The cast and crew of the Harry Potter movies are coming together for a reunion, with one notable exception – the author, JK Rowling.
HBO Max announced on Tuesday it would bring together the cast members from all eight Harry Potter films for a retrospective special entitled Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return To Hogwarts.
The release said it would feature stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint – who have not made a public appearance together since the premiere of the last premiere of the franchise, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2, in July 2011, as well as filmmaker Chris Columbus, who directed the blockbuster film.
But the release does not mention the person responsible for the creation of the characters, author JK Rowling, who has been criticized for her views on transgender people.
Sources close to the project told TMZ that it will focus on the creation of the first film 20 years ago, and the central cast and crew.
They said Rowling will be shown in archival footage from the creation of the first movie, but will not make a new appearance in the special.
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Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Daniel Radcliffe, (seen left to right in 2001’s Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone) are among those set to reunite for the Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return To Hogwarts special on HBO Max
Famed author JK Rowling will not be joining the production, however
Rowling has been criticized over the past few years for her views on transgender people.
In June 2020, she took to Twitter to criticize an opinion piece that used the term ‘people who menstruate’ instead of women.
‘I’m sure there used to be a word for these people,’ she tweeted at the time. ‘Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?’
She then continued with a thread discussing biological sex.
‘If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction,’ she claimed. ‘If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased.
‘I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives.’
Rowling later clarified that she respects ‘every trans person’s rights to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them,’ and went on to say she would march ‘if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans.
‘At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female,’ Rowling said, the Associated Press reported at the time. ‘I do not believe it’s hateful to say so.’
Then, in September 2020, she faced renewed calls of transphobia after it was revealed the the villain in her latest book, Troubled Blood – written under Rowling’s pseudonym Robert Galbraith – is a male serial killer who dresses as a woman to slay his victims.
An early review of the 900-page book by The Daily Telegraph – in which the critic states the book’s ‘moral seems to be: never trust a man in a dress’ – sparked immediate backlash online.
Furious readers rushed to Twitter to share their thoughts, making #RIPJKRowling trend in the UK.
The children’s book author was accused of being transphobic in June 2020 after she criticized an opinion piece that used the term ‘people who menstruate’ instead of women, and tweeted about biological sex
She was then embroiled in another controversy after it was revealed that the villain in her latest book Troubled Blood (right) is a male serial killer who dresses as a woman to slay his victims
In the wake of these remarks, Harry Potter actors Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe and Eddie Redmayne, who stars in her Fantastic Beasts films criticized the author for her remarks.
And in March, Rupert Grint, who plays Ron Weasley in the beloved film series admitted that he felt he needed to stand up for transgender people following Rowling’s remarks.
He said that while he was ‘not an authority’ on the debate, he felt he had a responsibility to speak out in support of the trans community as ‘silence is louder’.
In an interview with Esquire, he said: ‘I am hugely grateful [for] everything that she’s done. I think that she’s extremely talented, and I mean, clearly, her works are genius.’
‘But yeah, I think also you can have huge respect for someone and still disagree with things like that…
‘Sometimes silence is even louder. I felt like I had to because I think it was important to. I mean, I don’t want to talk about all that… Generally, I’m not an authority on the subject.
‘Just out of kindness, and just respecting people. I think it’s a valuable group that I think needs standing up for.’
The trio of stars will be joining filmmaker Chris Columbus (seen in November 2001), who directed the blockbuster original film of the franchise Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone, to celebrate the movie which premiered 20 years ago
In the aftermath, Rupert Grint, who is known for playing Ron Weasley in the film series, admitted that he felt he needed to stand up for trans people, He is pictured in 2019
The 20th anniversary special will be the first time the English actors have made a public appearance together since the premiere of the last premiere of the franchise, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2, in New York City back in July 2011
Other actors that will be joining the project include Helena Bonham Carter, left, and Ralph Fiennes, right
Now, the cast is set to return for the 20th anniversary special, which ‘tell an enchanting making-of story through all-new, in-depth interviews and cast conversations,’ according to HBO Max.
Several talented actors will be joining the main three stars in the special, including Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Tom Felton, Gary Oldman, Imelda Staunton, Bonnie Wright and Jason Isaacs.
Casey Patterson whose production company is producing the special gushed over the cast as she said: ‘There’s magic in the air here with this incredible cast, as they all return home to the original sets of Hogwarts, where they began 20 years ago.
‘The excitement is palpable as they prepare to take their fans on a very special and personal journey, through the making of these incredible films.’
Daniel, Emma, and Rupert are seen with David Heyman and Chris Columbus at the London premiere in November 2001
Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts is set to begin streaming on HBO Max on Saturday, January 1
Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone has grossed over $1billion over it’s lifetime
There will also be a first look of the special during the premiere of quiz competition show Harry Potter: Hogwarts Tournament of Houses which airs Sunday, November 28 on TBS and Cartoon Network and is hosted by Helen Mirren
Of the upcoming special, President of Warner Bros. Global Kids, Young Adults and Classics Tom Ascheim said in the statement: ‘It has been an incredible journey since the debut of the ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ film, and witnessing how it has evolved into this remarkable interconnected universe has been magical to say the least.
‘This retrospective is a tribute to everyone whose lives were touched by this cultural phenomenon — from the talented cast and crew who poured their heart and soul into this extraordinary film franchise to the passionate fans who continue to keep the Wizarding World spirit alive 20 years later.’
Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone premiered on November 16, 2001. It has grossed over $1billion over its lifetime and is one of the top selling franchises of all time.
Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts is set to begin streaming on HBO Max on Saturday, January 1.
The special will later air on channels TBS and Cartoon Network in spring 2022 before the theatrical release of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.
There will also be a first look of the special during the premiere of quiz competition show Harry Potter: Hogwarts Tournament of Houses which airs Sunday, November 28 on TBS and Cartoon Network and is hosted by Helen Mirren.