Andrew: Keeping on the theme of our year in review, we're going to talk about the top news stories of 2008, and we're going to do something different this year. You know, make it a little more exciting. We're going to count down the top seven stories of 2008.
Eric: Counting backwards.
Matt: Yeah, we're going backwards. Right?
Andrew: Yeah, counting backwards. So it will lead up to the number one story, and we'll leave everyone guessing what the number one story will be. So let's kick it off. The seventh - counting down, starting with number seven: Warner Brothers announcing Harry Potter: the Exhibition. And Eric, I want to jump right in and first ask you, have you gotten your tickets to this yet? Because it's right there in your town of Chicago.
Eric: I have not secured my tickets per se – but IDK my BFFs the Phelp twins have assured me that I will be there. So...
Andrew: What, are you in touch with them or something? [laughs]
Eric: Oh, yeah.
Andrew: Are you really? No, you're not.
Andrew: Yeah, I was going to - [laughs] Well, yeah. You can get tickets online. So, you may as well get them soon.
Eric: No. Actually, you're exactly right. This news story totally reminds me. And along with the IMAX at Azkatraz, I have to make sure we have those, too.
Andrew: Yeah. Give you a to-do list.
Eric: Because of the movie. That would be a fun podcast to do if I hadn't seen it.
Andrew: Yeah. [laughs] Well, yeah. Well, what is - why are we putting this here on the top seven stories of 2008? Personally, I think it's a really, really cool thing for the fandom. Because who - you know, everyone - well, you don't say it because it's kind of impossible for 99.999% of the fandom, but everyone wants to go to – it would be so cool to check out the Harry Potter sets in person. And this is like, in a way - I really think it's going to feel like being on the Harry Potter set. We saw the concept art and they're going to have these great rooms to put everything on exhibit, so I think it's going to be really cool.
Eric: I mean, it is a big deal. Along with the movies, this is pretty much the biggest thing that's going to happen within the next couple years, the movies and conventions. That is - it's huge. It's absolutely huge because before now, the only place you could go for movie set stuff was Burbank, California - the Warner Brothers studio lot...
Eric: Where they had the Ford Anglia and a few of the costumes. But this is something that is going to Japan and Chicago and all sorts of other places.
Matt: Like Cumming, Georgia.
Eric: It's a really big deal.
Laura: Yeah, it's coming to Cumming. I think like anything else that we have going on in the fandom post-Book 7, I think it's just another - nice little thing to serve as a remembrance. You know?
Laura: Because, it's like, we can look back on - I mean, even - gosh! I remember the first Harry Potter movie came out when I was, like, twelve.
Laura: So, going and seeing some of this stuff, that's going to take me back to when I was still twelve and we still only had four Harry Potter books out.
Laura: It sort of just reminds you of that excitement you once had. So...
Andrew: It's going to take you into the future, too. Because they are going to be putting items from Half-Blood Prince on display, too. So, we're going to have some déjà vu.
Andrew: It could be like, "Oh my god, I saw that" and hopefully, touched it.
Andrew: Micah, what do you think?
Micah: I just think it's a great opportunity for fans. It's - just going off what Laura was saying earlier, it's just kind of - the chance for people to go out and hang on, in some small way, to the series. I think there will be more and more things like this over the course of the next couple of years as sort of a remembrance to what it meant to everybody.
Andrew: Yeah. Yeah, definitely.
Eric: Do you think? I mean, there's one thing like this. I haven't classified this as being like... Now that you guys are saying it, it reminds me of watching – like some people watch the Lord of the Rings documentaries, thirty hours of documentaries on how they did everything. You know, this museum being kind of like that. I don't think there will be spinoff things. I think this was - you know, depending on how successful this is, it might find a permanent home somewhere. But I don't know necessarily about spinoffs, Micah.
Andrew: Well, I've always hoped that eventually, they'll turn Leavesden Studios into a little museum. I mean, that would be awesome. It would be a sin to take down the Great Hall set and Dumbledore's office set.
Matt: And it's just...
Andrew: That's a true sin! [laughs]
Matt: It's sad because a lot of the set designers, they put a lot of work and detail into this stuff, and you only get to see what? Like a few seconds or a few minutes at the most of it and then they just tear it down.
Andrew: Yeah, but it's over seven films, so...
Matt: It's just nice to respect the people that take the time to put their work into this and that other people get to see it up close and marvel at how nice it is.
Andrew: Speaking of that, they - I'll get to you in a second, Micah, but while Matt's talking about this, the sets on - the Order of the Phoenix set, Half-Blood Prince set, they build these and tear them down like, so quickly. Because as big as Leavesden Studios is, they've got to keep - they need more room for all the sets. So they'll take a set and then - it's called striking. They'll strike it as soon as it's done. And it's a shame because there's so much they could do with that. But, you know, they just have to get rid of this stuff, and it's kind of depressing. Go ahead, Micah.
Micah: I was just going to talk about what Eric was saying with the spinoffs. I didn't necessarily mean spinning off of the exhibition, but I meant more of these sort of ancillary events... where you have like a tenth anniversary of Sorcerer's Stone and follow that up with tenth anniversary of Chamber of Secrets. You have this exhibition, you have Beedle the Bard, which isn't as big as the previous books, and I'm sure - I just have a feeling J. K. Rowling will do more charity books in the coming years. So I still think that you'll have these little pieces, not specifically one thing, but all these little different moving parts that'll keep the fandom going.
Andrew: Yeah, definitely. Story number six: Harry Potter leaves the New York Times Best Seller List for the first time in a decade. How about this? This was - the reason why this is on the list is because it really was a milestone, and we talked about this when the news broke. So many fans were upset and they were like, this is over! This means the fandom's over! But, it was kind of a sad story to report.
Micah: I remember Laura responding to this on one episode. I can't remember what you said though.
Laura: Oh gosh.
Andrew: In a positive way, or what?
Micah: I think it was more of a "Hey, everybody, chill out," kind of...
Laura: Oh okay. Because I hope that I don't come out and say something that's the complete opposite of what I said before.
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Laura: That's kind of how I feel about it though. Like, yeah. There aren't any more coming out. Of course it's not going to be on the New York Times Best Seller List forever.
Laura: I think it's naive to expect that.
Micah: Who else could have rivalled that though? Has any other series rivaled that?
Andrew: I mean, nothing's been like it.
Eric: I mean, we talked about - this was a topic that got its own show, or at least got a big part of a show, when it came out. It invented new lists on New York Times because it, you know, it invented the Children's - it was singlehandedly responsible for the New York Times Children's Best Seller List because no other book could sell as well as Harry Potter and Harry Potter, this quote "kid's book", was at the top of the New York Times Best Seller List, which, you know, Dr. Atkins was all indignant [laughs], you know...
Eric: So they had to create all these separate lists and really looked at and challenged the way that even such lists were created, but challenged sales and the way everything was looked at, you know.
Eric: It's just changed everything.
Andrew: I don't know if I ever told this story on MuggleCast - I don't think I did - but when I used to run my little Harry Potter website, I used to have a page called - something related to the Best Seller List. And every week I would - my dad would, this was my dad's idea, and for some reason I liked it. I rarely like an idea he gives me for MuggleNet these days, or the podcast. But he will - would give me the New York Times Best Seller List and then I would update my site with the rankings. Because he found it so fascinating, and I think a lot of people did, that it consistently stayed on top. And that was really one of the first signs of its huge popularity. Like Eric was saying, it was the reason for creating the Children's List. So...
Andrew: I think it's, of course, extremely remarkable. The one thing the original article pointed out from May first of this year was that it was less than a year after Deathly Hallows was published. Does that surprise anyone at all? That the final book in the Harry Potter series left the New York Times Best Seller List after a year?
Laura: Not really.
Matt: I mean...
Eric: The fact that it sold for a year, you know, usually...
Eric: You think of a hyped book being out, selling great in the first few months. I mean, that consistently sold all year round. That's how many people were continuously getting into it for the first time...
Eric: And reading it for the first time, up to a year afterwards. Think about how many people have that book...
Eric: Here's the other thing, and so the question with this is news post is what does the story mean for the fandom symbolically and everything? Think about how many people have that book...
Eric: And all those people are going to have kids when the book is around, when it comes out on paperback, you know? That'll sell well. And when it comes out on paperback it'll probably make another appearance on the Best Seller List possibly. But all of that - think about how many people have the Harry Potter books. And that's just to show how many there are out of the world, how many people will continuously be exposed to it. The fact that it left the Best Seller List just means from now on people will be getting their Harry Potter books from libraries or other sources. From family members more, you know?
Matt: Well I could understand why some of the fans were just upset because mainly it's just because, you know, it's just like a wakeup call to the fact that stuff doesn't last forever, and stuff moves on. You know?
Matt: You just have to change.
Andrew: So - I don't know. And this was [laughing] looking back on the news post I made. This was before we found out that Beedle was going to be published, so at the last paragraph I put, "Once J. K. Rowling's Potter encyclopedia is released, we're sure Potter will make a comeback."
Andrew: Story number five: The Half-Blood Prince trailers, all as a group together. They certainly sparked a lot of excitement in the fandom and I'm pretty sure that for each of these trailers we did a live podcast, didn't we? So that was a lot of fun for us personally. And why is this on the list?
Matt: [laughing] It's all we had.
Andrew: [laughs] Well yeah, true. It was just so - it pumped a lot of excitement into the fandom. I think besides the book releases and the movie releases, the next most exciting things are book titles, book covers, and movie trailers. We got three this year and ironically enough, the movie's not even coming out until next year. So...
Matt: But that's another number. That's another one.
Andrew: That's another story.
Eric: Yeah. I mean, it is another number, too. And we - you know, we could talk about the prolonged time lapse between getting the first trailer and, you know, all the stuff we found out in between getting the latest trailer. But the latest trailer and why I think this is significant - and maybe this should be the point - is that the latest trailer made everyone okay - or the closest to okay - they will be with waiting for next year to see the movie that everyone - I mean, has it not received unanimous praise from everyone? We did a live show and just for an hour and a half to two hours, everyone could only say awesome things about it.
Matt: Well, all the Harry Potter trailers are always awesome. Well, I mean, let's face it. They're all pretty good.
Andrew: They really are.
Eric: That is true. We're all excited to see everything.
Andrew: I can't remember ever seeing a trailer and being, like, oh, this sucks. They're just always so well done. And some trailers for movies are bad.
Laura: My only qualm with some of the trailer is - and Andrew, you and I have talked about this. It was the guy that they get every now and then.
Andrew: The voice guy?
Laura: Yeah. [laughs]
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah.
Laura: We were making fun of...
Andrew: What if...
Laura: Him online one day.
Andrew: Oh, yeah.
Andrew: That's right.
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Eric: They just give him something to say and he says it. They just give him a script. He's just reading what they gave him.
Andrew: Yeah. I really - yeah. And I have to say, those three trailers were three, probably, of the funnest days of the year for me, [laughs] which may sound lame. But I just love doing live MuggleCast episodes. And it's always so much fun to do them then, because you're really capturing the excitement of the fans when we take the live calls and from ourselves, too. And for, I know, two out of these three trailers, we did a live show hours after it came out - each one came out. So, it's very exciting and - do you guys think we're going to get - how many more trailers [laughs] could we be seeing? We got to get at least one more, right?
Laura: Yeah, we have to get at least one more.
Eric: Maybe one. One in March.
Andrew: So that's four trailers. I mean, that's - normally we would not have received four full...
Matt: This is really weird.
Andrew: Length trailers.
Matt: Yeah, because we received, like, three full teaser trailers. Or teaser trailers, period. And we haven't gotten any real, you know, promos or anything. Like...
Matt: Posters, or billboards, or anything.
Eric: Yeah, but I'm glad. I mean, I'm glad because I think they overdid it with Movie 4 particularly.
Matt: Order - oh, you think so? Because I think they overdid it with Order of the Phoenix.
Eric: Well, when was it - I mean, it was Movie 4 I know they were posting five to ten minute scenes...
Laura: Oh, yeah.
Eric: Of the movie.
Andrew: Oh, yeah.
Andrew: Order of the Phoenix did that too. I hate that.
Matt: Yeah. I think they both did that.
Andrew: Yahoo! Movies always gets, like, a bunch of clips.
Eric: I'm not...
Andrew: It sucks.
Eric: Even cool with what, like, ABC Family does. Like, I'm not even cool with that. Complete...
Andrew: But those are, like, a minute. I mean...
Eric: I know. It's cool. It's cool. But I just get edgy when I hear about it.
Andrew: You're just, like, oh, I've already seen this.
Andrew: I already...
Matt: I mean...
Andrew: Saw the whole film.
Matt: All you really...
Matt: ...see in those ABC Family things are just the actors going, "Yeah, this is..." Like, Rupert going, [impersonating Rupert Grint] "Yeah, this is a really cool movie. It's really fun."
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Laura: "And this one's so..."
Matt: I mean...
Andrew: "I love this movie. "
Laura: "...much darker..."
Matt: That's all you hear.
Laura: "...than the last one."
Eric: And Michael Gambon...
Eric: ...looking, like...
Eric: ...he knows what he's talking about...
Matt: Yeah, I love that, Laura. [laughs]
Eric: ...for the first time ever.
Matt: Every single time, they go [in fake British accent] "Yeah, this movie is a little darker than the other one because the story's darker and, you know, they get older and, you know, they get into the adulthood."
Eric: I think they have a script too.
Andrew: Yeah, Eric, I brought that up on the show last week. Michael Gambon really sounded intelligent this time.
Eric: Sounded like he knew what he's doing. I know.
Eric: Like, he really appreciated it too.
Andrew: It was cool.
Matt: Well, he dies in this one. I mean...
Eric: Well, somebody told him [unintelligible].
Matt: He's got to get serious.
Eric: And I think that's the thing. He dies.
Andrew: So he's sad.
Eric: And so...
Andrew: I wonder if he's sad to be leaving the films.
Laura: Well, he's not.
Eric: He'll be in the next movie.
Matt: He'll be in the next movie.
Andrew: Oh, right. That's true.
Eric: He'll be in the next two.
Andrew: Well, it's true.
Matt: Just not as much.
Andrew: Oh, yeah. So I guess he doesn't care. [laughs]
Eric: All right. Number...
Eric: Four, please.
Andrew: Number four story. Just want to remind you, we're counting down the top stories of 2008. And we're counting from seven to number one, the biggest story.
Matt: If you...
Andrew: Number four...
Matt: Just joined us, we're talking about the top stories in Harry Potter.
Andrew: Hey, I'm reminding people because sometimes people zone out while they're listening to the show.
Eric: Well, and remember...
Andrew: And, you know...
Eric: ...before we get to - before we do number one, we're going to have to stop for commercial break like all those VHR shows.
Andrew: [laughs] Right. Right.
Eric: The countdown for the...
Andrew: The number one story [pauses] will be revealed right after this break.
Eric: And let's review the last three. No, just... [laughs] Let's...
Eric: Get on.
Andrew: All right, number four. Deathly Hallows split into two separate films. This happened very...
Matt: Now, I think that this...
Matt: Should be...
Andrew: On the year.
Matt: The top ones.
Matt: I think this should be higher up. That's my opinion.
Andrew: Why? And why didn't you...
Matt: Because this was...
Andrew: Suggest it last night? Oh, wait, you did.
Matt: I did!
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Matt: Oh, I so did! Don't you even start. I said no...
Andrew: I just said...
Matt: I don't like...
Andrew: You did.
Andrew: Well, personally the reason I think it belongs where it is, is because one, the three other stories were much bigger. And this story sort of built up. There were several rumors going on prior to the official announcement. And even the producers said, yeah, we're looking at this and considering this. And how often do they ever comment on a rumor like this that is pretty damn big? So, I don't - Warner Brothers certainly was not keeping this under wraps. And this - also with this official announcement came the announcement of David Yates directing Movie 7. So, what do you guys think? What do you think this is really - I mean, in hindsight - well, I'll look at it this way. Nobody complained. I mean...
Andrew: I don't think anybody complained...
Matt: This is basically...
Laura: Didn't we do a live show for this?
Matt: What every fan...
Andrew: Yeah, we did.
Matt: Yeah, we did. We did a...
Matt: Big live show.
Andrew: Yeah. It was two hours.
Laura: Everyone was really excited.
Laura: It was fun.
Eric: I think what we could say then is what we can say now, that it just seems like they wanted to give it the proper adaptation. And...
Matt: Well, this is what every fan says they want in the movies.
Matt: They've always said, if...
Eric: Longer films.
Matt: Only they did this into two movies.
Eric: More of it.
Matt: Yeah, they want a longer movie or you know, it's split into two, which is you know, up - up till the Deathly Hallows film it was just, you know, unimaginable. None of the fans ever thought it would ever happen.
Eric: Yeah, we wanted it. I mean, you know, we were thinking even as early as Goblet of Fire people were saying you know, just make it two movies - make it two movies and it was never seriously considered.
Andrew: I remember David Heyman said they even considered that for Goblet of Fire.
Laura: Oh yeah that's right.
Eric: Yeah which is interesting in they finally did it with Deathly Hallows and everyone was like - I mean the greed accusations and all that came later, but everyone was just genuinely happy.
Andrew: [laughs] Came later. I think they came pretty damn quick.
Andrew: People, you know...
Matt: Who cares? I mean, geez.
Andrew: And the reason this film was split was the same reason why the movie got delayed - Half-Blood Prince got delayed. So - I think this was definitely one of the most exciting stories because you know it's an eighth film but I can't imagine them, like, because once you split Goblet of Fire, don't you have to split the rest?
Laura: Yeah, thatís what I was thinking too.
Laura: That would - I don't think they really needed to split either Order of the Phoenix or Half-Blood Prince, I don't think.
Andrew: Could you imagine how much longer it would take for the whole series to complete though? I mean...
Laura: Oh my god.
Andrew: We'd be in what - 2018 probably?
Laura: We would all have kids...
Laura: By the time they finish these movies. Like...
Micah: So would the trio. [laughs]
Matt: The trio could play in the epilogue and they wouldn't need any makeup.
Andrew: Yeah, oh yeah.
Eric: Yeah, I think they - I think they played it well.
Andrew: That's true. I really think that one of the reasons behind Goblet of Fire not being split is that they would have had more pressure to split the others and time wise that's just impossible.
Eric: Especially because - yeah, especially because by then Book 5 was a lot longer than Book 4.
Andrew: And let's be honest, nobody on that cast and crew wanted to be producing these films for twenty years. I mean you got to move on at some point.
Eric: Well, I think it's - itís what Laura and Micah were saying about - just the age...
Andrew: Them growing up, yeah.
Andrew: Yeah. It's true. They've timed it nicely. I remember - do you guys remember this? Maybe I'm just making this up but with the first couple of films there were a lot of concerns of "oh gee they're going to be, you know, twenty by the time the last film's out and they're going to..."
Andrew: "Look so old and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." Do you remember that?
Matt: Well, no, when the first movies came out, they discussed that they would just change the actors.
Andrew: Well, yeah. There was a little talk of that.
Matt: Oh, yeah they're expendable. We'll just get another one when they get too old.
Andrew: Well, then it became a hit and that was obviously a dumb decision. But it's also weird that there used to be a day where - I mean it was just in 2007 when they confirmed that they were signed on through all seven films. I remember - remember that we used to have discussions and there used to be days where you know, we would be like, "Do you think they'll come back?"
Laura: Well, wasn't there one point where Emma Watson hadn't signed on...
Andrew: Yeah that was the big one.
Laura: Because she was considering going to school?
Eric: [sighs] But who else would they recast? You know?
Andrew: They just keep throwing million dollar bills at her until she said yes. I'm sure. I mean - you know, how can you say no to that either? That's a huge career move for you.
Andrew: Story number three. Some may argue this was the biggest and when we get to our Twitter segment in a minute, we'll see that most people did say this was the biggest. Half-Blood Prince delayed eight months. And the first question I want to ask is: where were you guys when the story broke? Because it's one of those things where you - you know, it's one of those breaking things like big world events where you remember where you were. I hope all you guys remember, because I sure do.
Matt: Yeah. Well I was with you so I - I remember it.
Micah: I think Laura told me, actually. I was at work.
Laura: Did I?
Laura: See I know I was at home for the summer but I don't remember exactly what I was doing or how I found out. I probably read it.
Eric: The MuggleNet - the MuggleNet news story is August 14th, that's the date for it.
Laura: Yeah. No, I was definitely at home.
Eric: And the thing too was the lead-up. You've got to understand too - the lead-up - like where were we? Well, part of where we were when that happened was completely in confusion and anxiety over the fact that the movie was supposedly coming out two, three months and we hadn't seen or heard near anything...
Andrew: That's true.
Eric: From WB. You know, so, it was a surprise - it was a shock and it certainly was in its own way, you know, completely controversial. But we were wondering about it - and so where were we, well, we were waiting for news about the movie, not that it had been delayed, not that anyone suspected that it would be delayed, especially months.
Matt: No it was - like it wasn't really like out of the blue if you think about it because I mean we waited for how long? We thought that the trailer for Half-Blood Prince would come out in May of this year.
Eric: Yeah, and it just didn't and there were months when it just didn't, and we didn't really - we didn't even really question it that much. I mean we did, kind of, but...
Andrew: [laughs] I was posting news stories every week - like when people would send us in a report, "Yeah I work in this movie theater and there's no Half-Blood Prince trailer on this reel." So then I'd post, "no trailer with Kung Fu Panda."
Eric: Yeah. [laughs] Yeah, I remember that.
Eric: And Micah did you do a - did you do a What's Buggin' Micah with the movie?
Micah: I don't think so. I didn't start...
Andrew: It really bugged you.
Micah: With all the pictures.
Eric: Maybe that's why it was delayed.
Laura: [laughs] Micah.
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Andrew: Laura, what did you say?
Laura: I was just going to say I remember when we finally got the teaser trailer with young Tom Riddle in it and I was like, thank God, we know there's actually a movie being filmed now.
Andrew: Oh yeah. [laughs]
Laura: And then like two weeks later, they're like, "Oh, never mind."
Andrew: I don't even think it was two weeks...
Andrew: It was like a week, wasn't it?
Laura: Yeah pretty much, yeah.
Andrew: It was so quick. [sighs]
Laura: Well and I just remember my initial reaction was like, "Oh God, what's wrong with the movie," like, I was like something happened and I was freaking...
Laura: Out about it. [laughs]
Matt: Yeah. Who died?
Andrew: I remember exactly where I was - I was in Target and...
Matt: We were in line at Target.
Andrew: We were in line at Target. I was staring at the magazines, looking at Empire magazine's fall Half-Blood Prince preview and there's Harry Potter on the cover. But I remember Ben called and then Eric called and then Eric was like, [imitating Eric] "I just tried to call you!" And I was in Target where, you know, the reception can be bad when you're in department stores. And so I didn't get his first call.
Matt: That's not true. He really just didn't want to talk to you, Eric.
Andrew: Yeah, that's...
Eric: I thought so. I thought so, because I was like - I knew I was like the first person who was going to break the news to him though. So...
Eric: Just so it's on the record that I called him, and then Ben called him...
Andrew: You called me first. And then by the time Ben had called me, I had reception, I guess.
Eric: But it was up on - you got it up on MuggleNet then pretty fast. So...
Eric: I mean, I thought it was a joke.
Andrew: Yeah. Well, I look at this news post now, and it's seriously the darkest news post we've ever made.
Andrew: It's like a funeral! [laughs] It's like a death sentence. It's just terrible. [laughs] And I really did feel like a part of me died inside. I've said that multiple times and I wasn't kidding. So that was number four and - we'll discuss this in a minute, but a lot of people felt like...
Laura: That was three.
Matt: That was number three.
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