The Harry Potter play hasn't officially opened yet, but Potterheads are already wondering: Will there be a Cursed Child movie? The studio responsible for making the Harry Potter films and video games, Warner Bros., filed for a U.K. trademark on "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" on July 8, leading to wild speculation about its intentions for the Cursed Child intellectual property (IP).
Irish IP solicitor Brian Conroy uncovered the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child trademark on July 13, and the news was quickly picked up by media outlets. The application's list of goods includes "[m]otion picture films ... and motion picture films for broadcast on television," along with video games and varied merchandise.
Earlier this year, J.K. Rowling tweeted that there would be no Harry Potter and the Cursed Child movie, and assured Potterheads that they would have a trilogy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them films to look forward to. As Film notes, however, Rowling also said the production would "explore the previously untold story of Harry’s early years as an orphan and outcast," when she announced the Harry Potter play back in 2013.
Although this is all speculation, in a July 14 follow-up post, Conroy makes several good points regarding the studio's intentions. Firstly, to register a trademark as a mere placeholder violates the U.K.'s Trade Marks Act 1994, and the studio must release Harry Potter and the Cursed Child goods within five years in order to secure its ownership. Otherwise, someone else could apply to use the IP themselves.
Secondly, Rowling currently owns several "The Cursed Child" trademarks. Registrations for the other Harry Potter titles, such as The Goblet of Fire and The Order of the Phoenix, belong to Warner Bros. Conroy notes that, if Rowling ever held the trademarks for those titles, they've been transferred since the studio obtained film and merchandising rights.
Thirdly, because of the similarity between "The Cursed Child" and "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," Warner Bros. could not conceivably expect to retain rights to their new trademark without Rowling's consent. The author and studio seem to have had a good relationship for the last 17 years, since Warner Bros. bought the film rights to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in 1999, which makes it highly unlikely that the WB would do this without Rowling's knowledge and permission.
So, yeah, it looks like we'll be getting a Harry Potter and the Cursed Child film somewhere down the line. As GamesRadar+ observes, the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them trilogy won't wrap up until 2020, so we probably won't see a Cursed Child movie until at least 2021 — just inside the trademark application's five-year limit. Also, that will be 10 years since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 hit theaters, and, although it's not the 19 years noted by the epilogue, the original Golden Trio actors will be older, possibly even primed for a comeback.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child makes its official debut at the Palace Theatre London on July 30. The Harry Potter play script will be available on July 31, wherever books are sold.
Image: Warner Bros.