Streaming, Television, What to Watch
Feb 27, 2024

The Total Scoop So Far on 2026’s ‘Harry Potter’ TV Series Coming to Max

At its Max streaming event in April 2023, Warner Bros. Discovery confirmed a new era is coming for Harry Potter fans. The company announced a TV series is being developed based on all seven books about the boy wizard written by author J.K. Rowling. 

Image Still: Warner Bros.

We do wonder who will be the new golden trio.

“This new Max Original series will dive deep into each of the iconic books that fans have continued to enjoy for all of these years,” said Casey Bloys, Chairman and CEO, HBO & Max Content about the project, which he also assured fans would be “a faithful adaptation.”

Early speculation about the series posited that each season of the series would be focusing on one book in the Harry Potter book series, which consists of seven novels, but Bloys said the project would run for “10 consecutive years,” which would seem to defy the 1 season, 1 book assertion. For those who say Fantastic Beasts could be leveraged to provide 10 seasons over 10 years, Warner Brothers top execs have said specifically during the announcement that Fantastic Beasts will not be a part of the series.

Warner Brothers executive Bloys has promised that, as the company embarks on its new Harry Potter adventure, “We do so with the full care and craft of this franchise.”

 In recent months Warner Bros. invited a select team of writers in to pitch ideas for what the series could be. They were Martha Hillier, Kathleen Jordan, Tom Moran and Michael Lesslie. Now, the streaming service and Warner Bros. Television have narrowed it to Jordan, Moran and newer addition Francesca Gardiner, sources said.

Deadline broke the news last month that Succession writer Francesca Gardiner is among the finalists. Gardiner was a consulting producer on Seasons 3 and 4 of HBO’s Succession. Before working on the Jesse Armstrong creation, she was an exec producer of HBO and BBC fantasy co-production His Dark Materials and was a co-exec producer of AMC’s Killing Eve. She has also written on shows including Starz’s The Rook and Amazon’s The Man In The High Castle.

Jordan created Netflix series Teenage Bounty Hunters. Jordan is also working with the Orange Is The New Black streamer on The Decameron, which received a series order in 2022.

Tom Moran is a British writer, who created Amazon series The Devil’s Hour, which starred Peter Capaldi. He also worked on Amazon sci-fi series The Feed and Rob Lowe cop drama Wild Bill.

It’s a mix of British and American writers up for the gig with fierce competition. The one thing they all have in common is working in the sci/fi/fantasy space of television writing.

The word on the street is the group of writers were commissioned by Max to create pitches for a series reflecting their take on the IP. Rowling is understood to be involved in this pitching process. The trio will be able to hone in on their pitches for the next couple of months, with a decision on who gets the job expected in June. 

The series is expected to be on air in 2026, according to Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav.

“We’ve not been shy about our excitement around Harry Potter,” Zaslav told Wall Street analysts on the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call. “I was in London a few weeks ago with Casey [Bloys, CEO of HBO] and Channing [Dungey, chairperson of Warner Bros Television] and we spent some real time with JK and her team,” he enthused. “Both sides just thrilled to be reigniting this franchise. Our conversations were great.”

There will be new actors playing the series’ main characters, but no one has been cast yet. Warner Bros. TV Group Chairman Channing Dungey said recently that that casting will come after they find a showrunner.

As for that, Warner Bros. is very likely looking to cast young actors, given that they’re proceeding through Rowling’s books in order. “The tricky part is the first two books, where the kids are on the younger end, around 11 or 12,” Said Dungey, of the casting process.

“We have been trying to be very close to the vest,” said Bloys. “We haven’t gone out to agencies. We have our own internal process where we’ve been thinking about people but we have not wanted to go out into the world. Now that the news is out there…we’ll start going out to the business.”

As for a return of any of the film franchise’s stars — like Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson or Rupert Grint — never say never. It would certainly be a PR boost for the series and, while new actors will be cast in the primary roles, there are always flashforwards or the currently en vogue multiverse plot ploy that could create space for more familiar faces in the series. Daniel Radcliffe has said he’s fine sitting on the sidelines.

Will author J.k. Rowling be involved? Yes. A deal for J.K. Rowling’s involvement in the series had been the biggest hurdle in its path to the screen: The author has creative control over any exploitation of her work. That agreement was finalized in 2023.

J.K. Rowling and longtime creative partners Neil Blair and Ruth Kenley-Letts are exec producing, so she is expected to be involved in the decision-making on the series. David Heyman, who developed the films, was talks to do the same. Rowling’s Brontë Film and TV is producing with Warner Bros. Television. Brontë Film and TV was founded by Rowling and her literary agent, Neil Blair, in 2012.

“Max’s commitment to preserving the integrity of my books is important to me, and I’m looking forward to being part of this new adaptation which will allow for a degree of depth and detail only afforded by a long form television series,” said Rowling in a statement.