Warner Bros. Plotting the Future of Harry Potter Without J.K. Rowling

The cast and crew of Harry Potter are reuniting for a 20th anniversary special on HBO Max but the franchise's creator, J.K. Rowling will not be participating.

Return to Hogwarts will feature the movies' central trio Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson reunite along with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone director, Chris Columbus.

Several other notable cast members will be present for the January 1 special including Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Imelda Staunton, Tom Felton, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Mark Williams, Bonnie Wright, Alfred Enoch, Matthew Lewis, Evanna Lynch and Ian Hart.

Rowling's absence from this star-studded lineup is noteworthy as up until now the films had close involvement from the author, with her writing the screenplays for the more recent Fantastic Beasts movies as well.

However, with the anniversary special announcement comes Warner Bros. plans for a post-Rowling future for Harry Potter.

According to the press release from the production company, not only is Rowling not in Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts but there is also no mention of her in an upcoming Harry Potter quiz show that is also in the works.

A source told The Hollywood Reporter that while Rowling is not directly involved in either production, the 56-year-old had input with her team on the content.

She will be included in archival footage for the special but will not be a part of the reunion.

JK Rowling
Actors Rupert Grint, Author JK 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. Gareth Davies/Getty Images

Rowling controls the rights to the franchise and is involved in decision-making relating to its properties.

This announcement certainly implies that while she is still ultimately in charge of her creation and what happens to it, she will have a less prominent role going forward.

Rowling has faced much criticism in recent years for her controversial remarks about transgender people.

"It has been an incredible journey since the debut of the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone film, and witnessing how it has evolved into this remarkable interconnected universe has been magical to say the least," said Tom Ascheim, President, Warner Bros. Global Kids, Young Adults and Classics said of the anniversary special.

"This retrospective is a tribute to everyone whose lives were touched by this cultural phenomenon—from the talented cast and crew who poured their heart and soul into this extraordinary film franchise to the passionate fans who continue to keep the Wizarding World spirit alive 20 years later."

Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts will stream January 1, 2022 on HBO Max.