HBO Max is going deep into the well for original content, with news that a Harry Potter series is “in development” according to THR. The project is in an exploratory phase, with writers being approached to pitch their ideas for the series. Developments may be very slow to come, as Potter creator JK Rowling has been highly protective of the franchise – she has never approved any spin-off storytelling aside from film and theme park adaptations.
Anogther huge problem: The Potter brand has been hugely tarnished by Rowling’s millitantly transphobic stance. Many formerly devoted fans are already criticizing the news, and it’s hard to see fans embracing the once beloved Wizarding World as they did before Rowling took an unyeilding stand for bigotry.
But with WarnerMedia’s well documented emphasis on HBO Max among other businesses, developing Potter was inevitable: they need big hits.
News that talks are under way for a Harry Potter TV series should come as no surprise given the value of the franchise to Warner Bros. Rowling’s seven-book series was adapted as eight feature films that grossed more than $7 billion worldwide. Warners also has the Fantastic Beasts prequel series of films, with the third set to bow next year and two more likely to come afterward.
The plans for a Harry Potter TV series should be seen as a rightful extension of the property at a time when WarnerMedia (like other conglomerates) is prioritizing its streaming service. HBO Max launched last year and is the home all of the company’s most valuable intellectual property. The platform is the streaming home of DC Comics films, with multiple TV spinoffs and originals already in the works. The streamer is also the home of mega-hit Friends (with a reunion planned to film in March for the service), Game of Thrones and all of HBO’s originals, including Sex and the City. The latter was recently revived with three of its original stars returning for a new TV series as HBO Max leans into its IP to become a must-have subscription service. (It’s also worth noting that HBO is building out its Game of Thrones arsenal with multiple other projects in the works, all of which would eventually live on HBO Max.)\
While Rowling maintains tight control over the franchise, WB’s colloportus spell on the films is not as firm. The eight Harry Potter movies debuted on HBO Max for a few months but have since departed for an eventual home next to Dolph Ziggler on NBC/Universal’s Peacock streaming service.