It’s official: J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novel series is getting a TV adaptation.
News of a TV show based on the megahit fantasy book series first leaked on April 3rd, but the reports have now been confirmed by Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav during a presentation to the press and investors on Wednesday, April 12th.
What will the new Harry Potter series be about?
Max, the new streaming service that combines HBO Max and Discovery+ together, describes the project as follows: “The stories from each of Rowling’s Harry Potter books will become a decade-long series produced with the same epic craft, love, and care this global franchise is known for. The series will feature a new cast to lead a new generation of fandom, full of the fantastic detail, much-loved characters, and dramatic locations that Harry Potter fans have loved for over 25 years. Each season will be authentic to the original books and bring Harry Potter and these incredible adventures to new audiences around the world, while the original, classic, and beloved films will remain at the core of the franchise and available to watch globally.”
The Harry Potter TV series will be produced by Warner Bros. TV and Bronte Film and TV, with Rowling, Neil Blair, and Ruth Kenley-Letts serving as executive producers. David Heyman, who produced all eight feature films, is currently in negotiations to exec produce. The project doesn’t have a writer and showrunner yet, but the search for these key roles continues.
“We are delighted to give audiences the opportunity to discover Hogwarts in a whole new way,” said Casey Bloys, chairman and CEO, HBO & Max Content. “Harry Potter is a cultural phenomenon and it is clear there is such an enduring love and thirst for the Wizarding World. In partnership with Warner Bros. Television and J.K. Rowling, this new Max Original series will dive deep into each of the iconic books that fans have continued to enjoy for all of these years.”
For her part, Rowling said: “Max’s commitment to preserving the integrity of my books is important to me, and I’m looking forward to being part of this new adaptation which will allow for a degree of depth and detail only afforded by a long-form television series.”
Rowling, who has been the subject of criticism since her controversial remarks on transgender people in 2019, is not expected to have day-to-day control or contribute writing to the Harry Potter TV series. But because she controls the rights to the property, she, as an executive producer, has a degree of creative involvement with the project to make sure that it is loyal to her books.
How much would be the budget for the Harry Potter TV series?
Following the presentation to the press and investors, Bloys said the budget for the Harry Potter TV series budget will be similar to those of Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon. “[It] will be that scale or higher. Whatever it takes to make a quality show,” Bloys said when asked how much money Warner Bros. Discovery would be spending on the show.
For context, the first season of House of the Dragon has an estimated total cost of $125 million.
Will there be other Harry Potter projects from Warner Bros. Discovery?
While there are currently no other Harry Potter projects lined up aside from the TV series, Warner Bros. Discovery executives made it clear that the TV adaptation of Rowling’s books will not prevent them from making other projects set in the Wizarding World.
“We’re free to do anything we want,” Zaslav said. “Some areas we need to do with J.K., other areas we have the full ability to go forward. This is a full deployment on Max of Harry Potter. We can still develop other properties.”
When did talks for a Harry Potter TV series begin?
Warner Bros. Discovery has long pursued a Harry Potter TV series, with rumors and speculations about the project surfacing as early as January 2021. That was before Warner Bros was acquired by Discovery in 2022.
Back in 2021, Warner Bros. appointed Kids, Young Adult, and Classics president Tom Ascheim to manage the Wizarding World and the Harry Potter franchise. During that time, Ascheim became WarnerMedia’s senior rep in its relationship with Rowling and her representatives, and exploratory conversations for a Harry Potter TV show got underway.
But after Discovery’s acquisition of WarnerMedia was completed a year ago, that business unit was disbanded and Ascheim ultimately left the company. Despite that, the significance of the Harry Potter franchise only got bigger following the merger.
Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav has said several times that his focus is to expand the company’s most beloved franchises, with mining the Harry Potter IP as a priority.
“[There will be] a focus on the big movies that are loved, that are tentpoled, that people are going to leave early from dinner to go to see — and we have a lot of them,” Zaslav said during an earnings call in November 2022, according to Entertainment Weekly. “Batman, Superman, Aquaman, if we can do something with J.K. [Rowling] on Harry Potter going forward, Lord of the Rings, what are we doing with Game of Thrones? What are we doing with a lot of the big franchises that we have? We’re focused on franchises.”
Where to watch the Harry Potter TV series
The Harry Potter TV series will exclusively stream on Max. The show doesn’t have a release date yet.
Is Max replacing HBO Max?
Yes, HBO Max has been officially rebranded as Max. Max is set to make its official debut on May 23rd, less than three years after the introduction of HBO Max. As of now, it will cost the same as HBO Max: $16 a month for an ad-free experience, and $10 a month for an ad-supported tier.
Why is HBO Max rebranding?
HBO Max is getting rebranded as Max, dropping “HBO” from its name, because the new streaming service will also be the home of Discovery+ content. The rebranding is part of the platform’s effort to attract more subscribers.