The cast of Harry Potter will reunite for a television reunion special titled Return to Hogwarts that will stream on HBO Max on January 1, 2022. The announcement was made by HBO Max on Tuesday, which marked the 20th anniversary of the release of the first film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, in the US.
Along with Chris Columbus, who directed the first two films, actors Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, who played the lead trio Harry, Ron, and Hermione, will be present for the reunion special. The first film in the eight-part Harry Potter movie franchise that released in November 2001 also marked the acting debut of the trio.
Other actors who played prominent characters will feature in the special as well. The list includes, Helena Bonham Carter, who played Bellatrix Lestrange, Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort), Imelda Staunton (Professor Dolores Umbridge) James Phelps and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), and Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley).
However, author of the Harry Potter books, JK Rowling, who created the world for the $7.8 billion franchise, will be absent from the special, according to a Reuters report. Instead, she will feature in an archive footage that will be shown in the special.
A self-proclaimed Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist (TERF), Rowling has come under fire in the past few years for her comments on transgender people. While sharing an opinion piece titled ‘Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate’ in June 2020, Rowling tweeted “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”. Following criticism that labelled her comments as ‘transphobic’, Rowling defended her stance in a series of tweets.
Soon after, the production banner Warner Bros as well as members of the cast including Radcliffe, Grint and Watson issued statements that echoed support for the trans community.
In September 2020, Warner Bros distanced themselves from Rowling after the announcement of the video game, Hogwarts Legacy, and denied Rowling’s direct involvement in the creation of the game.