Note: contains mild spoilers for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
As the seasons change, the nights draw long and the planet we stand upon ever turns, so it is that internet fans get very excited about something that doesn’t exist. The circle of life continues.
And in this case, it was fans of Harry Potter who got themselves all het up about an imaginary project, with an ominous tease by JK Rowling (tweeting an intriguing new logo of a Death Eater’s Dark Mark) starting rumours that a movie adaptation of stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was imminent.
So is Albus Severus Potter’s story ready to hit the big screen? Well… no.
As it turned out, there is no movie – instead, Rowling was teasing a brand refresh for the Cursed Child’s imagery and signage – and really, we shouldn’t have been all that surprised.
After all, for years Rowling and Warner Bros have been beset by rumours that the Cursed Child was headed to the silver screen, first kicking off in earnest in 2016 before the play even opened.
Still, fans didn’t let up on the rumour (after all, the Fantastic Beasts trilogy she mentions here has spread to five films now, so Rowling can clearly change her mind) – which led yet more Harry Potter grandees, including Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movie director David Yates, to try and quash the rumours.
“There’s something unique and special [in] keeping it as a play,” he said in 2016. “It’s a shame to then say ‘Let’s turn it into a movie’.
“It’s a brave and incredibly successful way of presenting these classic characters,” he added. “The guys who created it have done such a wonderful job and it’s such a different medium.”
Despite Yates’ assurances, however, within a year more concrete rumours emerged that Warner Bros. (the studio behind the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movies) was trying to develop a Cursed Child movie.
Speaking on the Unofficial Universal Orlando podcast, journalist Jim Hill said, “I have heard that Warner Bros has actually had conversations with [Emma], with Rupert, and, of course, Daniel about Cursed Child, because they want this to be, for lack of a better term, Harry Potter: The Force Awakens.”
“They want this trilogy of movies to have the actors that we know and love from the original films, that we watched grow up, as adults,” he added.
“And, of course, they’re hiring a bunch of new, younger actors to play their children with the hope that, if we can lean on JK, maybe there’ll be The Cursed Adolescent.”
So was this the case? Apparently not, as Rowling quickly made clear on her Twitter account.
I know a lot of people are looking for reasons to be cheerful today, but there is NO TRUTH to the rumour about a #CursedChild movie trilogy!— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) January 20, 2017
Now, two years on, Rowling’s latest tease reignited suspicions about a Cursed Child movie all over again, requiring official website Pottermore to wade in with a bit of a clarification about the play’s big rebranding.
For now, then, as explained over and over again, there is no Cursed Child movie in the pipeline. But will there EVER be one?
Well, we’d never say never. While the Cursed Child is still making (quite a bit of) money in the West End, on Broadway and in locations in San Francisco, Hamburg, Melbourne and Toronto, we don’t see why Rowling and her team would feel the need to turn it into a movie.
Put simply, multiple sold-out theatre runs are a good way to make money, so why risk removing fans’ interest in seeing the show by creating a mass-market, cheaper-to-watch version of the story that a lot of people will just see in a weekend?
By making a Cursed Child film they’d be crippling the stage version (even if there were some changes in adaptation, which there inevitably would be), so it’s not hard to see why they wouldn’t want to infringe on their own success.
More likely is that in a few years’ time, when Cursed Child nears the end of its theatrical run (assuming it doesn’t just go on forever like The Mouse Trap) and the market for Harry Potter onstage is drying up, THEN the potential for a film adaptation could be explored.
At that stage, they wouldn’t be robbing their own pocket to make a movie – instead, they’d be creating something that every Potter fan, having already paid to see the Cursed Child onstage, would pay to see again in the cinema. And if it was a long enough gap that the original Potter cast – or at least Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson – were the right age to play their older characters, well, so much the better (though they might struggle to entice Robert Pattinson to play Cedric Diggory again).
In other words, Potter fans desperate for a Cursed Child film might just need to wait – probably quite a few years – to get their wish. And until then, at least we’ll have these movie rumours cropping up every year or so to keep us entertained.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is running in London’s West End and other locations worldwide