Twenty years ago, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone kicked off an epic eight-film adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s acclaimed novels that not only changed the lives of fans, but of the cast and crew that made them. And to celebrate the occasion, HBO is taking viewers back to Harry and Co.’s old stomping grounds in a new reunion special, Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts. While the special was first announced last month, HBO Max has finally released a first look at what fans can expect to see.
In the opening moments of the trailer, it’s easy to mistake it as a clip from a new Harry Potter sequel. As cast members return to the various iconic sets of the films — platform 9 3/4, Diagon Alley, Hogwarts’ Great Hall — the line between their characters and their true personas seems to slip away. In some emotional interview footage, reunited stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson openly refer to each other as family. As Grint says, that’s because they’ve watched each other grow up and have maintained their personal connections in the 10 years since the final Harry Potter film hit theaters. And there’s a lot of hugging.
The rest of the Hogwarts wizarding class is represented by Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley), Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George), Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom), Alfred Enoch (Dean Thomas), and Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood). But the young(er) actors aren’t the only ones returning for the special. The elders have returned, too, with Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort), Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange), Gary Oldman (Sirius Black), Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley), and Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid) all sharing memories of their time working on the films. In the trailer, Fiennes recalls the role that his family played in getting him to sign on to play the primary villain of the films. As for Bonham Carter, she shares one of her favorite scenes in the films.
Notably absent is Rowling herself, who has become somewhat of a controversial figure due to her anti-trans comments and was not interviewed for the special. Rowling does appear in archive footage, however. Regardless, the creative side of the Harry Potter films will be represented by producer David Heyman and directors Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuarón, Mike Newell, and David Yates.
HBO Max subscribers will get the first chance to watch Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return To Hogwarts on January 1, 2022. However, it will also run on TBS and Cartoon Network in spring 2022 alongside the cable broadcast premiere of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
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