J.K. Rowling Explains Why She Didn't Participate In The Harry Potter Reunion Special

J.K. Rowling in old footage for the Harry Potter Reunion
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

There are popular brands, and then there’s Harry Potter. The Wizarding World burst on the scene when J.K. Rowling’s novels became a sensation, with the franchise eventually growing to movies, theme parks, even stage plays. The cast and crew of the Harry Potter movie franchise recently filmed a sweet reunion event for HBO Max, but one person was noticeably missing: the author herself. Now Rowling has explained exactly why she didn’t participate in Return to Hogwarts.

Potterheads got a treat on New Year’s Day of this year, as that’s when HBO Max premiered the reunion event Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts. The generations of fans were delighted to see the cast back together, but it definitely turned a few heads that J.K. Rowling wasn’t featured, aside from old archive footage. While some thought this might be due to the controversies surrounding Rowling, she recently appeared on The Graham Norton Radio Show (via YouTube), and explained why she actually didn’t appear for the streaming special. As she put it,

I was asked to be on that. I decided I didn't want to do it. I thought it was about the films more than the books, quite rightly. No one said, 'Don't come.' I was asked to do it and I decided not to.

Well, there you have it. While some assumed that J.K. Rowling might have been purposefully excluded from Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, that seemingly wasn’t the case. Instead, the author maintains she was invited, but decided to bow out of the opportunity. And we know exactly why she made this decision.

J.K. Rowling’s comments to Graham Norton actually make a great deal of sense given her ongoing involvement with Warner Bros. and the franchise through projects like the Fantastic Beasts franchise and the Cursed Child plays. As such, she was invited to participate in the Harry Potter reunion special, but decided against it. Namely because it was about the experience filming the eight movies, which Rowling wasn’t necessarily present for.

As previously mentioned, J.K. Rowling has been the subject of a number of controversies over recent years, largely related to her views on the transgender community. Plenty of icons from the Harry Potter franchise came out against her views, including the trio of Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint. So when she wasn’t involved in Return to Hogwarts, some folks online debated whether or not she was even invited. But now we know the truth about how it all went down.

J.K. Rowling has continued writing the Fantastic Beasts movies in the midst of these controversies, most recently the threequel The Secrets of Dumbledore. It’s currently unclear if Warner Bros. is moving forward with the final two installments of the planned franchise. In the meantime, check out the 2022 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.