UPDATED: A “Harry Potter” series is in very early development at HBO Max, Variety has learned from sources.
Rumors that a show set within the wizarding world have persisted for some time. Now it seems those plans are moving ahead. Though no writers or talent are currently attached to the project, sources say conversations have taken place with multiple writers on the potential series. There is no word yet on what the focus of the show would be or what part of the “Harry Potter” timeline it would focus on should it move ahead.
“There are no Harry Potter series in development at the studio or on the streaming platform,” Warner Bros. and HBO Max said in a statement to Variety, though multiple sources have confirmed that the project is in the very early stages.
The “Harry Potter” book series is one of the most popular of all time, with the seven books in the series having sold over 500 million copies worldwide. They were then adapted into a hit eight-film franchise, which has grossed nearly $8 billion worldwide. There have also been two films to date in the prequel spinoff “Fantastic Beasts” film series, with the third of five planned films due out in 2022.
But the “Harry Potter” world has not been without controversy. 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.
The move to develop shows within the “Harry Potter” world comes as no surprise as the streaming wars continue to heat up and companies mine their best known IP to stay ahead of the competition. Disney alone announced dozens of shows set within the Marvel, “Star Wars,” and Disney and Pixar Animation worlds at their recent investors day presentation, including two spinoffs of the hit Disney Plus series “The Mandalorian.”
On top of numerous other originals, HBO Max already has multiple DC Comics shows in the works, including the “Peacemaker” series starring John Cena as a spinoff of the upcoming James Gunn “Suicide Squad” film as well as a “Green Lantern” series from Greg Berlanti. JJ Abrams is also plotting a “Justice League Dark” series at the streamer. There is also a series inspired by “The Shining” that Abrams and Bad Robot are prepping, as well as a “Dune” spinoff show about the Bene Gesserit.
The Hollywood Reporter first broke the “Harry Potter” development news.
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