Despite 2021 marking ten years since the films ended and 14 since the books concluded, the Harry Potter franchise is still going strong. From attracting top-tier talent such as Mads Mikkelsen for key roles to unexpected, medium-hopping expansions of J.K. Rowling’s story, the captivating universe the famed author built over the course of a decade continues to rock the world. Now, we have received reports that the franchise is wanting to go darker, which is both fascinating and concerning.
Gossip writer Daniel Richtman brings word of the Harry Potter franchise’s potential jump to dark, R-rated fare. According to Richtman, Warner Bros. is currently exploring the potential of the idea. Honestly, it is possible but not recommended. This is just a rumor so take it as you will, but it seems plausible considering how much the people helping Rowling with her world want to expand on her characters and concepts. Still, this is risky, and it could alienate viewers who are younger but just as—if not more—into the story than older fans may be.
And that’s the thing. Part of the appeal of the Harry Potter franchise was how relevant it was to everyone and their personal journeys. Through the young, bespectacled boy wizard, Rowling communicated universal feelings of love, loss, friendship, and longing, things we have all felt at one point or another in our lives. She did a phenomenal job making these characters timeless, and it’s not unreasonable to fear that going R-rated would not be conducive to a Potter project’s success.
J.K. Rowling already explored the darker side of the Wizarding World in the latter three Harry Potter books, so an R-rated Potter movie would need to delve even deeper into the dark underbelly of Rowling’s beloved universe. But as the series stands, there are already a handful of moments that are far too dark for people on the younger end of its audience. How much darker should they really go?
The first Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the United States) hit bookshelves in June 1997 and became an instant bestseller, flying off the racks faster than Harry can leap on a broom. Each successive installment sold a crazy number of copies, with the final four books becoming some of the fastest-selling books of all time.
Since the release of the series-capping Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 2007, a play titled Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has since debuted both on London’s West End and on Broadway. And there were, of course, the eight films that more-or-less captured the magic of Rowling’s seminal series.
The Harry Potter universe continues to grow and evolve, mainly through its Fantastic Beasts franchise and that open-world Wizarding World game we were promised recently.
It isn’t clear if this rumor is true or not yet, but it is certainly interesting to discuss. How would the makers of an R-rated Harry Potter movie go about going even darker? Rowling got super dark in her last two books, so whatever the filmmakers decide on had better be messed up enough to justify that rating.