When something as monumental as the original cast of Harry Potter making a 20th-anniversary reunion is announced, you don't just sit tight and go about your mundane routines like all is well. All is not well, thank you very much, but for a very good reason I am happy to harp about until New Year's next year, which is the day this HBO special is released for all Potterheads—including the now closeted ones—to enjoy.
For those who have grown up alongside Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as the synonymous Harry, Ron and Hermione, you'd have probably assumed that a post-Deathly Hallows Part 2 reality would never see the same actors appear on the same silver screen again. Or at least for the same reason, which is this pivotal, 2000s-pop-culture-staple fantasy franchise.
Entering the entertainment scene after graduating from Hogwarts saw this trio going to great lengths to move away from their Potter personas to reinvent themselves. But press interviews always reveal otherwise—for them, playing the same character for a near entirety of one's formative years has left nothing but warmth and fond memories, the characters now almost always embraced and held in a special place in their hearts, as they should.
The point is, Harry Potter is returning after all these years. Yes, after all these years. It's been quite a while and sometimes it can feel like a struggle to prove that one is a Potterhead even when they don't consume as much HP content as compared to when they were in the thick of it. Consider these scenes: unriddling Tom Marvolo Riddle's identity; Harry teaching Dumbledore's Army to cast their own Patronuses; Hermione punching Draco in the face after he calls her Mudblood; Harry cradling Dobby at the beach by Shell Cottage.
They may not be pivotal plot climaxes, but if you felt something stir after reading about these snippets of the world we were once so immersed in, this is more than enough proof that these stories live on, in us—after all, these books and films are memories of your childhood too. Pivotal fictional worlds like these are what allow people from all over the world to bond over shared yet unique memories of the magic, and that, never fades.
So what can one expect to see in the retrospective special? In-depth cast interviews and exclusive behind-the-scenes moments from the eight movies that hope to honour the magic behind the making of the films. So far, the lineup includes: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Imelda Staunton, Gary Oldman, Jason Isaacs, Tom Felton, James and Oliver Phelps, Mark Williams, Bonnie Wright, Alfred Enoch, Matthew Lewis, Evanna Lynch, Chris Columbus, and more.
If you need Potterverse translation, that is Harry, Ron, Hermione, Bellatrix Lestrange, Hagrid, HWMNBN, Dolores Umbridge, Sirius Black, Lucius Malfoy, Draco Malfoy, Fred and George Weasley, Arthur Weasley, Ginny Weasley, Dean Thomas, Neville Longbottom, Luna Lovegood, the director of Philosopher's Stone and Chamber of Secrets, and more.
Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts will air on 1 January 2022 exclusively on streaming platform HBO Max.