Is J.K. Rowling Appearing in the HBO Max 'Harry Potter' Reunion?

Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts is HBO Max's upcoming reunion of the cinematic cast of the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, which turned 20 in November 2021.

The special comes to the streamer of January 1, 2022, and sees Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint reunited a decade after last playing Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley.

One figure, however, was conspicuously absent from the promotional materials around the reunion – the characters' creator J.K. Rowling.

With Rowling mired in multiple controversies over the years over her anti-transgender comments and defense of the controvesial actor Johnny Depp, fans were left wondering whether she had been snubbed from the reunion.

Is J.K. Rowling going to be in the Harry Potter reunion?

The answer is yes and no. Rowling will have a presence in the documentary, but is not involved in it.

How can that be the case? Because of the way the reunion has been put together.

The bulk of the special will be a cast reunion, starring not only Radcliffe, Watson and Grint but also former co-stars like Tom Felton and Matthew Lewis, as well as new interviews from Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Helena Bonham Carter and more.

Rowling will not be taking part in the reunion, and has not recorded an interview for the special according to Warner Bros.

However, she will appear in the reunion thanks to archive footage, as the documentary tells the story of the making of the multiple-billion dollar franchise.

JK Rowling
Actors Rupert Grint, Author J.K. Rowling, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson attend the world premiere of the first Harry Potter film, 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' at the Odeon Leicester Square, London, November 4, 2001. Rowling will not be joining the actors for the 20th anniversary reunion. Gareth Davies/Getty Images

Why is Rowling only appearing via archive footage? Warner Bros has not revealed exactly why, but the author rarely gives interviews these days. The last interview listed on her IMDB page was when she appeared on Today in 2018.

Some have read this as Warner Bros.' latest attempt to distance themselves from the controversial author. After she tweeted "erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives," in June 2020, the studio released a statement saying:

"The events in the last several weeks have firmed our resolve as a company to confront difficult societal issues. Warner Bros.' position on inclusiveness is well established, and fostering a diverse and inclusive culture has never been more important to our company and to our audiences around the world. We deeply value the work of our storytellers who give so much of themselves in sharing their creations with us all. We recognize our responsibility to foster empathy and advocate understanding of all communities and all people, particularly those we work with and those we reach through our content."

Rowling's comments were also condemned by numerous people who are set to appear in the Harry Potter reunion, including Radcliffe, Watson, Evanna Lynch and Bonnie Wright.

When the studio released the trailer for the third Fantastic Beasts film earlier this year, Rowling's name was noticeably absent from the trailer until it appeared at the very end among the small print of the promo. This is in contrast to the Crimes of Grindelwald trailer, which featured a title card promoting the fact the film was "from writer J.K. Rowling."