By Ben Marsden
The announcement of a new Harry Potter series earlier this year was met with initial delight from fans of the wizarding world, followed by a whole host of initial worries. The series is set to be produced by HBO Max (now known as ‘Max’ alone) with seven series to be made, each one following one of the original books.
Setting aside JK Rowling’s political views, which could be a separate article itself and has created much controversy amongst the media and fans alike, several concerns have been raised about the series. Perhaps the biggest concern is the issue of who will be cast into what will arguably be the most scrutinised child role of recent decades. For Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, their acting careers are still impacted by their respective roles as Harry, Hermione, and Ron. The new stars will unsurprisingly be compared to the original film cast. Many fans will struggle to see new actors in iconic roles such as Professor Snape and Lord Voldemort, that Alan Rickman and Ralph Fiennes perfected respectively. Most Harry Potter fans have grown up knowing the faces of the actors as well as the names, and new actors in these roles will undoubtedly receive criticism, especially given some of the exemplary casting in the original films.
Many theories on who will be cast have been thrown around online, and there will undoubtedly be some uproar if rumours such as Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) playing Lucius Malfoy, or Adam Driver as Snape, do not come true. On top of this, the HP series has had its fair share of controversy in the past, such as the only Asian character being named Cho Chang. Rumours of characters like Dumbledore and Hermione being played by black actors have sparked a debate over whether the series will aim to be more “woke” than the original films and whether this will accurately recreate the books.
For the old-school fans of the books, the original films missed out certain storylines and scenes that they will be desperate to see in the new series. Characters such as the poltergeist Peeves and the house-elf Winky should make it into the new series, essentially this is a great opportunity for the new director to ensure all the original complaints about the films are rectified in the series. Having JK Rowling as an executive director should allow this to happen. Some characters were understated in the original films, with Ginny Weasley’s character seen as inconspicuous in the films when compared to her ability and role in the books, which the series should look to solve. Additionally, scenes such as seeing Neville Longbottom’s parents in St Mungo’s hospital, the brain room scene at the end of The Order of The Phoenix, and more detail on Harry’s Occlumency lessons have been put forward online as scenes that the series shouldn’t overlook as the films did. The length of the series may allow other storylines such as the back stories of characters like Tom Riddle, Snape, and the Marauders (James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew) to be developed.
Yet this leads to the question of whether a series on a separate topic would’ve been a better fit. The previous generation of James and Lily Potter, or the next generation of Albus Potter, Rose Weasley and Scorpius Malfoy, have yet to be portrayed on TV or film. A series on these characters would have allowed more freedom, less scrutiny, and arguably more hype, yet HBO have chosen to redo an already iconic film series, just 12 years or so after it finished. There is the danger that the new series sticks to the basics and is just a longer version of the films, with different actors and nothing exciting about it. On the other hand, if the series tries too hard to be different there will also be complaints. The idea of a new Harry Potter series is a brilliant one, given the fame and fans it has across the world. However, the series seems destined to be met with complaints, and it hasn’t even began filming yet. We all wanted a Marauders series – maybe that’s coming next.
Image credits: Aditya Vyas