It’s been twelve years since the publication of the last Harry Potter book and eight since the final film — yet the Wizarding World shows no sign of slowing. Far from it, 2019 was another year of magical expansion: new mobile games and Cursed Child productions, a groundbreaking rollercoaster and more illustrations than you could shake a holly and phoenix stick at. Read on (or explore instead by photos) to see everything that happened in 2019 in ‘Potter’.
- Cast portraits for the Australian production of Cursed Child are revealed. The Melbourne production becomes the third location to stage the two-part ‘eighth story’ play.
- Bloomsbury unveil the cover artwork for the four 20th anniversary house editions of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, out in June. The cover designs (again by artist Levi Pinfold) feature Sirius Black in his animagus dog form and an ornate vignette of house-flavoured iconography.
- Warner Bros. announce a Gringotts Bank expansion set to open at the Harry Potter studio tour in London in April.
- Dan Fogler (Jacob Kowalski in the Fantastic Beasts films) confirms the third film in the series will see Newt and co. travel to Brazil. He also hints at a release delay (the film is at this point slated for November 2020) but attributes the delay to the logistics of creating a film ‘bigger than the first two combined’, not a response to Crimes of Gindelwald’s lukewarm critical reception.
- Bloomsbury announce they’ll publish a paperback version of the Chamber of Secrets illustrated edition. The paperback edition will be smaller than its 2016 hardback counterpart and feature 60% of the illustrations present in that version.
- We interview and profile MinaLima, the graphic designers responsible for all of the graphic design in the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films.
- Funko unveil a convention-exclusive Pop! Vinyl pack featuring Ginny, Fred and George Weasley in their Irish Quidditch World Cup outfits.
- Universal announce Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, a new ‘immersive coaster experience’ set to open at the Harry Potter theme park in Florida. The new rollercoaster will replace the Triwizard-themed Dragon Challenge which closed in 2017.
- Cursed Child officially launches at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne. J.K. Rowling sends a cake and handwritten letter to the cast and crew and reveals her ‘heart was in Oz’.
- Graphic designers MinaLima announce a new series of limited graphic prints featuring magical moments from the Harry Potter films. The first print in the series depicts Harry receiving his Hogwarts letter.
- Bloomsbury unveil the cover artwork and a number of glorious illustrations from Jim Kay’s Goblet of Fire illustrated edition, due out in October. The publisher also confirms that the the fourth illustrated edition will be published in both a standard and deluxe format and that both versions will contain over 115 new illustrations from Kay in a single volume.
- Cast portraits for the second wave of actors set to take the stage in the Broadway production of Cursed Child are revealed. The first wave of actors included a number of principals from the original West End production.
- We release the second part of our extensive profile of graphic design duo MinaLima, this time delving into the design of Newt Scamander’s prequel universe.
- Following the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Beedle the Bard illustrated editions in 2017 and 2018, respectively, Bloomsbury announce an illustrated version of Quidditch Through the Ages. The fictional textbook will feature illustrations by artist Emily Gravett and will be released in late 2020.
- Harry Potter: The Exhibition opens in Spain, the next stop on a worldwide tour which began in Chicago in 2009. James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley) and Natalia Tena (Nymphadora Tonks) are on hand to help launch the event.
- We chat to composer Nicholas Hooper about his two Harry Potter film scores and mark the tenth anniversary of his Half-Blood Prince music.
- Universal unveil a number of creatures which will feature in the Hagrid motorbike rollercoaster ride, including Fluffy the three-headed dog, Centaurs, and — for the the first time — a Blast-Ended Skrewt.
- LEGO announce five new Harry Potter sets will be released in June. The new sets depict scenes from Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire.
- Warner Bros. officially confirm Fantastic Beasts 3 will be released on 12 November 2021 following a year-long delay. A senior Warner Bros. spokesperson says the company still has much faith in the franchise and are excited about its next instalment.
- Universal reveal a first look at a nearly eight-foot animatronic figure of Rubeus Hagrid, the centrepiece of the new motorbike rollercoaster ride. The creators studied actor Robbie Coltrane’s body movements and facial expressions to help inform the half giant’s design, which has a ‘meticulously hand-sculpted face’ and ‘24 different body actions’.
- LEGO announce two additional Harry Potter lego sets: the Beauxbatons arrival and Harry/Voldemort’s graveyard duel will arrive in August.
- Warner Bros. and J.K. Rowling announce a new digital venture and successor to Pottermore: Wizarding World Digital. The Wizarding World brand — unveiled in 2018 — will aid in consolidating the Fantastic Beasts films, Cursed Child and other Harry Potter properties under a single media umbrella. Think of it as the MCU for ‘Potter’.
- Funko unveil their Harry Potter Pop! Vinyl theme for 2019: the Goblet of Fire Yule Ball. The company announce a first wave of Yule Ball figures which include Harry, Cedric, Fleur and Krum. A second wave will follow later in the year, while an Advent calendar (also themed around the wintery Yule Ball scene) will arrive in time for Christmas.
- Universal reveal more details about Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure: the coaster will feature a record seven launches, a vertical free-fall drop and an obligatory ‘backwards bit’. Harry Potter film production designer Stuart Craig’s involvement with the ride’s set design is also confirmed.
- Bloomsbury reveal more details about the Goblet of Fire deluxe illustration edition, including a Hogwarts sketch by artist Jim Kay which will be unique to that deluxe format.
- The next location for Cursed Child is revealed: Toronto! That’s now six productions of the ‘Potter’ stage play.
- Pottermore announce the publication of four new Harry Potter eBooks, a series of bite-sized Hogwarts lesson inspired reads adapted from the Harry Potter: A History of Magic audiobook published a year earlier. Predictably, the Internet blows up with clickbait and misinformation claiming new ‘Potter’ books are on the way.
- Wizards Unite, a new augmented reality mobile game from the team responsible for Pokémon Go, is released in beta in Australia and New Zealand. Over a weekend in May we put the game through its paces and write an extensive review of the gameplay experience. A couple of months later the game is released to the world.
- Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure officially opens at Universal Studios in Orlando. A number of Harry Potter stars including Tom Felton, Rupert Grint, Evanna Lynch, Warwick Davis and the Phelps twins help launch the attraction. Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid) sends a greeting by video.
- Bloomsbury celebrate the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with the release of the four house editions. We scoop up a copy of each edition on release day and write an extensive review.
- The iconic San Diego Comic-Con festival is marked with three convention-exclusive Funko Pop! Vinyls: Fawkes the Phoenix, Rita Skeeter and Nagini in human form.
- Bloomsbury continue their 20th anniversary Prisoner of Azkaban celebrations by commissioning a number of illustrators (including Jim Kay, Chris Riddell, Emily Gravett, Levi Pinfold and MinaLima) to produce postcards of Patronus animals. The postcards are then auctioned for BookTrust, the UK’s largest reading charity.
- Little, Brown Book Group and Scholastic announce the publication of a Cursed Child companion book featuring new behind the scenes photos, interviews, sketches, notes and stories. The companion book follows the play from its conception through to staging and will be published in October.
- Bloomsbury announces a theme for the 2020 Harry Potter Book Night, the Triwizard Tournament from Goblet of Fire. The annual event will take place on 6 February 2020 and encourages readers to discover and celebrate the magic of the ‘Potter’ series.
- We put LEGO’s new Hogwarts Castle set — the second largest set the company has ever produced — to the test and write a detailed review of the build process.
- Bloomsbury announce a release date for the Goblet of Fire 20th anniversary house editions: 23 January 2020. In addition, new cover artwork reveals each edition is themed around a sketch of the eponymous Goblet with unique house-themed iconography inspired by the elements: fire, earth, air and water.
- New York Comic Con continues the Funko Yule Ball theme and announces new Pop! Vinyl figures for Madame Maxime and Argus Filch (complete with Mrs. Norris).
- Cursed Child gets a branding makeover. Gone is the original logo and in its place is the iconic Harry Potter film logo. J.K. Rowling’s name is also featured more prominently on signage. Time Square is decked out in Cursed Child signage to mark the change.
- Harry Potter Fan Zone exclusively unveils a first high-resolution look at the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang arrivals illustrations from Jim Kay’s Goblet of Fire illustrated edition.
- MinaLima reveal a new wallpaper collection of some of their most iconic Harry Potter prints, including the famous Marauder’s Map design.
- The Goblet of Fire illustrated edition is released and we’re one of the first to get our hands on the new tome and review its gorgeous contents.
- Cast portraits for the San Francisco production of Cursed Child are revealed. San Francisco will become the fourth location to stage the play.
- Wizarding World Gold, a new annual Harry Potter subscription, is available to pre-order in the US and UK. Wizarding World Gold will give ‘Potter’ fans access to exclusive Wizarding World content and collectibles.
- In an effort to further consolidate ‘Potter’ properties, Warner Bros. announce the closure of Pottermore, J.K. Rowling’s digital venture launched in 2012. Pottermore’s content is migrated to the WizardingWorld.com domain, creating a single home for official ‘Potter’ content, the Gold service, and a new fan club and mobile app.
- We interview composer Patrick Doyle and delve deep into his 2005 Goblet of Fire film score.
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter expands with the announcement of a Beijing park to open in 2021. China will be the third country to host a Harry Potter theme park following the USA (Orlando, Hollywood) and Japan.
- Japan celebrates their 20th anniversary publication of Harry Potter by unveiling new book covers for the first three novels in the series.
- Warner Bros. announce Fantastic Beasts 3 is officially in pre-production. Steve Kloves, screenwriter of seven of the eight Harry Potter films, will co-write the screenplay with J.K. Rowling. The Rio de Janeiro location is confirmed, alongside the return of all of the main cast members.
- Warner Bros. unveil a calendar of events for their Harry Potter London studio tour in 2020. New events will celebrate the art department and Slytherin house.
- Bulgaria celebrates the 20th anniversary of its first Harry Potter publication with new cover artwork by a 96-year-old artist.
- Harry Potter: The Exhibition travels from Spain to Portugal and actors James and Oliver Phelps, alongside graphic designers Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima (MinaLima), are on hand to celebrate the launch.
- Wizarding World Gold is officially launched in the US and UK. A gift box subscription for the service is also unveiled, alongside a Gold-exclusive Patronus stag Funko Pop!.
- Cursed Child makes its debut in San Francisco. It’s now playing in four locations across the globe.
- Eddie Redmayne and J.K. Rowling walk the red carpet at a preview event for Finding the Way Home, a new documentary which shines a spotlight on the painful realities of children living in orphanages and similar institutions.
- J.K. Rowling receives the prestigious Ripple of Hope Award for her continued human rights work. A week later, Rowling — an author whose work so often champions equality and inclusivity — sends a Tweet which causes significant distress and hurt to the Transgender community.
- We launch a redesigned version of Harry Potter Fan Zone, the culmination of a year of behind the screens work. The rebuilt website will help us continue to deliver a daily dose of Harry Potter magic and community long into the next decade.
What’s in store for 2020?
Crack out your crystal balls — it’s time to take a look into the future. There’s much in store for the Wizarding World in 2020. Here are a few things to look forward to at the start of the next decade:
- The Goblet of Fire 20th anniversary house editions will be published on 23 January 2020. Goblet of Fire was first published in July of 2000.
- Cursed Child will open at the Mehr! Theater am Großmarkt in Hamburg (spring) and the Ed Mirvish Theatre in Toronto (autumn).
- Fantastic Beasts 3 will begin shooting in early 2020. We’ll also get a title, casting announcements and (likely) our first promotional stills.
- Emily Gravett’s illustrated version of Quidditch Through the Ages will be published in October.
- Funko will continue its takeover of literally every piece of free shelf space in the world with new Harry Potter figures. Nymphadora Tonks is first up. She’ll be released in March.
- A number of new Harry Potter LEGO sets will be released — it looks like one of those will be the Second Task from Goblet of Fire.
- Wizarding World Gold will (likely) be opened to a worldwide audience and more exclusive content and collectibles will be unveiled.
Thanks for a great 2019 at Harry Potter Fan Zone — have a safe and happy New Year and we’ll see you in the next decade! Be kind.