I always knew that a Harry Potter series would probably be inevitable, as HBO and Warner Bros. have been circling the concept for a while now. But I didn’t think it would be this soon, and I didn’t think it would be pitched as a literal decade-long project, which was just revealed this week.
Despite the original Harry Potter book series only running for seven installments, HBO Max, which has stupidly changed its name to just “Max,” has confirmed this as a decade-long project, something that is completely unheard of in the television industry, as even the highest profile, pot-committed projects like Amazon’s Rings of Power only promise five big-budget seasons or so. But…a decade? I’m already tired, man.
I suppose the idea here is that some of the later books are pretty much double the length of the earlier books, so you could split books 5, 6 and 7 into two seasons each. Book 7 was already split into two movies, after all. Or production just may make it so it takes ten years to get through seven seasons.
And speaking of the movies, that’s the main question here, as there’s so much talk about the new show being “faithful” to the original books and JK Rowling is on board as an executive producer to make sure things stick to the source material. And yet the original movies were extremely well-received and thought of as very faithful adaptions, minus some things that had to be cut for time.
But that’s done now. No more extensive editing needed. Let’s do some math here though:
If the average Harry Potter movie was around 2.5 hours long, and there were eight movies, that’s 20 hours of Harry Potter movies we’ve already gotten, which took around a decade to complete.
But let’s assume the Harry Potter show follows the format of most HBO productions with eight episode seasons of hour-long episodes. So eight hours a season times ten seasons, assuming they’re doing a season a year. That’s 80 hours of Harry Potter, four times the original. If instead they’re doing 7 seasons across ten years, accounting for some delays, that’s still 56 hours, almost triple the movies.
Certainly there were many things cut from the books, but I don’t think the movies suffered for it. Some of the things that were cut were actually good, including storylines like Hermione being mocked for championing the idea of freeing House Elf slaves, which was always a deeply strange book arc.
It also remains to be seen what major changes will be made from the films, which may include casting. Given JK Rowling’s previous statements that Hermione, the way she’s described in the books, could be black, I’m expecting a black actress to play her this time. Questions also are raised about more post-book comments from Rowling about Dumbledore being gay, something that never outright came up in the books or movies, or her regret that Hermione ended up with Ron instead of Harry, which would be a huge shift from the original finale of the books.
The existence of this show very much seemed inevitable, but commitment to a decade and 60-80 hours of Harry Potter? Man, it better be worth it.
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