Ultimate Year in Review: 2017
For MuggleNet’s 20th anniversary, we are looking back at the past 20 years in Harry Potter history to bring attention back to its most significant moments. This is a series of articles that will run over four months. Our previous article covered the year 2016.
This week, the Time-Turner takes us all the way back to 2017, a year full of political events and blockbuster releases: Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States of America; Emmanuel Macron became France’s president; Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement; Facebook reached 2 billion monthly users; and the biggest movie releases included Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, The Fate of the Furious, Dunkirk, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson.
In news surrounding Rowling, the Harry Potter franchise, and MuggleNet, 2017 was a year filled with exciting announcements.
Warner Bros. kicked off the year by announcing the addition of the Forbidden Forest section to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. This extension opened for the public on March 31; however, MuggleNet was able to see the new additions earlier and meet some of the Harry Potter cast and crew members for a chat.
Aside from the official opening at Leavesden, MuggleNet also got the chance to interview Dan Fogler, David Yates, and Eddie Redmayne during their surprise visit to the Studio Tour. With Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them having been released, fans were already getting ready to theorize what might happen in the upcoming sequel. At the time of this interview, the cast had yet to see the script since Rowling was still working on it. Both Fogler and Redmayne were excited to further develop their characters now that audiences had been introduced to them.
In April, we learned who would be playing a younger version of Albus Dumbledore in the Fantastic Beasts series: Jude Law. Director David Yates commented on the casting, throwing his full support behind the two-time Academy Award nominee.
Jude Law is a phenomenally talented actor whose work I’ve long admired, and I’m looking forward to finally having the opportunity to work with him. I know he will brilliantly capture all the unexpected facets of Albus Dumbledore as J.K. Rowling reveals this very different time in his life.
At the end of July, we heard from both J.K. Rowling and actor Tom Burke about the upcoming Strike TV series. Rowling said that she was “thrilled” with the casting and that writing the book series was “pure joy,” and Burke said he was “overjoyed” to be playing such a “complex” character. The release date for the show was set for August 27 on the BBC.
In August, we learned that the original seven members of the West End production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child would also play their parts for one year on Broadway in New York. Jamie Parker (Harry Potter), Noma Dumezweni (Hermione Granger), Paul Thornley (Ron Weasley), Poppy Miller (Ginny Potter), Alex Price (Draco Malfoy), Sam Clemmett (Albus Potter), and Anthony Boyle (Scorpius Malfoy) were joined by 28 new cast members from America.
September 1, 2017, marked one special day in the lives of Harry Potter fans: It was the day the epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows took place. Fans all over the world celebrated this special occasion in style. MuggleNet threw its very own party in the style of MuggleNet Live! 2017: Nineteen Years Later, an event that took place in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida and that had fans, Potter alumni, and MuggleNet volunteers share this moment with a butterbeer and a ride on the Hogwarts Express.
Michael Harle is reading the Epilogue aloud outside of King's Cross. https://t.co/NSOHkcyMyj
— ᴍᴜɢɢʟᴇɴᴇᴛ ʟɪᴠᴇ (@MuggleNetLive) September 2, 2017
— Chris Rankin (@chrisrankin) September 2, 2017
In October, fans were blessed with the long-awaited J.K. Rowling documentary about the new British Library Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition. The exhibition itself featured books and parchment scrolls with themes and ideas Rowling took for the Potter series and tweaked to her use, as well as some early drafts, discarded names for characters, and notes on how the Sorting Ceremony should work at Hogwarts.
In December, J.K. Rowling broke her silence on the widely discussed casting of Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts series. Depp had been accused of domestic abuse by his ex-wife Amber Heard in 2016, and given the news that he was being allowed to remain in the role for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, fans yearned to hear from the author herself:
For me, personally, the inability to speak openly to fans about this issue has been difficult, frustrating and at times painful. However, the agreements that have been put in place to protect the privacy of two people, both of whom have expressed a desire to get on with their lives, must be respected. Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the filmmakers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting, but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies.