Can ‘Harry Potter’ live new lives with J.K. Rowling looming large?

Another series in the wizarding world could mean another paycheck for Rowling. And fans are not here for it.

Photo+courtesy+of+Wikimedia+Commons.+Collage+CW+%2F+Leah+Goggins

Leah Goggins | @leahisonline

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Collage CW / Leah Goggins

The Hollywood Reporter (THR) posted an article on Jan. 25 with sources confirming that WarnerMedia executives had conversed with potential writers about a potential “Harry Potter” spinoff television series.

The series would be within the same universe as the original eight films and would be exclusive to the online streaming service HBO Max, which is run by WarnerMedia.

Despite reports from sources, representatives from Warner Bros. and HBO Max issued a statement to THR that no series is set for development. As of yet, there are no writers or cast members attached to the project that may or may not exist. 

But if such a show were to move forward, one thing is certain: author J.K. Rowling would have to be involved.

Fans of the Potterverse were outraged at the prospect of the famed writer making any more money off of the franchise after Rowling began posting transphobic rhetoric in tweets and blog posts. 

Veteran fans of the original novels and films took to Twitter to vent their frustrations.

 

Others separated their love for the fandom versus their disdain for its creator.

 

All in all, many were disappointed. American comic book writer Magdalene Visaggio was one of those most vocal. 

The controversy against the author began on Dec. 19, 2019 when Rowling defended tax expert Maya Forstater in a tweet with the hashtag, “I Stand With Maya.” 

Forstater was laid off due to a string of tweets in opposition to the Gender Recognition Act in the United Kingdom. The act allows residents to legally change their gender. It did not infringe on the creation of single or separate sex spaces, which the government addressed a year prior to Rowling and Forstater’s criticisms. 

In an employment tribunal on Dec. 18, 2019, Employment Judge James Taylor ruled that Forstater’s departure was not discriminatory.

Nevertheless, Rowling kept on with her support of Forstater, arguing that Forstater was wrongfully removed from her job. 

“Dress however you please,” she said. “Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real?”

 

Seven months later, Rowling outraged fans and critics alike in another online rant about gender.

Rowling cited an opinions column from social enterprise site Devex on June 6 of last year. 

The article discussed the heightened vulnerabilities that people who menstruate face during the pandemic due to potential risk of infection. Rowling criticized not the content of the article, but the word choice for people who menstruate, which would include nonbinary individuals.

‘People who menstruate,’” she wrote. “I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

Rowling later backtracked due to the severe controversy of her first tweet.

I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives,” she said. “It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”

 

Four days later, she released a blog post to her website that reached nearly 4,000 words. In it, she referenced her tweet defending Forstater and doubled down on the biological basis of gender.

I’ve read all the arguments about femaleness not residing in the sexed body, and the assertions that biological women don’t have common experiences, and I find them, too, deeply misogynistic and regressive,” she said.

Most recently, Rowling released her new novel “Troubled Blood.” Rowling, under the pen name Robert Galbraith, wrote about a cross-dressing serial killer, which many have criticized as playing into the stereotpye that transgender people are violent.

Part of a series, “Trouble Blood” was the fifth Rowling novel to follow the noir dealings of detective Cormoran Strike. And it was not the only book of its series to have transphobic elements.

Fans and critics have seen Rowling lean into the same tropes in the series’ second novel, “The Silkworm,” which features a transgender woman who attempts to stab the main protagonist. The protagonist then goes on to antagonize the woman about her transness, as a 2019 Vice article explains.

Several beloved actors involved in the film series spoke out against Rowling shortly after she made waves in June of last year.

In fact, the original three musketeers – or Harry, Hermione and Ron – have all contested her claims against the transgender community.

Rupert Grint, known for his portrayal of Ron Weasley, distanced himself from Rowling’s remarks in a BBC News interview. BBC News published his statement on June 12. It read, “Trans women are women. Trans men are men. We should all be entitled to live with love and without judgment.”

Emma Watson posted tweets in response to the author on June 10.

“Trans people are who they say are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are,” she said. 

 

And even the boy with the lightning bolt scar spoke against Rowling.

Daniel Radcliffe spoke through a heartfelt message posted as a blog from The Trevor Project. The message written by and signed by Radcliffe was posted on June 8.

“Transgender women are women,” he said. “Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo [Rowling] or I.”

If HBO Max ever does push forward with a new chapter of the “Harry Potter” franchise, the streaming service is sure to face an uneasy audience.