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While the Harry Potter franchise is still largely viewed as a series meant for the younger set, there's no denying that the latter stories, on the page and the screen, got pretty dark. When it comes to the extension of the Harry Potter universe in the real world, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at various Universal theme parks around the world, they have focused mostly on the lighter side of the story, with places like Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade making up the locations fans can visit.
However, Universal's new nighttime show, Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle, will mark the first time that the darker side of Harry Potter will be explored in the parks. The show recently debuted at Universal Studios Hollywood and Sr. Director of Entertainment Production Stephen Siercks says that the fact that the Wizarding World hadn't dealt with the dark arts before was the main reason he wanted to do so now. According to Siercks...
It’s an aspect of the story that we haven’t been able to embrace, in this way, yet. We’re really excited about bringing this to the guests to experience it, and finding ways to create new and unique storytelling devices and experiences for the guests here in the Wizarding World.
The Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle is a new nighttime show which combines fireworks and lights with projections onto the sides of Hogwarts Castle. Previous shows have included The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle and The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle. Now, the new show focuses on the darker side of Harry Potter, as projections will include images of Death Eaters, Dementors, and Lord Voldemort.
Stephen Siercks tells Collider that Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle uses everything that Universal learned in creating the first two shows, and enhances it, in order to create a show that brings the experience to the audience in even better ways.
While Harry Potter is something that is fun for the whole family, sometimes something a little scary can still be fun. I certainly have to wonder if Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle is meant to be a precursor to some sort of major Halloween event at the park. Universal Studios Hollywood already does the Halloween Horror Nights haunted mazes, using properties light Stranger Things, and until they find a way to pull off a Triwizard Maze, a nightly light show that focuses on the monsters and other dark creatures of Harry Potter would be perfect for that section of the park.
Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle Runs at Universal Studios Hollywood until April 28. It will return again briefly for the Memorial Day Weekend. The show is also slated to appear at the Universal Orlando Resort, though those dates have not yet been announced.