Friday , May 24 2024

HBO Announced a New ‘Harry Potter’ TV Series – An Obvious Cash Grab Insulting to True Fans

HBO announced a new Harry Potter TV series, and it is an obvious cash grab that is insulting to true fans. It is also a slap in the face of every actor who acted in the films. Not to mention it is a rude snub of those who read or who are still reading the books. They do not want or need a reboot any more than the lovers of the films want one.

The Announcement

Warner Brothers Discovery announced this online. In the press release they boldly state: “The series will be a faithful adaptation of the beloved “Harry Potter” book series by author and executive producer, J.K. Rowling.”  Yet, I have been unable to find anything that shows Rowling confirming her involvement, and I am kind of surprised because in the past she has seemed reluctant to milk the Potter franchise too often.

Not What We Needed

In the same release, Warner Brothers explains what the series will be like. “The stories from each of Rowling’s Harry Potter [sic] books will become a decade-long series produced with the same epic craft, love and care this global franchise is known for.“ So, what they are saying is that they are going to go with a new cast, take new 10-year-olds, and force them to make a series a year for a decade. Hmm. Yeah, that is just what I am seeking for my viewing pleasure. A 10-year commitment? In the spirit of Ron Weasley – Bloody hell!

Beloved Characters

I got to know the world of Harry Potter because of my children and my niece and nephew. Both in their 30s now, they would wait on line outside the bookstore to buy each new book in the series. It became an annual ritual – Rowling kept writing new ones and the kids kept buying them, and so did many adults like yours truly.

When I say “beloved,” it is more “dearly beloved.” I cannot want or need to see anyone else but Alan Rickman playing Severus Snape. It is also unfair to ask an actor to take on the role. The shoes are just too big to fill, and he would be encumbered and unable to walk in them.

I have the same feeling for every major or minor character. Besides the dynamic trio – Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson), and Ron (Rupert Grint) – there are dozens of other actors who played characters that are embedded in the hearts and minds of fans.

The Dumbledore Dilemma

I have watched all the films with my kids a few times. The first time I watched Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with my young son, I was wondering if he would notice that the late Richard Harris’s Dumbledore had been replaced by Michael Gambon. Seven at the time, he looked over to me and asked, “What happened to the real Dumbledore?” I stopped the movie and explained what happened to him. He was upset but then we eventually did watch the rest of the film.

HBO’s Dumbledore dilemma is obvious. They are not replacing one character – they are replacing all of them with a new cast and then telling the same stories. Imagine trying to do that with Game of Thrones or The Wire. It is way too soon to even think about that. The reason why Netflix’s Wednesday was so successful was that it was not a reboot of the ’60s show The Addams Family – it was a continuation of the story more than 50 years later. After all that time, recasting is no longer a problem.

Robbie Coltrane is Hagrid Forever

Robbie Coltrane’s indelible portrayal of Rubeus Hagrid is one about which we cannot separate the actor from the part. Hagrid’s childlike love of magical creatures, his understanding of the young wizards and their difficulties with school and life, and his big-hearted embracing of the world in general are legendary. I cannot accept someone else in this role. I would be unable to watch it.

Nobody Asked for This!

When I told my kids about this, they screamed, “Nobody asked for this!” I must agree with them. I got my son a copy of the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, but he couldn’t get through it. The book is large – the play has two parts, viewed over two evenings – but it was more that he didn’t like how the world changed in the play. Things didn’t seem right to him. This was not the Harry Potter he knew and loved.

Think Like Star Wars

The totally unnecessary reboot will perhaps attract some new fans, but the films themselves are beautiful renditions of the story, which have beloved actors in roles they were born to play. A reboot is a tremendous mistake.

One thing HBO should consider is going back in time – way back in time. Why not go back and explore the 10th century founding of Hogwarts by Godric Gryffindor, Rowena Ravenclaw, Helga Hufflepuff, and Salazar Slytherin. Star Wars is going to be exploring the ancient Jedi-Sith machinations, keeping them free of any Skywalker-Palpatine characters. In the same way HBO could cast new characters and ensure that they will become beloved as well.

HBO could also do a time jump toward the future. What would the wizarding world be like in 2100? Maybe they would even travel to other planets to meet alien wizards and have a whole new conflict to deal with, and this would have nothing to do with recasting beloved characters.

The Harry Potter Films’ Legacy

I am afraid that this reboot will end up destroying memories and hurting the legacy of the films. The films – despite all the death and destruction that takes place – are also a beautiful world established to help children dream and aspire to be their best selves. It is a world where being different is not negative, and it shows that love is at the center of everything. The boy who lived did so because his mother loved him so much that evil could not harm him.

Obviously, we fans are not going to stop HBO from doing anything. If something makes money, it will move forward. However, I do not plan to watch this series whenever it does appear. Perhaps, if enough fans collectively say “No!” and refuse to watch the show, HBO will realize that it is sacrilege to alter the beloved memories of fans of the films, even if Rowling is the executive producer.

About Victor Lana

Victor Lana's stories, articles, and poems have been published in literary magazines and online. His new novel, 'Unicorn: A Love Story,' is available as an e-book and in print.

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