Will Donahue ‘24
Earlier this year, when the news of a live-action “How to Train Your Dragon” remake hit the internet, I thought the craze of sequels, prequels, and reboots that have dominated theaters over the past decade was at its peak. But it looks like the real craze is only just beginning; in the weeks since, we have received an onslaught of announcements for new entries in our favorite franchises. These include new “Lord of the Rings” movies, another “Game of Thrones” prequel, and – perhaps most egregiously – another Twilight adaptation in the form of a TV series. I successfully avoided one “Twilight” phase back when the movies were releasing, and I’m certainly not looking forward to avoiding another.
We’re even getting a live-action reimagining of “Moana”. Yes, “Moana” – a movie which came out less than seven years ago and is still reasonably popular today. With the original cast even returning as producers (notably, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Auli’i Cravalho, who voiced Maui and Moana respectively), I am left wondering what exactly is being “reimagined” here. Maybe it’s too early to judge, but Disney’s recent live-action output does not make me hopeful for “Moana”, especially if it’s even more Dwayne Johnson-centric than the original. Considering the fresh wound that is “Black Adam” – which, despite what he wants us to believe, was not an earth-shattering success – I can’t say I’m hungry for whatever the Rock is cooking next.
But to me, none of these ongoing projects are as audacious as the “Harry Potter” reboot. Let’s pretend for a moment that J.K. Rowling is not the face of one of the world’s leading hate movements – what will audiences gain from a “Harry Potter” TV series? A reboot of a story everyone already knows? A story which has already spawned one of the most successful and beloved film franchises of all time? Maybe some die-hard Potterheads are excited (and five years ago, I would have counted myself among them), but this only reads as desperate to me. Add in the fact that the reboot will apparently use the same logo, same music, and same Hogwarts design as the films, and I am once again wondering: is this anything more than a cash-grab?
The main selling point of this “Harry Potter” reboot seems to be its “faithfulness”, and I understand why; a long-form TV series would allow for more of the original story to make its way on screen. But at the same time, maybe not everything needs to be adapted from those books. I know the movies left a lot on the cutting room floor, but I think they made the right call when they didn’t show our favorite boy wizard making fun of Hermione’s anti-slavery campaign. In fact, those movies (which are still wildly popular, mind you) were about the best adaptations we could have gotten – especially in the casting department. I seriously can’t imagine this reboot living up to the lightning in a bottle that was the original cast of the “Harry Potter” movies.
I’m not going to accuse Hollywood writers of “creative bankruptcy” or whatever the kids are saying these days; there are hundreds of original movies and TV shows being produced every year, and it would be asinine to pretend that the works of a few big corporations represent an entire industry. I also understand that nostalgia sells, and that these remakes are only being made because franchise media is now more popular than ever. But I can’t help feeling like these recent announcements are so transparent in their intentions, as if the people behind them have completely abandoned any pretense of creativity. We’ve never seen a successful franchise blatantly rehash itself the way “Twilight” or “Harry Potter” will with their TV reboots – and if this becomes the new norm, I’ll be seriously worried we may never see a new franchise again.
Featured image courtesy of Pexels Cinemas
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