Rumors of a Harry Potter live-action TV show may have been exaggerated. Recently, reports were widely circulated from trusted industry trade publications such as The Hollywood Reporter suggesting that a TV series taking place in the Wizarding World was in the early stages, with plans to release it on the HBO Max streaming service. However, Warner Bros., the studio which controls the franchise, has stepped in to possibly pour a bit of cold water on the situation.
Once the news surfaced, HBO Max and Warner Bros. released a brief statement saying, "There are no Harry Potter series in development at the studio or on the streaming platform." So that means no such project is currently in development, officially speaking. But there are a few important things to note here. For one, the origins report from THR also included that statement. The publication did note that no writer or talent is attached and that this show was in the earliest stages. So it may not be officially in development but the studio could still be toying around with the idea.
In any case, for now at least, nothing is official. This does feel like an inevitability, given the need for HBO Max to beef up its subscriber count. WarnerMedia bet big on the streaming service, looking to compete with Netflix, Disney+ and everyone else in the direct-to-consumer market. One of the best ways to attract subscribers is with marquee content attached to a beloved brand or franchise. Disney managed to do this exceedingly well with Star Wars on Disney+, releasing The Mandalorian at launch. Harry Potter is one of the biggest, if not the single biggest brand in Warner Bros.' library. Expanding the franchise to streaming makes every bit of sense.
The reports of a live-action Harry Potter TV show also lined up with some other recent news. The studio promoted executive Tom Ascheim to oversee the entire Wizarding World, which was created by author J.K. Rowling. It is said that part of his job will be expanding the franchise to the studio's other various platforms, such as HBO Max. Rowling, it is worth noting, has a lot of control over the franchise and gets a say in every project that is put forth. She is a major driving force in the Fantastic Beasts spin-offs. Rowling has also come under fire recently for her public comments regarding transgender people.
Even if it's not now, it is more than likely a matter of when Harry Potter expands to TV. Including the first two Fantastic Beasts movies, the series has earned an incredible $9.2 billion at the global box office. Not to mention the theme park attractions, merchandise and video games. A big-budget streaming TV show seems like the next step. Even if Warner Bros. doesn't yet have such a project in development. At least not that they're ready to discuss. We'll be sure to keep you posted as further details on the alleged project are made available. This news was previously reported by The Wrap.