The Harry Potter reunion is indeed happening. To celebrate 20 years since the release of the first film in the blockbuster franchise, stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint are reuniting with other cast members for a TV special, to be shown on January 1.
In the retrospective, the cast will return to the original Hogwarts boarding school sets that were featured in the first film Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in some countries) released in November 2001. Warner Bros, which made the announcement on November 16, on the film's 20th anniversary, said the special Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts will be streamed on HBO Max.
Other cast members set to appear include Robbie Coltrane, who played Hagrid, Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange), Gary Oldman (Sirius Black), director Chris Columbus as well as more stars from the eight movies.
Harry Potter author JK Rowling's name has not been mentioned in the list. The film franchise, based on Rowling's stories about an orphaned boy with magical powers, took in about $7.8 billion at the global box office, becoming the third highest-grossing movie franchise in history.
While Rowling will feature in archive footage that will be shown in the special, it's unclear whether her controversial comments about transgender issues in 2020 were the reason for her absence.
Radcliffe had disagreed with the bestselling author on the issue, writing in a blog post: "Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo (Rowling) or I."
To celebrate the November 16 anniversary, a scale model cake of Hogwarts Castle was displayed at the Warner Bros Studio Tour in London. Standing at 1.5 metres tall and 1.8 metres wide, and weighing 100 kilograms, the model took 320 hours to create and was made using vegan-friendly ingredients. It was later donated to One Vision, a local charity fighting food poverty.
The coming TV special is one of several 20th-anniversary events planned by Warner Bros, including a TV quiz contest for Potter fans hosted by Helen Mirren, which will include cameo appearances by some of the cast and celebrity fans including comedians Pete Davidson and Jay Leno.
Scroll through the gallery below for pictures of the Hogwarts cake baked to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter film: