Harry Potter Reunion Special Will Not Include J.K. Rowling

HBO Max's upcoming Harry Potter reunion special will feature numerous actors and filmmakers behind the hit film franchise, but author J.K. Rowling will not attend. The author, whose beloved series of children's books serve as the inspiration for the films, was not mentioned in the official announcement for Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, a four-part HBO Max look back on the film series. Rowling, who is working with Warner Bros. on the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them films, is reportedly being omitted because the reunion will focus on the films rather than the books.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, who confirmed Rowling will not make a new appearance in the special, the author will appear in the special in archival footage. The reunion special will take the cast back to Hogwarts for the first time since the film franchise wrapped up in 2011.

Rowling has become a controversial figure in recent years after voicing support for a British woman fired for transphobic posts she made on social media. The case drew wider attention when she appealed the decision and lost at a tribunal. Note: In an earlier version of this story, we confused this with another case, and characterized the firing as being for behavior in the workplace. We regret the error.

When challenged, Rowling has doubled down, making numerous remarks that have been decried as transphobic themselves. There is no indication that these controversies played a role in her absence from the special.

The special will also debut on TBS and Cartoon Network in spring 2022 ahead of the Warner Bros. Pictures theatrical debut of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, and will roll out globally with more details to come. Alumni of the film franchise will join the memorable tribute, including Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Imelda Staunton, Tom Felton, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Mark Williams, Bonnie Wright, Alfred Enoch, Matthew Lewis, Evanna Lynch, and Ian Hart, among others. 

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Per Warner's official announcement, Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts "will honor the magic behind the making of the films and the beautiful family created at Warner Bros. Studios London two decades ago." It will also celebrate the legacy of the Harry Potter film franchise, and its impact on families and fans around the world.

Fans can get an exclusive first look at the special will debut during the premiere of Harry Potter: Hogwarts Tournament of Houses on November 28 (8:00 p.m. ET/PT) on TBS and Cartoon Network. The bracket-style quiz competition, hosted by Helen Mirren, will feature fans competing to take home the Tournament of Houses championship trophy and will feature magical cameos by Harry Potter film alumni Tom Felton, Simon Fisher-Becker, Shirley Henderson and Luke Youngblood, as well as superfans Pete Davidson and Jay Leno. The epic, four-part competition event will also begin streaming on HBO Max on January 1. If you haven't signed up for HBO Max yet, you can try it out here