2016 Brings Exciting News for Potterheads

2016 is shaping up to be a significant year for Harry Potter fans across the globe.

Author J. K. Rowling has already written the screenplay for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, coming to theaters this fall. A prequel to the original Potter books, the film will follow magizoologist Newt Scamander as he tracks down an array of magical creatures in 1926 New York. It stars Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston, with Rowling also as a producer alongside David Yates, Steve Kloves, and Lionel Wigram, who were all involved in the Harry Potter film series.

Adding to the excitement, Universal Studios Hollywood will be opening doors to its brand-new theme park, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter on April 7. Visitors can “explore the mysteries of Hogwarts castle, visit the shops of Hogsmeade, and sample fare from some of the wizarding world’s best-known establishments”, as well as “experience pulse-pounding rides and attractions that transport you into a world of magical thrills and excitement”.

The park features the signature ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, in 3-D for the first time, as well as Universal Studios’ first outdoor roller coaster, Flight of the Hippogriff.  

Supervising art director Alan Gilmore compared the attraction to a “giant film set”. Indeed, all of the shops and settings have been painstakingly recreated from the films, including Honeydukes, Ollivanders, Zonko’s Joke Shop, Gladrags Wizardwear, and The Three Broomsticks.

It’s all based in absolute reality, so it’s not really fantasy, as such; it’s more heightened reality.” Gilmore told Entertainment Weekly. “We’ve taken real buildings and we’ve referenced real architecture and made it more Harry Potter.”

Fans eagerly await the debut of the two-part play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in London’s West End this summer. Rowling announced on February 10 through Pottermore that the Special Rehearsal Edition of the script would be published in both print and digital form on July 31 at 12:01 AM – one day after the play’s world premiere, as well as Harry Potter’s 36th birthday. Following this news, preorders have already propelled the publication to the #1 spot on the Amazon books chart.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child picks up nineteen years after the battle of Hogwarts, and is based on an original story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany. Actors Jamie Parker, Paul Thornley, and Noma Dumezweni will be playing Harry, Ron, and Hermione, respectively.

The eighth story will pick up from the epilogue of Deathly Hallows, where we last saw Harry sending off his eldest children to Hogwarts at Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. Plot details haven’t been fully disclosed, but Pottermore has released the official synopsis:

“It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.”

Rowling later clarified via Twitter that the play manuscript was neither a novel nor a prequel. Nevertheless, it still is very exciting news for hardcore Potter fans.