Warner Bros. Discovery has a goldmine on its hands with the rights to the Harry Potter universe.
Although there is currently a Fantastic Beast prequel film franchise, fans have been anticipating a spinoff series of the beloved Wizarding World universe to hit the conglomerate’s multitude of networks and streaming services.
According to a statement made by HBO Max Head of Original Content Sarah Aubrey, “We don’t have a series in active development right now. But we are very much in that business because fans are just clamoring for more storytelling.”
In an earnings call, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav confirmed that they would have a “real focus on franchises,” echoing Aubrey’s sentiments, stating, “We’re going to have a real focus on franchises. We haven’t had a Superman movie in 13 years. We haven’t done a Harry Potter movie in 15 years. The DC movies and the Harry Potter movies provided a lot of profits for Warner Bros. Motion Pictures over the last 25 years.” Zaslav also suggested the potential to “do something with J.K. [Rowling] on Harry Potter going forward.”
The release of Avalanche Software and Portkeyg Game’s Hogwarts Legacy opens the landscape of possibilities for that potential upcoming series. It presents a new 1800s setting, an “ancient magic” previously unheard of, and a slew of characters either only hinted at in the lore or otherwise never seen before.
Ahead of its February 10 global launch across consoles, its viewership on Twitch peaked at a record-breaking 1.27 million concurrent viewers on February 7. This made Hogwarts Legacy the most-watched single-player game of all time by peak viewers on the platform.
Below, we offer three suggestions for a potential Wizarding World TV show based on the Harry Potter franchise.
Hogwarts Legacy is set in 1899 during the Goblin Rebellion, in which the goblin population of the wizarding world revolted against discrimination and prejudice toward their kind by wizards and witches. This aspect of the timeline alone is ripe with parallels in our modern problems, and those issues could be reflected and touched on in a live-action adaptation. Although it doesn’t have as much lore to juggle as this game, HBO‘s The Last of Us does well to draw parallels between the fungal infection that brought on an apocalypse to the pandemic we most recently faced.
Despite the timeline and the rebellion, the game has gone out of its way to showcase just how inclusive the wizarding world can be amongst their own kind, and an adaptation of the series should lean into those aspects of their characters. It provides a nice juxtaposition between their acceptance of diverse wizards against their discrimination toward goblins.
Taking place about 100 years before the events of the Harry Potter novels, the protagonist of the games becomes a student at the titular Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in their fifth year. This is an interesting angle for a central protagonist to come into the school as a teenager instead of a child. This taps into the young adult audience and fans of the franchise, and an older character could serve as an audience surrogate for the franchise’s now older fanbase.
The story’s protagonist holds the key to an “ancient secret that threatens to tear the wizarding world apart” and can manipulate the mysterious ancient magic themselves. The story follows the student uncovering the secret as to why this forgotten magic has suddenly made a resurgence and why some are attempting to harness it.
This provides an opportunity to dramatize moments in the game and refine it as an adaptation for the non-gamers who enjoy the franchise. The adaptation could also serve as another chapter in the live-action universe as opposed to the novels since Hogwarts Legacy’s status within the canon is murky, at best.
Animated Series Closer to Novel
An animated adaptation of the original Harry Potter novels, which would stick closer to the events of the actual novel, would delight several fans, to be sure.
For one, it wouldn’t erase or replace the iconic portrayals of Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint (should they decide not to voice their characters). Secondly, we would get a longer format to showcase the events of the book than a two-hour live-action movie can ever pack itself with. With animation, you can target loyal Harry Potter fans, as well as the younger generation who aren’t yet familiar with the franchise. There’s also room to add narration, similar to the books — Jim Dale fulfills this role in the audiobooks — to the equation, tying another sector of the fanbase to the faithful animation.
This is an easy layup for the big wigs at Warner Bros. Discovery could take, but it could also serve as a supplemental piece toward a more considerable adaptation in the works as well.
Fantastic Beasts Series
It has been confirmed that the Fantastic Beasts film series will not continue as of now, and that may be for the best. As the first spin-off of the Harry Potter series, it had a rough outing but gave those handling the IP an idea of what to do and not to do with the property going forward.
There were a lot of fantastic (no pun intended) concepts introduced with the trilogy series that may serve to be better developed in a television series. Its setting and early 1900s timeline could be used to explore the United States and its magic scene. It could even center on the Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the most well-known American wizarding school.
Fantastic Beasts also provides a very mature setting that could target the adult fans of the series in the same way Andor did for the Star Wars universe. There could be a B plot that focuses on students, but the fresh intrigue would be to see how the staff of the school handle being Headmaster or Headmistress.