Have you heard of Harry Potter Jr.? No, we’re not talking about some obscure piece of fan fiction, we’re talking about the boy who navigates a world full of witches, wizards, and magic to save his family from a nefarious troll who has hidden his essence in someone close to the young hero. You know, the kid played by Noah Hathaway (The NeverEnding Story) in the movie Troll, the one that came out back in 1986, 15 years before Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
Of course, you probably have no idea what we’re talking about. That’s because Troll was a forgettable B-movie that never developed even a fraction of the following that the Harry Potter franchise has. Still, there are certainly some striking similarities between the two stories.
So why is this in the news now?
Well, it seems that Filmmakers John Buechler and Peter Davy have signed Academy Award-winning actress Patricia Arquette to star in an animated remake of Troll called Troll: The Rise of Harry Potter Jr. Since that name is worth quite a bit of money to quite a few people, the filmmakers have hired Entertainment Attorney Tom Girardi, hoping to head off any legal issues in advance.
The two men do not plan to sue the current Harry Potter franchise for copyright infringement, though Buechler says that, if it weren’t for “family matters,” he might have brought a lawsuit back when J.K. Rowling’s books first came out.
“We wanted to make sure that we weren’t going to be accused of plagiarism,” Davy told NBC Los Angeles. While Girardi added, “Even if someone who took it for a while makes it more valuable, that doesn’t take anything away from the fact that this is ours.”
A spokesperson for Warner Bros. and J.K. Rowling called Buechler and Davy’s claims “ridiculous” and the studio has released the following statement, “We will vigorously defend our intellectual property rights and challenge any unlawful attempt to capitalize on the extraordinary success of the Harry Potter franchise, as we told the filmmakers years ago.”
Rowling’s first Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Philosipher’s Stone, came out in 1997 but she has said that the idea for the young wizard’s story came “fully formed” into her mind while on a train trip from Manchester to London back in 1990.
Could she have been influenced by Troll, which had been released just four years prior?
We’ll likely never know for sure. Chalk this up as another intriguing mystery from a universe full of witchcraft and wizardry.