Everything we know about Harry Potter reunion special Return to Hogwarts
It's been 20 years since the Boy Who Lived... well, lived.
Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and some of their most recognizable colleagues from the Harry Potter-verse reunited for a special that marks the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, which officially hit theaters Nov. 16, 2001.
Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts now lands on HBO Max on the first day of 2022 with rare behind-the-scenes footage, cast interviews, and tidbits about the making of the wizarding world on screen. We're already kicking off the new year on a positive note.
To prepare yourselves for the moment, here's everything we know about the special.
How to watch the Harry Potter reunion special
Starting with the obvious, it's on HBO Max. Return to Hogwarts will be available to stream on the platform at midnight Pacific Time on Jan. 1, meaning East Coasters will have to wait until 3 a.m. ET on New Year's Day. If you don't have access — either through the ad-supported option or the ad-free plan — there are other avenues for you to watch, but you'll be waiting a long time.
WarnerMedia confirmed Return to Hogwarts will air on TBS and Cartoon Network sometime in the spring of 2022 ahead of the theatrical release for Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, which is presently scheduled to hit theaters on April 15, 2022. No further information is available at this time.
Those wanting to watch the reunion outside of the U.S. can still experience the special on HBO Max. WarnerMedia continues to debut the platform internationally, with the Nordics and Spain being added to the rollout in October. A press release for the Harry Potter reunion mentions "more details to come" at a future date for the larger global debut for the special.
Which Harry Potter stars are reuniting for Return to Hogwarts?
There's a lot we know from what's revealed in the trailers, poster art, and press releases.
Aside from the main trio, Return to Hogwarts will highlight appearances from stars Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange), Robbie Coltrane (Rubeus Hagrid), Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort), Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy), Gary Oldman (Sirius Black), Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), James Phelps (Fred Weasley), Oliver Phelps (George Weasley), Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley), Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley), Alfred Enoch (Dean Thomas), Ian Hart (Professor Quirrell), Toby Jones (the voice of Dobby), Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom), and Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood).
Franchise producer David Heyman, who's been involved with every Harry Potter movie to date, including the Fantastic Beasts installments, will also feature with Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets director Chris Columbus, Prisoner of Azkaban director Alfonso Cuarón, Goblet of Fire director Mike Newell, and David Yates (who helmed the rest of the Potter films).
Grint told EW there was a familiar ease being around his costars again for the reunion. "Even though we hadn't really caught up much in between seeing each other, on the reunion day, it was like we didn't need to. It's like we're cousins."
What will the Harry Potter reunion cover?
Though the special is pegged to the anniversary of Sorcerer's Stone, it will cover all eight Potter films — from the casting of Radcliffe, Watson, and Grint at a young age through their teen years growing up on movie sets and finishing with Deathly Hallows — Part 2.
HBO Max promises "brand-new cast discussions," as well as "insights from the creative team behind the magic."
Glimpsed in the Return to Hogwarts trailer are behind-the-scenes footage from the making of these films and tearjerking moments with the cast reminiscing about the moments that touched their lives.
"I wouldn't be the person I am without so many people here," Radcliffe says.
"It's a strong bond we'll always have," Grint tells a crying Watson. "We're family."
What about the J.K. Rowling of it all?
Harry Potter creator and author J.K. Rowling will have a small part in Return to Hogwarts, despite all the controversy swirling around her.
WarnerMedia confirmed in a press release that "comments" from Rowling will be included in the special, though it had originally left her name off of reunion announcements and marketing materials.
Those comments, EW can confirm, are taken from archival interviews from years earlier. The writer was invited to participate in a new interview for the reunion, but sources tell EW Rowling's team felt that the previously shot footage was more than adequate.
Rowling, who states she's not transphobic, remains a polarizing figure for repeatedly spreading ideology linked to the anti-trans TERF movement (trans-exclusionary radical feminists), which rejects the idea that trans women are women.
Prominent LGBTQ organizations and activists continue to denounce such statements. Many Harry Potter stars, as well as Potter fan sites that have fueled the fandom, have distanced themselves from Rowling in recent years.
The controversy has created unstable ground for many Potter-loving fans, who grapple between their love of the stories Rowling created and supporting the LGBTQ community.
Where to rewatch all eight Harry Potter movies ahead of the reunion
Here's where physical media comes in handy, but there are still options for streaming the Harry Potter franchise.
The streaming rights to Potter seem to be constantly in flux, given the high demand for them. As of right now, both HBO Max and Peacock have shared custody of the movies, which is why you'll find them on both platforms even though they are offspring of Warner Bros., which is owned by WarnerMedia, which owns HBO Max.
That's because, years before the launch of the bounty of streaming services we know today, WarnerMedia leased some of the streaming and TV rights to Harry Potter through 2025. The movies arrived on Peacock as of October 2020, disappeared for a bit, and then re-apparated in 2021 as part of NBCUniversal's deal to stream them during "windows."
Physical media is looking pretty good right about now, isn't it?
- Harry Potter stars get emotional over reunion in Return to Hogwarts trailer: 'We're family'
- Eddie Redmayne forms his own suicide squad in first Fantastic Beasts 3 trailer
- See Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint reunite for Harry Potter anniversary special
- Rupert Grint says reconnecting with his Harry Potter costars was 'instant': 'It's like we're cousins'
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The cast and crew of the 'Harry Potter' movies reunite 20 years after the first film to look back on the making of a blockbuster franchise.