Although some fans are going to have the pleasure of seeing the stage show, the rest of us just have to make do with the script! Yesterday saw the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the script of the stageplay, and take it from this Harry Potter fan: it's brilliant. There's only one real question, though; could this become the script for the eighth movie? Be warned: there are spoilers below...
Would the Script Work?
Set 19 years after the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Cursed Child tells the story of Albus Severus Potter and his best friend, Scorpius Malfoy. It's a fascinating script, taking full advantage of fans' love for the Harry Potter franchise, and re-presenting key moments in dreams and (of course) time-travel escapades. The climax alone is phenomenal.
Personally, I have no trouble believing that the script could easily be adapted into a film. There's even one concept that a film could present far more effectively, when time goes badly wrong and Scorpius discovers just what the world would have been like had Harry Potter been defeated at the Battle of Hogwarts. A movie could easily flesh that out by spinning away from the main characters, and giving us a much more in-depth look at Voldemort's cruel and evil world.
The real task would be working it out so Cursed Child intersected effectively with the previous films. Only two major characters appear as their younger selves during the time-travel escapades - Emma Watson's Hermione and Robert Pattinson's Cedric Diggory. You'd need to find an actor and an actress who could easily look like those two, at the time of Goblet of Fire. That said, given a young Hermione is briefly mistaken for her daughter Rose, I'd be expecting the same actress to play both parts (Cherrelle Skeete plays both roles in the stage-play).
There is one problem, though. The script features a beautiful arc for Severus Snape, played by Paul Bentall in the stage-play. As we all know, Alan Rickman played Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films, and he's sadly passed away. It wouldn't be hard to find someone who could play the role - this version of Snape is 19 years older, after all - but I'm not sure that it would feel particularly respectful. It would need to be handled with real care, so as to feel more like a homage than anything else.
Is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Likely To Be Adapted?
The Harry Potter franchise is one of Warner Bros.'s most-loved franchises, and we know the studio is keen to resurrect it - after all, later this year we'll be seeing Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them! Interestingly enough, Warner Bros. filed a trade mark to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which could either simply be a formality (as Rowling has insisted) - or a hint that the studio is watching the stage-play with fascination.
Here's the catch, though. That trademarking is more important than you'd think at first glance, because - as legal expert Brian Conroy has argued - Section 32 of the Trade Marks Act 1994 (European legislation still applicable in the UK) establishes that a trade mark should only be filed if there's a real intention to use it. It's entirely possible that something's going on behind the scenes.
At the premiere of the play, J. K. Rowling was quick to insist that Harry's story is now over:
“No, no. He goes on a very big journey during these two plays and then, yeah, I think we’re done. This is the next generation, you know. So, I’m thrilled to see it realized so beautifully but, no, Harry is done now.”
This quote is a lot more subtle than you'd perhaps realize. This says Harry Potter's story is over, and that Cursed Child hands the franchise on to "the next generation". It's one thing to say that "Harry is done now", but a film adaptation of Cursed Child could very easily be the movie that closes off Harry's magical story, and shifts the focus on to Albus's. The script focuses on Albus's fourth year at Hogwarts, and closes with him beginning his fifth, so this series wouldn't run the same way as the Harry Potter films. The difference is significant enough to work.
The real question is whether or not the stars - Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint - could be persuaded to reprise their roles.
Attention has focused on Daniel Radcliffe in particular, and he's refused to rule out the possibility.
“It would depend on the script. The circumstances would have to be pretty extraordinary. But then I am sure Harrison Ford said that with Han Solo and look what happened there! So I am saying, ‘No,’ for now but leaving room to backtrack in the future."
All in all, I'm not convinced that there really is the intention of making a Cursed Child film, at least not right now. The one piece of evidence in favor is that trade mark, but that's not enough to persuade me. That said, having read the script, I am 100% convinced that the film would work. Only time will tell whether or not Harry Potter is like Star Wars - and comes back when we least expect it!
Do you want to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child adapted for the big screen? Let me know in the comments!