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Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

Harry Potter franchise team should assure that Pottermania will go on

By Jeff Peterson, For the Deseret News

Published: Wed, Aug. 13 4:30 p.m. MDT

 Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, Emma Watson as Hermione Granger and Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley in Warner Bros. Pictures’ fantasy adventure “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2.\

Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, Emma Watson as Hermione Granger and Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley in Warner Bros. Pictures’ fantasy adventure “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2."

(Jaap Buitendijk)

If there was ever a worry after the last Harry Potter movie came out in theaters that fans of J.K. Rowling's world of witchcraft and wizardry would have to say goodbye to new content, recent developments at Warner Bros. suggest that won’t be the case.

It was recently announced that Warner Bros. Entertainment has set up a dedicated team specifically to manage and expand the Harry Potter brand.

Called the Harry Potter Global Franchise Development team — HPGFD for short — it will have headquarters in both Burbank and London with a goal to “develop and execute a high-level strategic vision for the Harry Potter brand and its ancillary businesses,” according to a statement released by Warner Bros.

This move, the studio says, “reflects the continuing expansion of the Harry Potter franchise."

Among the current projects the group will oversee are the development of the upcoming film series based on Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”; Harry Potter attractions in England, the United States and Japan; a Harry Potter stage play opening in London’s West End that focuses on the boy wizard’s pre-Hogwarts life at the Dursleys’ home; and a number of digital services, including the interactive Pottermore website.

This news follows last year’s “expanded creative partnership” with Rowling, which resulted in the announcement of “Fantastic Beasts” and rumblings of other possible spinoffs in the works.

As a nearly $8 billion movie franchise, it’s not hard to imagine why Warner Bros. wants to keep Pottermania alive. And given things like the response a 1,500-word story Rowling released on her website recently got or the seven-hour wait times for the new Diagon Alley section at Universal Studios Florida, it seems fans are just as eager.

Rowling, however, maintains that she is content to continue writing about her (muggle) detective Cormoran Strike. Having already finished a third novel in the series, she recently told an audience at a crime-writing festival in England that she expects the Cormoran Strike series to outnumber the Harry Potter books, according to the BBC.

“I really love writing these books, so I don’t know that I’ve got an end point in mind,” she said. “One of the things I absolutely love about this genre is that, unlike Harry, where there was an overarching story, a beginning and an end, you’re talking about discrete stories. So while a detective lives, you can keep giving him cases.”

With Warner Bros. newly focused on expanding the Potter brand, though, fans can always hold out hope that Rowling might be lured back to write more than just screenplays set in the Potterverse.

Jeff Peterson is a native of Utah Valley and studied humanities and history at Brigham Young University. Along with the Deseret News, he also contributes to the film discussion website FilmInquiry.com.

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1. John Charity Spring
Back Home in Davis County, UT,
Aug. 13, 2014

Pottermania most certainly should die. It has no redeeming value whatsoever.

No reasonable person can deny that the Potter series is nothing short of subversive. It is quite blatant in its promotion of European style post Christian socialist dogma.

Good riddance to this series. At least now Rowling's views are being promoted in books aimed at adults rather than children.

2. ArizonaMormon
Mesa, AZ,
Aug. 14, 2014

@John Charit Spring

Harry Potter is post-Christian socialist dogma? I'm sorry, but no. Not everything is political, and not everything needs to be defined within a framework of left or right, liberal or conservative.

Harry Potter is a (very entertaining) series of young adult books. That's it. Nothing more, nothing less.

3. Understands Math
Lacey, WA,
Aug. 14, 2014

@John Charity Spring wrote: "No reasonable person can deny that the Potter series is nothing short of subversive. It is quite blatant in its promotion of European style post Christian socialist dogma."

A straight white male who inherits a huge fortune from his father (probably a member of the 1%) saves the world through his own initiative and the initiative of his friends despite government interference?

What part of that is socialist? Sounds more like an Ayn Rand fantasy to me.

(Full disclosure: Big fan of Harry Potter, not a fan of Ayn Rand.)

4. SLCMom
Salt Lake City, UT,
Aug. 14, 2014

I'll never forget the day we began reading the first Harry Potter book as a family. It was magical! My children fell in love with books all over again. When I reached the end of a chapter they begged me to read the next one and the next. It's hard to believe that it's already time for a whole new generation to be introduced to the world of Harry Potter and I'm excited for them to begin their own magical journey. I hope that the children will be reading the books, and not just watching the movies and buying the merchandise. Anything that inspires children to read, imagine and feel joy is very worthwhile! These stories foster wonderful values, and promote goodness overcoming evil. I wish there were many more books like these for our children. Anyone who spouts negativity, criticism and accusations towards these books must either have a very cold heart, or never have even read them.