Something magical this way comes: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and other actors from across the “Harry Potter” films are set to reunite for the first time to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the blockbuster franchise.
A retrospective special titled “Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts” will arrive Jan. 1 on HBO Max, the streaming service announced Tuesday. The special promises to “honor the magic behind the making of the films and the beautiful family created at Warner Bros. Studios London two decades ago.”
Joining the core wizarding trio, who haven’t appeared together in an official capacity since the eighth and final film hit theaters in 2011, will be 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.
“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” premiered in November 2001, pulling in over $974 million worldwide at the time and over $1 billion in subsequent rereleases. Directed by Chris Columbus, who will also be present for the HBO tribute, the film was followed by seven sequels and launched one of the most successful cinematic franchises in history.
The special will tell an “enchanting making-of story through all-new in-depth interviews and cast conversations,” the press release says, “inviting fans on a magical first-person journey through one of the most beloved film franchises of all time.”
Actors will reunite on “the original sets of Hogwarts, where they began 20 years ago,” executive producer Casey Patterson said in a statement.
After news of the reunion broke, Watson reflected on how the series has touched so many people’s lives, including her own, in a heartfelt post on Instagram.
“Harry Potter was my home, my family, my world and Hermione (still is) my favorite fictional character of all time,” Watson wrote alongside a throwback pic of herself and her co-stars.
“I am proud not just of what we as group contributed as actors to the franchise but also as the children that became young adults that walked that path,” she continued. “I look at my fellow cast members now and I am just so proud of who everyone has become as people. I am proud we were kind to each other that we supported one another and that we held up something meaningful.”
“Thank you to the fans that have continued to show their support well after the last chapter closed,” she added. “The magic of the world wouldn’t exist without you. Thank you for fighting to make it such an inclusive and loving place.”
The press release did not mention whether J.K. Rowling, who authored the book series on which the films are based, will be involved. The writer has stoked considerable controversy in recent years for her anti-transgender comments, which have been called out by many of the films’ cast members, including Radcliffe, Watson and Grint.
A source close to the production told The Hollywood Reporter that Rowling will have a presence in the special through archival footage, but will “not make a new appearance,” as the retrospective will instead “focus on the creation of the film and the central cast/team.”
Columbus recently revealed he hopes to return to the franchise one day for an adaptation of the hit Broadway play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” which is based on an original story by Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne.
“A version of Cursed Child with Dan, Rupert and Emma at the right age, it’s cinematic bliss. If you’re a film nerd or cinephile, it’s kind of like what J.J. [Abrams] did with Star Wars,” Columbus told The Hollywood Reporter earlier this month. “Star Wars really started to be great again when J.J. made the film and we had all the original cast back. There’s no question if you’re a Star Wars fan, you were moved just seeing them on screen, seeing Harrison Ford as Han Solo again — and Chewy. It was very moving.”
“I think that would be the same situation for Harry Potter fans,” he went on. “To [be] able to actually see these adult actors now back in these roles? Oh, yeah. It would be amazingly fun to make that film — or two films.”