But it was Rowling who opted not to be featured in Return To Hogwarts, not the show’s producers, sources revealed to Entertainment Weekly on Thursday.
Rowling’s absence from the reunion comes after her statements on transgender issues were branded transphobic by some fans, though the writers has claimed that she respects ‘every trans person’s rights to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them.’
Her decision: JK Rowling, 56, and her publicity team made the choice for her to only appear in the upcoming Harry Potter reunion special Return To Hogwarts via archival footage, Entertainment Weekly reported on Thursday; seen in 2017 in London
The 56-year-old author was reportedly approached about filming new footage for the reunion, but she and her team determined that an interview shot in 2019 would suffice.
Sources close to the decision claim that her statements about gender and transgender individuals didn’t factor into the decision to sit out the special.
Although Rowling’s team reportedly didn’t make their decision based on her recent controversies, it’s unclear what role they played in how producers determined what footage of her to use in Return To Hogwarts.
The Casual Vacancy author is reportedly only featured ‘sparingly’ in the special.
Not a factor? Sources close to the decision claim that Rowling’s statements about gender and transgender individuals didn’t influence into the decision to sit out the special; Daniel Radcliffe pictured in Return To Hogwarts
Despite her lack of new material, Harry Potter stars will be seen praising ‘the power of her writing’ in the reunion.
A teaser for the New Year’s Day special — viewed by The Independent — shows Bonnie Wright (who played Ginny Weasley), Daniel Radcliffe (who starred as the eponymous character) and Robbie Coltrane (the man behind Hagrid) discussing the author.
She is also seen in a segment from 2019 discussing the uphill struggle to find an actor to play Harry when casting the first movie, Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone.
She’s back: Rowling, who was ‘canceled’ by the trans community over comments some believe to be transphobic, will be seen ‘sparingly’ in footage from a 2019 interview; seen in 2018
The eagerly-anticipated reunion sees Radcliffe join fellow leads Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger, and Rupert Grint, who played Ron Weasley, as well as a slew of fellow costars in marking 20 years since the franchise first aired.
Despite the star-studded turnout, the author behind the stratospherically successful franchise, JK Rowling, was not in attendance at the reunion special.
The Independent however have now revealed she will be the focus of conversation among the cast as they detail her penmanship.
Bonnie said: ‘So many people were falling in love with JK Rowling’s writing’, while Daniel went on: ‘I think it’s very easy to forget that at the time, people were talking about “the death of reading.”‘
Open: A teaser for the New Year’s Day special, shows Bonnie Wright, (far right) who played Ginny Weasley. Daniel Radcliffe, (center) who starred as the eponymous character and the man behind Hagrid, Robbie Coltrane, discussing the author
Speaking out: Robbie Coltrane praises the author for inspiring fans to pick up books in the special;
Robbie concurred: ‘One of the many reasons I admire JK so much is that millions now read books who would never have lifted a book up in their lives, and you suddenly realize the power of writing.’
In the 2019 throwback clip, Rowling was seen discussing the struggle of finding a child star to play Harry, saying: ‘We couldn’t find Harry! We just couldn’t find Harry, and it was getting kind of weird, and panicky.’
Detailing her relief at finding Daniel to play the role, she then said: ‘It was very emotional seeing this kid sitting there and talking and I just thought, “Yep, that’s him, thank God, we found him.”‘
It was first claimed that JK will not be joining the special amid much controversy surrounding her over the past few years after she tweeted about biological sex leading to backlash and a subsequent ‘cancellation’ from the trans community.
In June 2020, she took to Twitter to criticize an opinion piece that used the term ‘people who menstruate,’ rather than women, so as to also include transgender men.
She then continued with a thread discussing biological sex.
Controversy: Rowling faced renewed criticism after her thriller Troubled Blood (written under a pseudonym) featured a male serial killer who wore women’s clothing to catch his victims; seen with Rupert Grint (L) and Radcliffe (R)
Rowling later clarified that she respects ‘every trans person’s rights to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them,’ and went on to say she would march ‘if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans.’
‘At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female,’ she said, the Associated Press reported at the time. ‘I do not believe it’s hateful to say so.’
Then, in September 2020, she faced renewed accusations of transphobia after it was revealed the the villain in her latest book, Troubled Blood — written under Rowling’s pseudonym Robert Galbraith — is a male serial killer who puts on a woman’s coat and a wig to slay his victims, though he is never explicitly described as being transgender.
In the wake of these remarks, Harry Potter actors Radcliffe, Grint, Watson and Eddie Redmayne, who stars in her Fantastic Beasts films, criticized the author.
Speaking out: In the wake of these remarks, Harry Potter actors Radcliffe, Grint, Watson (all pictured above) and Eddie Redmayne, who stars in her Fantastic Beasts films, criticized the author