Harry Potter

Return To Hogwarts: everything we know about the 20th anniversary Harry Potter TV special

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The original cast of Harry Potter is set to reunite for an upcoming HBO Max special to mark the 20th anniversary of the franchise’s first film – and we’re in for a magical journey. 

Has it really been 20 years since Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone hit the big screen? It feels like only yesterday that we were introduced to Harry, Ron and Hermione as they set off for Hogwarts from Platform 9¾, leading us on a magical journey into their wizarding world. 

In utterly magical news for Potterheads, last month, HBO Max announced that the original cast of the Harry Potter series will reunite to celebrate the anniversary of the franchise’s first film.

Titled Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, the HBO Max special will invite fans “on a magical first-person journey through one of the most beloved film franchises of all time” – and now, the first official trailer for the upcoming reunion has finally been released.

We see a smiling Emma Watson walk along Platform 9¾ and she admits: “It feels like no time has passed and loads of time has passed,” before embracing a smiling Tom Felton in the bustling Great Hall. 

Daniel Radcliffe also shares in the short clip: “The thing that scared me the most was the implication that the most meaningful thing in our life was done. And there’s something so joyous about seeing everyone and being like ‘It wasn’t though.’”

Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes share anecdotes from their time filming, heartfelt castmate reunions are had and it all looks like a spectacularly nostalgic affair. We can’t wait.

Watch the magical new trailer here:

As well as the trailer, the official poster for the reunion special also features Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson in the Great Hall at Hogwarts, which has been decked out for Christmas.

They’re surrounded by many other familiar faces, including Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), James Phelps and Oliver Phelps (Fred & George Weasley), Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley), Alfred Enoch (Dean Thomas), Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom), and Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood).

Harry Potter TV reunion
Return To Hogwarts: the Harry Potter TV reunion airs on New Year's Day

Last week, we got our first look at the Harry Potter reunion through an image of Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson all sitting together on set.

Earlier this month, fans were finally treated to the first teaser trailer. In the clip shared by HBO Max, we see glimpses of the a few beloved Harry Potter stars as they get their official Hogwarts letters to return. Take a look:

Read ahead for everything we know so far about the reunion special.

What do we know about Return To Hogwarts?

According to HBO Max, the retrospective will “tell an enchanting making-of story through all-new, in-depth interviews and cast conversations”.

“It has been an incredible journey since the debut of the ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ film, and witnessing how it has evolved into this remarkable interconnected universe has been magical to say the least,” Tom Ascheim, president of Warner Bros. Global Kids, Young Adults and Classics, told Variety.

“This retrospective is a tribute to everyone whose lives were touched by this cultural phenomenon - from the talented cast and crew who poured their heart and soul into this extraordinary film franchise to the passionate fans who continue to keep the Wizarding World spirit alive 20 years later.”

Harry Potter immersive dining experience London
Harry Potter may be over 20 years old, but fans remain obsessed to this very day.

Who will appear in Return To Hogwarts?

Original Hogwarts wizarding trio Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson will join filmmaker Chris Columbus to discuss the films and explore their creation in depth in the reunion.

The tribute also includes other cast members from all eight Harry Potter films, including Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Imelda Staunton, Tom Felton, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Mark Williams, Bonnie Wright, Alfred Enoch, Matthew Lewis, Evanna Lynch and Ian Hart.

Daniel Radcliffe found fame playing the eponymous wizard in Harry Potter.
Daniel Radcliffe found fame playing the eponymous wizard in Harry Potter.

Is there a trailer for Return To Hogwarts?

Yes – and hearing the theme tune once again has already made us want to watch a re-run immediately.

In the clip, we hear Professor Dumbledore speaking about the “mysterious” quality of time as Hermione winds the time-turner which featured in Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban.

“When in doubt, I find retracing my steps to be a wise place to begin.”

What have the cast said about Return To Hogwarts?

Wishing fans a happy 20th anniversary on Instagram, Emma Watson, who played the bookish character Hermione in the franchise, celebrated the movie’s legacy by revisiting her own memories.

“Harry Potter was my home, my family, my world and Hermione (still is) my favourite fictional character of all time. I think a journalist once said it was irritating how many times during an interview I mentioned how lucky I was and started counting… BUT I DAMN WELL KNEW!!! And still know.

“I am proud not just of what we as group contributed as actors to the franchise but also as the children that became young adults that walked that path. I look at my fellow cast members now and I am just so proud of who everyone has become as people. I am proud we were kind to each other that we supported one another and that we held up something meaningful.”

Watson also thanked fans for their long-standing support “well after the last chapter closed”.

 “The magic of the world wouldn’t exist without you. Thank you for fighting to make it such an inclusive and loving place,” she continued.

Tom Felton, who played villain Draco Malfoy, also reminded fans to save the date. 

“Is this what school homecoming is like?” he wrote on Twitter. “Mark your calendars for New Years Day ReturnToHogwarts, streaming on hbomax x.”

Meanwhile, Matt Lewis, who played Neville Longbottom in the series, posted: “This New Year’s Day … we’re putting the band back together.”

Is there a release date for Return To Hogwarts?

Return to Hogwarts will be released on 1 January 2022 on HBO Max, and Now TV and Sky in the UK and Ireland.

Images: Warner Bros

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Christobel Hastings

Christobel Hastings is Stylist's Entertainment Editor whose specialist interests include pop culture, LGBTQ+ identity and lore.