If you’re at Kings Cross station in London today, keep an eye out for strangely-dressed people milling about between Platforms 9 and 10 - in particular, a middle-aged man in glasses with a lightning scar walking with a very worried looking eleven year old. Yes, today is Albus Severus Potter’s first day at Hogwarts. The real-world has finally caught up with Harry Potter’s future-set epilogue - it is nineteen years later.
Although J.K. Rowling never explicitly stated it in the core text, the Harry Potter books were clearly set in the 1990s. Clues are littered throughout the series - we know from their tombstones that Voldemort killed James and Lily on October 31, 1981, while the new Prime Minister at the start of The Half-Blood Prince is obviously meant to be Tony Blair - putting Voldemort’s final defeat in 1998, the year after The Sorcerer's/Philosopher’s Stone’s first publication and thus future-proofing all her stories. The only time she ever went into the future was the epilogue, which as of September 1, 2017 we’ve finally passed.
But just because "all was well", that doesn't mean there's no more chance of wizarding fun. On this historic day you may be wondering if we'll ever get another Harry Potter film and, well, we're pretty damn certain we will.
What Could An New Harry Potter Film Be?
When she finished The Deathly Hallows, Rowling was pretty adamant that this was the end for Harry and the Wizarding World - and so naturally the same was assumed of the films (hence splitting Part 7 in two for maximum profit wringing). Of course, she’s since dramatically and repeatedly gone back on her word - first with a massive expansion of the mythology with Pottermore, then last year with double-tap of cinematic prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (the first in a quintet expanding on author Newt Scamander and Dumbledore’s past) and stage sequel The Cursed Child (which told what happened to Albus after leaving on the Hogwarts Express).
The Cursed Child covers the first few years of Albus Severus’ time at Hogwarts and has a suitable mix of new adventure and reverence for the original characters; pretty much what a film studio would look for in a legacy-quel. Indeed, doing this was rumored when the play opened, with it alleged Warners wanted to use it as a springboard for a Force Awakens-esque reboot of the series, possibly a trilogy adaptation. While these reports were later denied by both studio and author, it would be naive to think at the very least conversations haven’t happened.
Now, there would be some problems in adapting The Cursed Child considering just how tailored to the stage it is. Many fans regard the story it tells - spoiler-lite, Slytherin Albus tries to prove himself by travelling back in time, inadvertently putting his father's existence in danger - as glorified fan-fiction made to be a theater experience rather than proper world expansion, especially when it starts twisting canon for clearly baity reveals in its second half. There’s also some pretty essential characters who are played by now deceased actors that would be tricky to recast given how dominant they are in the movie’s iconography.
That said, we're not claiming an ninth film would be The Cursed Child, just that it would take influence from and occupy and similar space. Even if it shared a name with the play (a strong synergized branding move), it would be strange to expect Harry Potter 8 (lumping Parts 1 & 2 of Part 7 together) to not make some creative shifts to the current log line. Chiefly, it would surely focus on Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson more than the stage show did on Jamie Parker, Paul Thornley and Noma Dumezweni in the same roles, meaning the adults would need more narrative autonomy. But that's not an issue considering how the films have always taken liberties with the the source anyway - they were even set in the 2000s, loosely in the years of releases.
The creator has shown explicitly she's willing to continue the Potter story, which nullifies any sense of impossibility, and she's also given us the obvious source for an future movie. Yet, aside from last year's denied report of Warners considering it, all of this is mere speculation, so why is a new film so certain?