It's not entirely known what the future of the Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts, or the entire Wizarding World franchises will be, but according to HBO Max Head of Originals Sarah Aubrey, conversations are happening about how best to utilize the properties. In the 20 years since the first Harry Potter film landed in theaters, the characters have been a dominating force in pop culture that made the future seem limitless, but due to behind-the-scenes controversies and underwhelming box-office returns for the most recent films in the series, it seems like HBO Max is looking to reevaluate how best to utilize these worlds.
"We're very much in the business of creating new content for those [Wizarding World] fans and thinking what to do next," Aubrey shared during a conversation with Variety.
After the conclusion of the live-action movie series in 2012, the sequel stage production Harry Potter and the Cursed Child debuted in 2016. Also that year, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a prequel set in America, premiered to relatively positive reviews and a strong box-office performance. At the time, it seemed like options were endless for how to continue expanding the series.
Despite the excitement from fans about continuing the legacy of the franchise, a number of real-world controversies centered around franchise creator J.K. Rowling and Fantastic Beasts stars Johnny Depp and Ezra Miller saw interest in the series wane over the years, with the underwhelming critical and financial response to this year's Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore seeing the franchise stall for the time being.
The Fantastic Beasts series was set to include five installments, though even ahead of release, reports emerged that the future of the series was riding on the financial success of Secrets of Dumbledore. Following its disappointing performance, reports noted that the planned fourth and fifth films might be combined into one, or potentially be developed as HBO Max exclusives. In recent months, though, a number of highly anticipated HBO Max originals were axed entirely, including Batgirl, which had wrapped principal photography.
Interestingly, earlier this month Variety themselves claimed there were "no active discussions" about either Harry Potter or Fantastic Beasts. This latest update from Aubrey doesn't necessarily contradict that report, though implies that whatever might be next for the Wizarding World, things won't be moving forward any time soon. Virtually ever since the concept of HBO Max was announced, rumors have swirled that a Harry Potter TV series could be in the works.
Stay tuned for updates on the Wizarding World franchise.
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