of Johnny Depp and Ezra Miller have left fans feeling a bit icky inside which is bound to happen when one star is accused of domestic abuse and the other is caught choking a fan on camera. Plus, the story has yet to re-create the magic that’s associated with the franchise. Sure, sexy Jude Law Dumbledore is fun to look at but the heart and cohesive storytelling that has made Harry Potter such a success, seems to be lacking. I don’t want to accuse the series of cashing in on the Harry Potter name but right now it’s failing to live up to the hype. Despite that, I still find myself excited about Mads Mikkelsen, the greatest Hannibal ever, being cast as Grindelwald. Maybe that can start to right the ship? That and better writing decisions?
With all this doom and gloom hovering over the franchise like a hungry dementor, I’m here to give you a little bit of chocolate. Maybe even a chocolate frog, Ron Weasley card included, to help shake that fog. To get you feeling better about the direction of a series you both know and love. Because Geeklings, HBO Max has announced that they’ll be making a Harry Potter television series!
What’s it about, you ask? No clue. Seriously, I’ve got no clue what so ever, I’m not even sure if Warner Bros/HBO Max know what direction they want to take this series. There are zero actors attached to the project. There are zero writers attached to the project. There are zero directors/showrunners attached to the project. And as of right now, no one knows how involved Rowling will be, if at all. I do recall that she has no involvement in the now delayed open-world Potter video game. Yet, despite all this uncertainty, I find myself feeling like Neville discovering a new plant species.
Maybe it’s because it’s a fresh start for the series. With Fantastic Beasts covering what happened between Dumbledore and Grindelwald and The Cursed Child… The Cursed Child doing something after The Deathly Hallows, there is really only one true area for a possible television series to focus on.
James, Lily, Snape, Sirius, and the rest of the gang at Hogwarts. Show the rise of the Dark Lord. Show the relationship between Snape and Lily and why it results in “always”. Show us James as a kind of douchey cool magic kid and let’s watch him grow up, fall in love, and sacrifice himself for his family. Let’s watch the behind the scenes working of Wormtail that gets Sirius sent to Azkaban. Let’s see that first war with the Dark Lord and what it cost. Have it all lead up to the attempt on Harry’s life. Let’s see it all!
Is this really necessary, a story fans already have a solid grasp on, for a television series? No, not at all but what it does do is start to restore faith in a badly wounded franchise. In this possible story scenario, one of the characters actually has the last name Potter which will instantly draw in die-hard and casual fans alike. But it’s the formula that will work the most. Kids learning magic in a magic school. That’s what we want. We want to remember why we fell in love with this universe in the first place and setting a television series during James’s time at school could really go along way. Hell, make it a Snape centric show, and let’s learn everything we can about the Potions teacher. Let’s Ralph Wiggum it, and pinpoint the exact moment where his heartbreaks. All that matters is that this feels familiar. That’s always been the draw when reading/watching Harry Potter, it feels like coming home to old friends with new lessons every time. Why couldn’t this be the same way?
Sure, you can produce a show that isn’t even set around Harry Potter or his family and maybe travel to another magical school but as cool as that would be, I’m not sure if it grabs an audience right away. Part of the draw of The Mandalorian is while it takes place during an uncharted area of Star Wars history it also feels familiar. It expands on mythology we already know while being its own entity. A Harry Potter series should aim for that. Build on what we know but make it new and exciting and sure, a little fan service. Why not?! And then make the show about other schools. Create the shared universe feel that has made properties like the MCU and Mando such a success.
Is this the end all be all in how to save Harry Potter? No, of course, it isn’t. I think wounded fans need to be given time to heal and to decide whether returning to this franchise is worth it for them. I think part of that healing would be keeping Rowling at arm’s length while introducing characters who properly represent the LGBTQ community as opposed to telling us once a series is over that a certain character was “gay”. Representation goes a long way. A long way. A television series could certainly be the platform to start mending fences and making some fans feel welcome again.
What do you think Geeklings, what would you like to see out of a Harry Potter television series? Can it be used as a tool for repairing a fractured franchise? Sound off in the comments or throw me a line over on Twitter @iamgeek32. You can send me an owl if that too if that pleases you. Just no howlers please and thank you.