Forgive me, folks, but I’m just going to get out of the way of this one.
“Today is a very special day for two reasons,” wrote J. K. Rowling on Twitter earlier today. “Firstly, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published in the UK eighteen years ago! I’m also very excited to confirm today that a new play called Harry Potter and the #CursedChild will be opening in London next year. It will tell a new story, which is the result of a collaboration between writer Jack Thorne, director John Tiffany and myself.”
Contrary to earlier speculation, however, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child won’t be the prequel everyone—including our own Emily Asher-Perrin—was expecting. So what will it be?
If it isn’t a prequel, then we’re either looking at something like a sequel here, or a narrative that occurs concurrently with the seven-year story of the pre-existing Potter fiction. My money’s on that latter—on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child being a tale that takes place over one of the summers Rowling glossed over.
Either that, or the Harry Potter author might be twisting the truth a touch. As io9’s Katherine Trendacosta suggests, there could even be a touch of time travel in the mix. An interesting idea, agreed… but somehow, I doubt it.
In any event, it’s a real relief to hear that Rowling has taken the time to get Harry’s return right. This play has been in the gestation phase for two and a half years to date, ever since Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender, the producers of The Book of Mormon, came to the bestselling author ever with a vision “which had the sensitivity, intensity and intimacy [Rowling] thought appropriate for bringing Harry’s story to the stage.”
And there’s a whole lot more talent on the table too, including Rowling’s co-writer Jack Thorne, a Fringe First winner for Bunny and the playwright behind the National Theatre of Scotland’s 2013 production of Let the Right One In—which, for what it’s worth, was brought to the stage by the same Tony Award-winning director who’ll be taking the reins of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child when it opens in London sometime in 2016.
This morning’s confirmation begs any number of questions. Will Harry Potter and the Cursed Child be the sequel the world’s been waiting for? Will there be a book of it, too? And will Warner Bros. make a movie of it one day? I’m guessing the answer to at least two of those questions is yes, but what do I know?
Let the speculation commence!
Niall Alexander is an extra-curricular English teacher who reads and writes about all things weird and wonderful for The Speculative Scotsman, Strange Horizons, and Tor.com. He’s been known to tweet, twoo.