Only one notable absence was apparent among the main players from the Harry Potter franchise, who reunited for HBO Max’s upcoming 20th Anniversary special, Return to Hogwarts.
J.K. Rowling, the creator and author of the Harry Potter novels, did not sit down for a new interview to discuss adapting the eight movies based on her books with Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint, nor did she attend the Royal Albert Hall event to commemorate The Boy Who Lived’s 10th birthday. Instead, producers of Return to Hogwarts utilized archival material from 2019.
EW was informed that Rowling had been invited to participate, but her team decided the writer’s previous remarks were sufficient.
Sources close to the situation claim that Rowling’s comments about transgender people and the controversy swirling around them had nothing to do with the decision.
Although Rowling appears in Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, archival footage of her is only shown rarely.
In the special, Radcliffe, Watson, and Grint are accompanied by their former costars from the Harry Potter series: Tom Felton, Matthew Lewis, Bonnie Wright, Evanna Lynch, James and Oliver Phelps, Alfred Enoch, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Mark Williams, Ian Hart, and Toby Jones.
Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts begins streaming on HBO Max at 12 a.m. PT on Saturday.
About J.K. Rowling
J.K. Rowling is an author who created the Harry Potter series that has sold more than 400 million copies worldwide and was adapted into 8 movies. Rowling’s story about a young wizard who attends Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry became one of the most successful film franchises in history, but she didn’t participate in the reunion special for HBO Max’s upcoming 20th Anniversary special, Return to Hogwarts because she couldn’t decide what to say or do during it.
Rowling remains a polarizing figure with opinions on trans people- some see her as pro-trans while others see her as anti-trans due to her statements about them in the past which have been linked to TERF (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists) movement that often supports the position that trans women are not women.
LGBTQ organizations, including GLAAD and the Trevor Project, have condemned such speech; while various Harry Potter actors including Radcliffe, Watson, and Eddie Redmayne (the star of the Fantastic Beasts spin-offs) have come out in support of the trans community. Meanwhile, multiple Harry Potter sites that have become community builders for their fanbase have distanced themselves from Rowling in light of the views she has expressed.