The eight films of the Harry Potter franchise are a cornerstone bit of content for HBO Max as a streaming service, providing an indispensable reason for who knows how many million subscriptions, but the service isn’t content to simply rest on its laurels in the knowledge that it has the money of Potter fans. Instead, they’ve produced an upcoming new documentary and reunion, entitled Return to Hogwarts, which will see the various major cast members of the film series doing exactly that. The central trio of Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson will all be on hand to “travel back to Hogwarts for the first time,” whatever that means in this context. Will they have them revisiting the original sets, perhaps? Regardless, here’s the official synopsis for the project, which also released its first teaser today, which you can see below:
Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson join other esteemed cast members across all eight Harry Potter films as they travel back to Hogwarts for the first time to celebrate the anniversary of the franchise’s first film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which premiered 20 years ago this year. The retrospective special Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts will tell an enchanting making-of story through all-new in-depth interviews and cast conversations, inviting fans on a magical first-person journey through one of the most beloved film franchises of all time. The highly-anticipated retrospective will be a capstone event of the holiday season, dropping as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, on HBO Max.
Other participants include the likes of Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid), Jason Isaacs, Tom Felton, Gary Oldman and many others. Notable omissions from the list of announced returning performers are Michael Gambon, who played Albus Dumbledore from the third film onward, and Gryffindor House head Maggie Smith, who played Professor McGonagall. One wonders if the two British actors, now aged 81 and 86, simply weren’t available for interviews during the pandemic. Also missing, of course, are those Harry Potter franchise icons who are sadly no longer with us, including Richard Harris and Alan Rickman. No word on whether author J.K. Rowling has had any genuine contribution to the special, given that the last year has seen the former literary icon fall from grace through her opposition to the rights of transpeople.
Regardless, Return to Hogwarts should be a nostalgia-fueled joyride for the average Potter fan, and a good chance to reflect on the momentous cultural clout of the franchise. Check out the first teaser below.