All Harry Potter fans know that seven is the most significant and powerful number in the magical realm. An eighth installation to the beloved series thus is an unexpected, yet welcomed surprise. This installment is not just another book to add to the collection; instead, the series is heading for production in a third medium: theater.
According to Pottermore, the play will grace the stage this summer under the direction of Tony Award winner John Tiffany. Fans who are already shocked that the series will exceed seven installments may have mixed feelings about J.K. Rowling co-writing the play with Jack Thorne. Will Thorne’s writing affect the story and, if so, will it be for the better or for the worse?
For some, the answer is resoundingly for the worse: “Doing an eighth installment detracts from the authenticity and fandom that the original seven created,” remarked Melissa Wanyoike, MCAS ’18.
The play will involve thirty actors who still remain unnamed. Fans anxiously await the release of the cast list, which is unlikely to include the original trifecta of Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint. The question lingers as to who will replace the other actors, whom we have grown to know and love in their roles throughout the Harry Potter series. Some other “bloke” replacing Radcliffe as The Boy Who Lived is practically unthinkable.
Just as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows was broken into two films, the on-stage sequel will be split into two parts. Giving J.K. Rowling the benefit of the doubt, this choice may simply be best for presentation of the story. However, it does seem to be a surefire way to increase ticket profits, since buying a ticket to the first show does not necessarily guarantee admittance to the second part.
“It’s just a money making ploy,” commented Grace Liggett, MCAS ’19, on the two-part strategy. “It’s an outrage.”
Although it may seem strange to watch an eighth Harry Potter story unfold in two parts, the most dedicated fans will feel compelled to try to purchase tickets. These plays present the highly-coveted snapshot of Harry’s adult life unfolding; only a lucky portion of viewers will be able to witness Harry work too hard for the Ministry of Magic while his middle child, Albus, struggles to live up to his father’s legacy at Hogwarts.
Unfortunately, not everyone who wants to go will be able to make the necessary magic happen. Realistically, there will not be enough shows for everyone, granted that they are able to afford tickets and make the trip to London to see it. To loyal Potter fans, this exclusivity seems unfair.
Ideally, the plays might be filmed and sold or aired at a later date for fans still clinging to the story of the Chosen One. After all, each of us has wished to be a part of Harry’s world at one point or another. Don’t we all deserve to see it nineteen years after the death of Voldemort?