The Harry Potter film franchise turns 20 this year, and fans just received the best birthday gift ever: a Harry Potter reunion with Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson, all together for the first time in more than a decade, in addition to so many stars from the beloved series. Announced on Nov. 16, the Harry Potter: Return to Hogwarts special will premiere Jan. 1. Per HBO Max, the anniversary event is set to feature “all-new in-depth interviews and cast conversations, inviting fans on a magical first-person journey” through the making of Harry Potter history.
Watson took to Instagram to celebrate the special and reflect on her time playing Hermione. “Harry Potter was my home, my family, my world and Hermione (still is) my favorite fictional character of all time,” she wrote. “I think a journalist once said it was irritating how many times during an interview I mentioned how lucky I was and started counting … BUT I DAMN WELL KNEW!!! And still know.”
Can’t wait for the reunion? Throw on your house colors and gear up. Here’s everything to know about the Harry Potter: Return to Hogwarts streaming special.
Harry Potter: Return To Hogwarts Trailer
Fittingly, the first teaser for Harry Potter: Return to Hogwarts includes an allusion to the passage of time, via monologue from Professor Dumbledore. “Mysterious thing, time,” he says in the clip, released on Nov. 16. “When in doubt, I find retracing my steps to be a wise place to begin.” Clips of some of the franchise’s most memorable moments followed, including Harry facing off with Voldemort, Ron’s flying Ford Anglia, and a heated quidditch match.
In a second teaser released on Dec. 6, HBO Max offered viewers a very brief first look at the special’s star-studded content to come. At the top of the clip, someone who appears to be Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter) is reading a Daily Prophet newspaper with the headline: “Special Edition: Hogwarts Welcomes Back Alumni.” Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), and Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) are then seen receiving wax-sealed invitations to Hogwarts, followed by a shot of Arthur Weasley (Mark Williams) boarding the Hogwarts Express train, and several others walking towards the iconic 9¾ platform at Kings Cross Station.
On Dec. 20, HBO Max released the first official trailer for the reunion special, and it shows the cast relieving their happiest memories, similar to how Harry instructs when teaching the Patronus Charm. “When things get really dark and times are really hard, there’s something about Harry Potter that makes life richer,” Watson says.
Harry Potter: Return To Hogwarts Cast
In addition to Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson as the iconic trio of Harry, Ron, and Hermione, you can expect to see a seriously stacked lineup at the upcoming special — starting with Chris Columbus, director of the first two films. The actors returning to Hogwarts include Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange), Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid), Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort), Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy), Gary Oldman (Sirius Black), Imelda Staunton (Dolores Umbridge), Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), James Phelps (Fred Weasley), Oliver Phelps (George Weasley), Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley), Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley), Alfred Enoch (Dean Thomas), Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), and Ian Hart (Professor Quirrell). But be prepared for a surprise or two, because HBO Max mentioned “others” would join the reunion as well.
This is not the first time Harry Potter actors have reunited — last year, for example, Felton hosted Radcliffe, Grint, and many more co-stars for a virtual livestream, and the annual Celebration of Harry Potter event at Universal Orlando served as a sort of standing reunion for several years. Plus, as Radcliffe revealed to Today in 2020, he’s definitely still in touch with his friends from Hogwarts. However, the Day 1 trio of Harry, Ron, and Hermione have not reunited in public since they bid farewell to the franchise in 2011 — making the upcoming special feel pretty, well, special.
On Dec. 15, HBO Max released the first image of the cast back together again, and it’ll give you flashbacks to the first time you saw the crew come together at Hogwarts.
Harry Potter: Return To Hogwarts Release Date
The Harry Potter reunion is arriving at the perfect time to throw on your Weasley jumper. Harry Potter: Return to Hogwarts will premiere Jan. 1 on HBO Max, “as the clock strikes midnight,” the streamer reports. Beyond New Year’s Day, fans will be able to watch the special this spring on TBS and Cartoon Network.
This post will be updated with additional details as more information on Harry Potter: Return to Hogwarts becomes available.
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