Warner Bros. Report Reveals Why They Scrapped Plans for Harry Potter Sequel Films

Warner Bros. can't seem to get enough Harry Potter. Years after they finished the final adaptation of the series' books, WB is still making prequels set in the world of Fantastic Beasts, there's a TV show in the works, and they put a ton of money into that big cast reunion on HBO Max. So, it should be no surprise to anyone that the studio entertained the notion of adapting Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to the screen. The script, which was written for the stage, tells an untold story from the Wizarding World, but also features key characters from the original novels -- something Fantastic Beasts mostly does not have.

According to Puck, Warner was interested in potentially translating the play to two movies, but series creator JK Rowling and her representatives were not interested. More than the artistic questions it raised, Rowling (along with stage producers Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender) were seemingly worried about hurting the play while it was still a fairly fresh hit. Meanwhile, not everyone at WB was wold, since it would involve an admission that the Fantastic Beasts experiment was a dead end.

Whether Rowling and company would now be more open to such a project -- it has been six years, and the play has already opened in five markets -- is anybody's guess. It has still not gone through its whole natural theatrical life cycle, which includes a touring company and cruise ship openings, but the farther removed she gets from The Deathly Hallows, the more willing Rowling seems to be to exploit the Potter IP in a variety of ways.

Cursed Child takes place almost 20 years after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and features adult versions of some of the original characters as supporting players. That could be huge for the fandom, but also presents a problem in that right now, it seems unlikely that Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson would return to the roles -- something that would presumably be key to the appeal of a legacy sequel.

In any case, Warner Bros. Discovery does not appear to be deterred by the rapidly-declining fortunes of the Fanastic Beasts franchise (its first installment earned more than $800 million at the box office, with subsequent installments dropping by about $200 million each), and plans to chug on ahead with more Wizarding World content. What shape that content will take, and whether fans will ever see the original cast again, is pretty up in the air at this point.

Radcliffe has said that he might reconsider a return to the role "in the distant future," but that for now, he has moved on from the part.

"I'm never going to say never," Radcliffe told The New York Times. "But the Star Wars guys had like 30, 40 years before they went back. For me, it's only been 10. It's not something I'm really interested in doing right now." 

Watson could be an even tougher sell. Rumor has it that she has no interest in working with Rowling again.

Both Radcliffe and Watson have, to varying degrees, had a public falling out with Rowling over the transphobic rhetoric she uses on Twitter. It's certainly hard to argue that anyone is "cancelled" when they are still being given hundreds of millions of dollars to make films and TV shows with, but it's likely that to get the cast back, Rowling would either have to back off her comments -- something she has refused to do when confronted in the past -- or take less of a prominent role in the franchise. The latter feels even more unlikely than the former, considering that Rowling took only a brief break from the Wizarding World before she started expanding it beyond that initial little corner of Hogwarts.