Are the rumors being denied by HBO and Warner Bros. executives actually strategic leaks?
The internet was abuzz Monday morning with rumors that Warner Bros. was in talks with HBO Max to develop a Harry Potter series for the streaming service.
With an incredibly expensive Lord of the Rings show in development with Amazon and HBO already working on their Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon already in the works, it's not a stretch to imagine that Harry Potter would have its own contender in the field. Maybe it will adapt the prequel story that fan's developed — following James and Lily Potter's courtship, along with the tormenting of young Severus Snape?
In either case, leaving the medium of television untouched by the most popular fantasy franchise of all time would be like leaving money on the table. Unless, of course, the fans don't want it...
As it turns out, the response from fans was mixed, at best. While some super-fans will be enthusiastic at the prospect of any new Wizarding World content — and will return to Pottermore's sorting hat every time there's an update — others are not convinced anything good will come of it.
Daniel Radcliffe Responds To J.K. Rowling's Tweets About Trans People www.youtube.com
For one thing, the lower budget and indefinite time frame of a TV series could see quality take a huge hit for the sake of quantity. The Fantastic Beasts series has already proven how quickly additions to the Harry Potter canon can go off the rails and lose track of what fans loved about the original series.
But the potential problems go much further than just that. Some of the series' biggest fans aren't sure they want to support anything to do with Harry Potter anymore.
Many of he people who grew up with the Harry Potter books and movies are part of a generational shift acknowledging the complexities of gender identity. While traditional views of sex and gender have tended to slot people into cultural positions based on genitals and hormones, a lot of millennials and zoomers have rejected the narrowness of that perspective, recognizing the importance and validity of trans and non-binary identities.
While some in the older generations have adapted to these cultural changes, others have been resistant, including J.K. Rowling, the once-beloved author of the Harry Potter series. Rowling's so-called "gender skepticism" (which others would term TERFdom) has mainly involved expressing a lot of vague concerns about how allowing people to live as their preferred gender might somehow a threat to women's safety and young girls' development.
Okay see, there’s a difference between still being a Harry Potter fan/keeping your fandom mementos while also denou… https://t.co/en34iCpMAU— steph 🍭 (@steph 🍭)1611593961.0
This has understandably turned a lot of former fans away from supporting anything connected to Harry Potter or anything to do with J.K. Rowling. Even the film series' three young stars — Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint — have pushed back against Rowling's comments.
But if even Harry, Hermione, and Ron have taken a stance on the issue, surely HBO and Warner Bros. know that, wouldn't they be expecting a backlash? So why even bother developing a new series? Well, it turns out they aren't.
Those rumors of a new series are — according to executives from both companies — just rumors, with no foundation in reality. There is no Harry Potter series in development. But maybe, like Perkins's tent, this gossip has some hidden depth, if you'll follow me.
If executives at HBO and Warner Bros were anticipating backlash on the series, there may be some internal disagreement about whether to move forward with development. But if they can leak some rumors and keep an eye on fan response, they can gauge whether the backlash will outweigh the hype.
If J.K. Rowling can keep her name out of any transphobic headlines for a while, fans might end up focusing on what they loved about the series in the first place. If these rumors are actually just strategic leaks, you can think of it like the executives holding up the Mirror of Erised to see what fans really desire.
Do we want to see more of the Wizarding World, or do we want to hold J.K. Rowling accountable for her bigotry? Let us know at Popdust.
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