The Harry Potter reunion special, Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, is now streaming on HBO Max and while most of the cast and more came together for the special, there was one noteworthy absence. Harry Potter creator and author J.K. Rowling did not appear in the special which featured, among others, stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint. Rowling also did not contribute a new interview for the special and now the reason for her absence has been confirmed. According to Entertainment Weekly, Rowling was invited to participate in the special, but her team ultimately decided that previous comments from Rowling were sufficient for the reunion. The special ended up including archival footage of Rowling from 2019.
Entertainment Weekly‘s report noted that Rowling’s controversial transphobic comments was not a part in the decision for the author’s absence in the reunion. Rowling has come under fire from fans in recent years after a series of anti-trans tweets and remains a polarizing figure. Harry Potter stars Grint, Radcliffe, and Watson have all voiced support for the trans community, with Radcliffe in particular writing a statement on The Trevor Project in 2020 condemning Rowling’s words.
“To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished, I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you. I really hope that you don’t entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you,” a part of Radcliffe’s op-ed read. “If these books taught you that love is the strongest force in the universe, capable of overcoming anything; if they taught you that strength is found in diversity, and that dogmatic ideas of pureness lead to the oppression of vulnerable groups; if you believe that a particular character is trans, nonbinary, or gender fluid, or that they are gay or bisexual; if you found anything in these stories that resonated with you and helped you at any time in your life — then that is between you and the book that you read, and it is sacred. And in my opinion, nobody can touch that. It means to you what it means to you, and I hope that these comments will not taint that too much.”
While Rowling did not participate in the reunion special, there were no shortage of others involved. In addition to Radcliffe, Watson, and Grint, their former costars Tom Felton, Matthew Lewis, Bonnie Wright, Evanna Lynch, James and Oliver Phelps, Alfred Enoch, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Mark Williams, Ian Hart, and Toby Jones all participated. Additionally, franchise producer Davide Heyman as well as directors Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuaron, Mike Newell, and David Yates also appear.
Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts is now streaming on HBO Max.