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Harry Potter franchise team should assure that Pottermania will go on

By Jeff Peterson

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 13 2014 4:30 p.m. MDT

Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, Emma Watson as Hermione Granger and Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley in Warner Bros. Pictures’ fantasy adventure “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2."

Jaap Buitendijk

If there was ever a worry after the last Harry Potter movie came out in theaters that fans of J.K. Rowling's world of witchcraft and wizardry would have to say goodbye to new content, recent developments at Warner Bros. suggest that won’t be the case.

It was recently announced that Warner Bros. Entertainment has set up a dedicated team specifically to manage and expand the Harry Potter brand.

Called the Harry Potter Global Franchise Development team — HPGFD for short — it will have headquarters in both Burbank and London with a goal to “develop and execute a high-level strategic vision for the Harry Potter brand and its ancillary businesses,” according to a statement released by Warner Bros.

This move, the studio says, “reflects the continuing expansion of the Harry Potter franchise."

Among the current projects the group will oversee are the development of the upcoming film series based on Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”; Harry Potter attractions in England, the United States and Japan; a Harry Potter stage play opening in London’s West End that focuses on the boy wizard’s pre-Hogwarts life at the Dursleys’ home; and a number of digital services, including the interactive Pottermore website.

This news follows last year’s “expanded creative partnership” with Rowling, which resulted in the announcement of “Fantastic Beasts” and rumblings of other possible spinoffs in the works.

As a nearly $8 billion movie franchise, it’s not hard to imagine why Warner Bros. wants to keep Pottermania alive. And given things like the response a 1,500-word story Rowling released on her website recently got or the seven-hour wait times for the new Diagon Alley section at Universal Studios Florida, it seems fans are just as eager.

Rowling, however, maintains that she is content to continue writing about her (muggle) detective Cormoran Strike. Having already finished a third novel in the series, she recently told an audience at a crime-writing festival in England that she expects the Cormoran Strike series to outnumber the Harry Potter books, according to the BBC.

“I really love writing these books, so I don’t know that I’ve got an end point in mind,” she said. “One of the things I absolutely love about this genre is that, unlike Harry, where there was an overarching story, a beginning and an end, you’re talking about discrete stories. So while a detective lives, you can keep giving him cases.”

With Warner Bros. newly focused on expanding the Potter brand, though, fans can always hold out hope that Rowling might be lured back to write more than just screenplays set in the Potterverse.

Jeff Peterson is a native of Utah Valley and studied humanities and history at Brigham Young University. Along with the Deseret News, he also contributes to the film discussion website FilmInquiry.com.

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