The Harry Potter franchise was a staple of the 2000s, but its prequel series Fantastic Beasts has failed to make the same kind of mark, with The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) being the lowest-grossing entry in the franchise to date. In addition, creator J.K. Rowling’s controversial views regarding transgender people have somewhat tarnished the Harry Potter brand, with a number of actors involved with the franchise - including former-lead Daniel Radcliffe - publicly opposing her views and speaking out in support of trans rights. Likewise, controversial actors Ezra Miller and the recently-fired Johnny Depp have meant Fantastic Beasts 3is already mired in bad publicity.
Rowling’s self-penned Fantastic Beasts series has, thus far, consisted of two feature films, though three more sequels are said to be in the works. Given the lackluster response to both Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) and the aforementioned Crimes of Grindlewald, it’s curious that Warner Bros. would choose to continue down such a poorly-received path. Consider, instead, the prospect of a Harry Potter sequel (or sequel series, if the first one does well) covering Harry’s time as an Auror, an idea which could-well revive the struggling franchise .
A new movie about Harry in his 20s, becoming an Auror alongside his best friends Ron and Hermione, would help to keep the series relevant and could do for Harry Potter . Aurors are, essentially, wizard cops and so, to mirror current real-life events, the plot should revolve around corruption within the Ministry of Magic and Harry’s attempts to revolutionize the organization. Harry, as a character, has always felt slightly bland but generally well-intentioned and would become more well-rounded if faced with murkier ideological conflicts. Said conflicts must force Harry to bend the rules; breaking away from the legalities of the wizarding world in order to make the "correct" moral choices.
The Harry Potter franchise desperately needs to move forward, but, in order to do so, also needs to remind audiences why they liked the series in the first place. A return from key Harry Potter actors, namely Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint, would likely ensure a warmer response than the Fantastic Beasts films have mustered thus far and would do well to capitalize on their progression as actors since their teenage years. Additionally, being a sequel rather than a prequel, the “Harry as an Auror” movie could have proper stakes again, with the fate of every character (and the wizarding world) legitimately up for grabs.
Frankly, for Harry Potter to regain its cultural cachet, distancing the franchise from Rowling and her recent comments would probably be for the best. On top of her controversial politics, Rowling’s forays into screenwriting have also been less-than-stellar, with fans and critics noting great disparities between her prose and screen work. Though, it should be noted, Warner Bros. seems to have recognized that and has paired Rowling with screenwriter Steve Kloves for Fantastic Beasts 3. Ultimately, alienated fans are unlikely to return to the franchise under Rowling’s watch, accepting themes of the original Harry Potterbooks and movies - but a sprinkle of familiarity and the prospect of a progressive plot might helpt to tempt them back, if begrudgingly so.