While Harry Potter and the Cursed Child may have been polarizing among hardcore Potterheads, the Harry Potter play could make for a brilliant reunion for the original cinematic cast if it were to get a movie adaption. Daniel Radcliffe and company bid farewell to the franchise when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 hit cinemas in 2011. The film ended the series on a high note, showing Harry giving his son, Albus, advice as he’s off to Hogwarts for his first year.
Since the original series ended, Warner Bros. has continued to expand the Hary Potter franchise with the prequel series Fantastic Beasts, but hasn't returned to the core characters (and setting) of the original books and movies. Harry's story has continued, however, on stage: In 2015, Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling confirmed that she was expanding the fictional universe with a play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, that was set 19 years after Deathly Hallows, written by playwright Jack Thorne based on a story he developed with Rowling and stage director John Tiffany. The production opened to rave reviews from critics, but some Potterheads found the story to be contrived, bloated, and more like fan-fiction that rehashed the original series instead of being a confident continuation.
Despite the aforementioned complaints from (some) fans, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was a runaway hit, both with critics and with audiences. It makes sense for Warner Bros. to capitalize on this buzz and use the play for the next Harry Potter movie: In an era where reboots and sequels thrive thanks to cast reunions, a movie version of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child would no doubt garner interest — especially because many don't have access to the official play performances. The sequel could reinvigorate the franchise and lead to an entirely new series of movies focusing on Albus and his friends at Hogwarts, repeating the formula that made the original Harry Potter movies so appealing — but with a fresh story and new characters.
As beloved as the Fantastic Beasts movies are, they haven’t been the commercial darlings that their predecessors were. Both Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and the sequel Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald were box office hits, but did not have the same high return on investment that the Harry Potter movies did. The Eddie Redmayne-headlined franchise lacks the chemistry and charm that comes from Harry and his friends, proving that the original Harry Potter series was popular for reasons beyond being set in the Wizarding World. Audiences are already invested in Harry’s journey and just seeing him return alongside his friends should draw in more crowds than the various adventures of Newt Scamander.
Aside from seeing the beloved trio again, many of The Cursed Child’s criticisms can be addressed in the film version because the creative team would have the power of hindsight. Some of the play’s many criticisms, such as Harry constantly lashing out at Albus, or the rehashing of the original series, could be easily tweaked to accommodate Daniel Radcliffe’s version of the character. Beyond being able to make necessary changes that don’t necessarily contradict the source material, the film would have the advantage of trimming down the play’s nearly five-hour runtime — or, more likely, splitting the two acts into two separate movies. A great screenwriter could craft a less bloated Cursed Child that focuses more on Harry and Albus’ relationship and simplifies the core story for less attentive cinemagoers.
While Fantastic Beasts may have expanded the lore of the franchise, it was always the characters that made Harry Potter so special. Structuring the original book (and then movie) series around young Harry's experiences at Hogwarts helped keep the narrative grounded in a relatable coming-of-age story. Unlike Fantastic Beasts, The Cursed Child has the potential to recapture that feeling. It isn’t certain if audiences will ever see the original cast from the film's return to the franchise for The Cursed Child, but it would definitely be a success based just on nostalgia alone.