Expecto Disappointment: A Harry Potter Reboot Could Be a Recipe for Disaster

Expecto Disappointment: A Harry Potter Reboot Could Be a Recipe for Disaster
Image credit: Legion-Media

It's only been 12 years since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 was released in theaters. For those of us who grew up alongside Harry and his friends, it was a bittersweet moment: the grand culmination of a childhood icon, and the end of an era.

It used to be that it would take 40 or 50 years for a studio to ever consider remaking a movie. But that timeline has gotten shorter… and even as you read this, executives at Warner Brothers are rumored to be considering a reboot of the Harry Potter franchise.

In recent years the boy wizard's star has lost some of its shine, for a variety of reasons – some fans have been alienated by author JK Rowling's controversial comments, while others were disappointed by the lackluster Fantastic Beasts and its frustrating retcons.

Still, others have simply moved on from a childhood obsession, keeping the books on the shelf for a rainy day but no longer rushing to participate in the latest HP video game, merchandise, or entertainment article.

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A decade may feel like a long time for film execs hungry for a paycheque (I mean jeez, if the Philosopher's Stone movie was a wizard, it would have graduated Hogwarts by now), but it's hard to imagine a Harry Potter reboot scoring many points with fans, for three reasons:

  1. Not enough time has passed. Many fans still watch the movies on a regular basis, and while you may disagree with some of the scriptwriting or directing choices there's no doubt that the movies largely work, and work well. Why remake movies that still hold up?
  2. The nostalgia factor. The target demographic for a Harry Potter reboot grew up alongside Daniel Radcliffe Emma Watson and Rupert Grint. It actually wouldn't matter if the movies were objectively bad by today's standards because the power of nostalgia means that for these fans, no other adaptation is going to come close. Just think of everyone who saw the first Star Wars movie in theaters. Does it matter that the plot now seems a little hackneyed? Nope. The power of nostalgia is almost as strong as the Force.
  3. HP burnout. The Fantastic Beasts movies have drained some of the Harry Potter love. Dwindling box office turnout for The Secrets of Dumbledore proved that we need a break to recoup our enthusiasm.

Of course, there's no saying what exactly a "reboot" would entail.

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Potentially it would not have to mean starting over at Philosophers' Stone – it could instead mean turning the stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child into a movie, going back to the founding of Hogwarts, or exploring some of the history of the wizarding world. Perhaps Warner Brothers will come up with an idea that overcomes the nostalgia, the short timeline, and the burnout factor. I'm not holding my breath, though. Avada Kedavra to a Harry Potter reboot – or Expecto Disappointment.