JK Rowling blocked Harry Potter and the Cursed Child movie, report claims

jk rowling posing for a picture at harry potter book premiereWireImage

Another Harry Potter film could have been on the way, but the creator of said franchise apparently put a stop to that.

Warner Bros. is currently on a mission to bank on as many of its propertied that it can. These titles include Lord of the Rings, DC, and in this case, Harry Potter.

Only problem: Harry Potter, despite having ended over a decade ago, is still fresh in people’s minds. The decades long film series was a cultural juggernaut, and case in point, there are no more Harry Potter specific stories to adapt to film. Well, except for one.

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the successful spin off play that has performed at London’s West End seems perfect for a film adaptation. But this is far from possible, if writer JK Rowling has anything to say about it.

Warner Bros. want a new Harry Potter, but JK Rowling does not

According to Deadline, during an investors call, Warner Bros. Discovery boss David Zaslav discussed his desire to expand the company’s biggest franchises, and he made a point of mentioning the epic teen fantasy series, stating that he wanted “something with J.K. on Harry Potter going forward.”

“We haven’t had a Superman movie in 13 years,” Zaslav continued, “We haven’t had a Harry Potter movie in 15 years. The DC movies and the Harry Potter movies provided a lot of profits to Warner Bros motion pictures over the last 25 years. House of the Dragon is a big example of that; Game of Thrones, taking advantage of Sex and the City. Lord of the Rings – we still have the right to do Lord of the Rings movies.”

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However, there’s been plenty of plans to expand the Harry Potter stories over the years, all with limited success, which was often due to JK Rowing simply not endorsing the ideas that executives had.

As reported by Puck, back in early 2020, Toby Emmerich, then running the Warners film studio, made a trip to London to meet Neil Blair, who is Rowling’s business partner and chief gatekeeper. In that meeting, Emmerich pitched a potential two-film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a two-part 5-hour play, which acts as a successor to the Harry Potter story, with many of the original characters now grown up as adults, since it’s partially set just after the “19 Years Later” epilogue.

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The story is as thus:

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

Since it was a smash hit, it has the potential to garner more attention than the arguably failed spin-off series Fantastic Beasts has – of which JK Rowling wrote the first two scripts. Not only that, but the actors of the original Golden Trio are now reaching the age that they could easily slot into the roles once more.

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So reportedly, the current plan for current leader Zaslav is to go hard after Cursed Child. Only one problem: JK Rowling doesn’t seem to want it adapted.

There are a number of factors against Cursed Child

While it seems a no-brainer to keep adapting one of the most popular franchises in history, there are actually many factors preventing The Cursed Child from ever seeing the screen.

Firstly is Rowling’s reported lack of interest. This could be due to a number of reasons, she could be aware that her focus should remain on the play, milking it for all it’s worth before it loses steam, and then perhaps focus on a screen adaptation.

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The failed franchise of Fantastic Beasts may have also wounded her faith in expanding the Wizarding World on screen. The films, while not doing abysmally, were met with mixed reviews and failed to gain the money that the original film series did.

There’s also the current political climate surrounding Rowling. With her transphobic statements alienating a notable portion of her audience, it’s hard to imagine that the adaptation would gain as much love as it once could have. Not only that, but her views have lead actors Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson to distance themselves from her, which would likely affect their appearance in any adaption.

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Ultimately, Rowling doesn’t want an adaptation, and as she holds so much creative and financial power over the franchise, it would be borderline impossible to make a Cursed Child adaptation without her approval.

But on top of that, would a Cursed Child film actually be wanted? Fantastic Beasts have clearly lost steam with audiences, Rowling is much less popular than she once was, and with a number of other magical projects down the drain – such as a potential HBO show – it seems like the Harry Potter books could be closing for good.