‘Harry Potter’ Reboot Receives Backlash From Critics of J.K. Rowling

It seems like just about everything is getting a reboot these days. The entertainment industry knows that nostalgia has a really deep draw, and we’re seeing it fuel resurgences of everything from the gritty and slick Sex and the City to the fun and child-friendly iCarly. It seems like just about any genre that once had a dedicated fan base is fair game to mine for updated material, bringing fans back to familiar territory. There’s one fan base that has definitely been ready and waiting for a deeper exploration of a universe they love, and that’s fans of the Harry Potter franchise. 

A rumored Harry Potter reboot caused some excitement, but it received immediate backlash from those who don’t think author J.K. Rowling deserves any more royalties from the series. 

J.K. Rowling smiling in front of a white wall
J.K. Rowling | Cindy Ord/Getty Images

A ‘Harry Potter’ reboot is far from production

RELATED: Why Is ‘Harry Potter’ so Popular?

First, we have to be clear that if a Harry Potter reboot is in the works at all, it’s in the very early stages. Plenty of projects in Hollywood are teased or considered and never actually brought to fruition. Budgets get cut. Actors move on to other projects. The steam needed to keep a project going just isn’t always there. If ever there was a project that could be fueled by the passion of its fans, however, a Harry Potter reboot seems like a good candidate. 

It’s been twenty years since the film franchise first began — and even longer since the books were published — and that hasn’t stopped fans from turning to the series again and again. Because of the tale’s magical setting, it’s fairly timeless, and the connections between the friends and the fight between good and evil are both relatable themes that continue to be relevant and meaningful. Many people find parallels between the series and current events or even their own lives. It’s safe to say that Harry Potter hit on universal qualities of humanity that make it a classic. 

Still, that isn’t enough to guarantee a reboot. As The Hollywood Reporter explains, the rumors about a new addition to the franchise are based on very early rumblings: “Sources say broad ideas have been discussed as part of the early-stage exploratory meetings.”

J.K. Rowling has been at the center of many controversies

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One of the problems that any potential reboot is going to have to face is the fact that J.K. Rowling, the author of the original Harry Potter series, has fallen out of favor for many of her former fans. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact starting point of the problems, but in a breakdown of the controversy, Glamour provides many of the details. The focused debate began in June 2020 when Rowling posted a series of tweets over several days suggesting that transgender activism had gone too far and was insulting to women — statements that themselves suggest she did not see trans women as women. 

Over the next few months, Rowling seemed to double down over the controversy, once again sparking outrage with social media comments in July 2020. This time, Rowling attacked hormone therapy. Then, in September 2020, her latest book — Trouble Blood — released, and it featured a cisgender male serial killer who dressed as a woman as part of the guise to hunt and kill women, as Vanity Fair reports. 

The anger around Rowling’s beliefs and ongoing decision to voice them loudly has made many stars from the Harry Potter films — including Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry — to denounce Rowling’s views.

Some do not want J.K. Rowling to profit from a reboot

If a Harry Potter reboot truly is in the works, the creators will have to deal with the fact that critics — including several fans of the series — are not comfortable with Rowling profiting off of the franchise. Many have expressed that they would not watch the show even if they were interested as a matter of ethical concern. 

The hard truth for these fans is that Rowling — along with Warner Brothers — has complete control over the Harry Potter brand. She gets a say in how the name is used and what’s done with the franchise, and she would undoubtedly earn money from any new venture.