MuggleNet 2021 Year in Review
The year is coming to an end, and it’s certainly been a busy one for the Wizarding World, so let’s take a look back at some of the top stories from 2021.
The year started royally for Toby Jones (voice of Dobby), who was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list. January also saw a buzz of activity around the third installment of the Fantastic Beasts series. MuggleNet exclusively revealed that the movie was set to finish filming this month, and Eddie Redmayne (Newt Scamander) discussed filming with actor Jamie Dornan. Mads Mikkelsen and Dan Fogler (Jacob Kowalski) interviewed each other about their experiences of making the third movie and Mikkelsen’s transition to playing Grindelwald. Sadly, January also saw the passing of literary agent Christopher Little, who took a chance on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
February saw the return of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in Melbourne, the first production across the world to reopen after closures due to the coronavirus pandemic. The reopening of Harry Potter: The Exhibition was also announced, along with the revelation that it will begin touring the globe in 2022 and will feature characters, settings, and beasts from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts series. In casting news, it was revealed that Oliver Masucci would be playing the Head of the International Confederation of Wizards in the third Fantastic Beasts film. Evanna Lynch announced that her first book, a memoir titled The Opposite of Butterfly Hunting: The Tragedy and the Glory of Growing Up, would be published in September of this year. Daniel Radcliffe and Elijah Wood, who are often mistaken for each other, took part in an interview for Empire magazine about the 20th anniversaries of both Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
March brought with it new beginnings as the Harry Potter Alliance called for fans to vote on a new name that reflects the organization’s work and resurrected fansite Wizrocklopedia announced a quarterly release of brand-new wizard rock compilations. There was also success for another fandom organization: the Protego Foundation, which announced that live owls would no longer be featured in future live Harry Potter productions licensed by Warner Bros. Bloomsbury credited Harry Potter as a top contributor to its growth in sales, recognizing that the series provided readers with a magical escape from the outside world during lockdowns in 2020. This month also contained the announcement that the eagerly anticipated Hogwarts Legacy video game will offer trans-inclusive character customizations.
April started somberly for Wizarding World fans when it was announced that Paul Ritter, who played Eldred Worple, had died. Sadly, just ten days later, we received the news that Helen McCrory, who played Narcissa Malfoy, had also passed away. Also this month, the world’s first Harry Potter store, located in New York, announced its opening date, Bloomsbury announced a new gift book titled Harry Potter – A Magical Year: The Illustrations of Jim Kay, and Hansons Auctioneers announced a first-of-its-kind auction dedicated to Harry Potter-themed memorabilia and rare, first-edition books. The month ended with the Harry Potter film score being voted the most recognizable of all time.
There was another exciting announcement from the flagship Harry Potter New York store in May when it was revealed that it would include a butterbeer bar. May also brought us the news that there would be a Harry Potter quiz show on HBO to celebrate 20 years of Sorcerer’s Stone. On the other side of the world, Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo – The Making of Harry Potter witnessed its groundbreaking ceremony. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery reached 100 million downloads, and Mads Mikkelsen kept the excitement for Fantastic Beasts building when he teased an epic battle between Grindelwald and Newt Scamander.
June saw big news for Cursed Child in the United States. It would announce that performances in New York, San Francisco, and Toronto would all be returning from their shutdowns as a one-part show. There was also big news for the Harry Potter Alliance: It was revealed that the organization would now be known as Fandom Forward. In the lead-up to school summer vacation, Wizarding World Digital launched Harry Potter Reading Magic, a five-week digital initiative to get children reading in the summer. June also brought the announcement of the all-new Harry Potter Photographic Exhibition in London, the return of Major League Quidditch, and a leaked photograph from the upcoming Fantastic Beasts movie that appeared to show the inside of the German Ministry of Magic.
In July, Warner Bros. announced a new attraction, Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience, which opened in Cheshire, England. For fans in the US, the Harry Potter New York store revealed details of its two virtual reality experiences: “Chaos at Hogwarts” and “Wizards Take Flight.” Graphic design wizards MinaLima unveiled a new book, The Magic of MinaLima, which will detail their experience creating the graphics of the Wizarding World franchise. This wasn’t the only book news. Bonnie Wright revealed that she was writing a book that would be published in 2022. Finally, Warner Bros. announced a 20th-anniversary edition of Sorcerer’s Stone on Digital and Blu-ray with a new feature called Magical Movie Mode.
August saw the Wizarding World get all nostalgic, with Cinemark celebrating 20 years of magic with special showings of Sorcerer’s Stone, and the Mehr! Theater, home to Cursed Child in Hamburg, Germany, announced that it would be showing all eight Harry Potter films throughout September. Sticking with 20th-anniversary preparations, it was announced that the Harry Potter trolley located at King’s Cross station would set off on a tour across the United Kingdom and Ireland. Other news this month included the expansion of the soft opening of Universal Beijing Resort and the announcement of James and Oliver Phelps’s new travel show, the first episode of which will feature Evanna Lynch.
September kicked off with Tom Felton joining in with the Back to Hogwarts celebrations and the news that MinaLima would be opening a new pop-up shop in Paju, South Korea. The anticipated HBO Potter quiz show got a title, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Tournament of Houses, and a host in Dame Helen Mirren, but the show wasn’t the only one with a title reveal this month. Toward the end of the month, the title of the third Fantastic Beasts film was announced as Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, and we received plot details for Newt’s next adventure. It was also revealed that the movie would be released a week earlier in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The month ended with a surprise announcement from Wizarding World Digital about the ending of the Harry Potter Fan Club Gold Membership.
October brought with it two announcements from the world of Cursed Child: The Japanese production revealed the date of its first show, July 8, 2022, and the Canadian production announced that it would open on May 31, 2022. The Fantastic Beasts news continued with Deadline reporting that the movie would visit locations outside of the West, including Bhutan and China. MuggleNet also revealed that a character from the second movie would not be appearing in Secrets of Dumbledore at all. Away from Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts, Bonnie Wright launched an environmental and sustainability newsletter to provide subscribers with weekly climate content.
The biggest news of November was the announcement that Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and many other cast and crew members of the Potter films would be reuniting for an HBO Max special, Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts. For fans of the mobile game Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, November brought with it the sad news that it would be shutting down on January 31, 2022. Cursed Child Melbourne announced that it would join the North American productions in performing the new one-part play, and Bonnie Wright revealed the titles and covers of her debut book, Go Gently: Actionable Steps to Nurture Yourself and the Planet.
As 2021 drew to a close, the highly anticipated trailer for Secrets of Dumbledore was released, followed by the first official poster a few weeks later. The first full trailer for Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts was also released ahead of the special on New Year’s Day. US Quidditch and Major League Quidditch began the joint process of changing the name of the sport of Muggle quidditch, a process supported by QuidditchUK. Cursed Child on Broadway officially reopened as a one-part play, and a first-edition hardback copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone sold at auction for $471,000, making it the highest selling price for a first edition of a Harry Potter book.
Do you have a Wizarding World highlight from 2021? What are you looking forward to in 2022?