Harry Potter, it seems, is having a problem. Recent reports suggest that Warner Bros. is looking to refocus the franchise on a new narrative, specifically Harry Potter and the cursed child, which continues the story of the titular magician later in life. That comes after the disappointing launch of Fantastic Beasts: Dumbledore’s Secrets, which opened in early 2022 to critical indifference and anemic box office. What was a planned five movie arc for fantastic beasts may finish at three, and supposedly Warner is looking for cursed child like a soft reboot of the franchise.
As with a number of recent decisions by the entertainment giant, the decision stems from a fundamental misreading of the situation. JK Rowling, the creator of the Harry Potter series, he remains a significant creative force in the franchise. In addition to writing the original seven novels, he shares co-writing and producing credits on all three. fantastic beasts films, as well as a story credit in the play for cursed child. He has also become a figure of great controversy in recent years due to repeated expressions of transphobia that have alienated several former fans. It’s the kind of problem that doesn’t go away with a new movie. The problem is not the franchise. is the author
JK Rowling has become a constant problem for Harry Potter
the Harry Potter The novels were never completely free of controversy, although previous protests arose from very different political sources. Far-right religious activists have repeatedly tried to ban them for “promoting witchcraft,” while more reasonable voices have pointed to the books’ white-centric narrative and questionable handling of minority characters like Cho Chang. All of that paled in response to a series of transphobic statements that began with a December 2019 post on Twitter that dismissed the legitimacy of transgender identity. (An October 2022 piece at Glamor does an admirable job of covering the timeline of the scandal).
From there, the controversy quickly snowballed: fueled by a combination of Rowling’s high profile and her apparent willingness to redouble her efforts with each new statement. She is also the author of subsequent books outside of The Wizarding World that have been heavily criticized for their transphobic content, including her 2014 one. the silkworm and 2015 evil race. As of this writing, Rowling has yet to significantly alter her views, at least in public.
It’s doubly concerning considering the large number of trans fanatics and allies who feel justifiably betrayed by his stance. Problematic components aside, the books actively advocate for outsiders and misfits, as well as incorporating themes of empowering transformation and strength in diversity. Rowling’s comments have polluted those waters for many readers and, most disturbing of all, come at a time in history when LGBT rights around the world are under increasing attack. Not a good look, to say the least.
A new Harry Potter movie doesn’t change JK Rowling’s stance
Rowling is closely associated with The Wizarding World, and any new project would certainly require her approval and benefit her financially. Warner seems to think that people just want Harry and his friends back: the cursed child focuses on them, while the fantastic beasts The movies are prequels set decades before Harry was born. That attitude misses the point: they can’t get rid of the controversy just by telling a different story. The three main stars of Harry Potter – Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint – have publicly distanced themselves from Rowling and comments about her, making her appearance in any future projects unlikely and exacerbating the studio’s central dilemma.
Warner has undoubtedly grown very comfortable with the steady influx of money provided by the Potterverse and wants to turn around the recent reversal in fortunes quickly. There will come a time when the Harry Potter the novels and their accompanying derivatives can be evaluated, and the better angels of their nature properly contextualized, without whitewashing their author’s problematic beliefs. That’s simply not possible with Rowling so closely connected to the franchise. Until and unless something changes, it’s best to acknowledge reality and look elsewhere for creative opportunities.