Despite Backlash, Hogwarts Legacy Buries Previous Wizarding World Franchise

in Harry Potter, Movies, Video Games

Phineas Nigellus Black in 'Hogwarts Legacy'

Credit: Avalanche Software / Warner Bros.

Hogwarts Legacy continues to change The Wizarding World of Harry Potter despite the significant backlash the game has faced, as the latest installment appears to have buried its predecessor in fans’ minds.

Despite criticism, backlash, and multiple efforts to boycott the latest installment in The Wizarding World, Hogwarts Legacy has had a massive impact worldwide, with millions of fans rushing to play the new open-world video game inspired by the stories written by J.K. Rowling on PlayStation5, PlayStation4, PlayStation4 Pro, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One consoles, Nintendo Switch and PC. But could the success of the controversial video game be the final nail in the coffin of its preceding franchise?

The Wand shop in Hogwarts Legacy
Credit: Warner Bros.

Related: Rowling Compares Trans People to “Death Eaters,” Admits She Knew Potter Fans Would Turn Against Her 

Hogwarts Legacy, a controversial installment in The Wizarding World

What type of game is Hogwarts Legacy?

The latest installment in The Wizarding World — or perhaps the earliest installment, since the story takes place roughly a century before the events of the Harry Potter franchise — is, per the video game’s official website, “an immersive, open-world, action role-playing-game set in the 1800s wizarding world, which puts players at the centre of their own adventure.”

The open-world, single-player, action role-playing video game inspired by The Wizarding World will allow players to immerse themselves in the life as a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry like never before, as they live the unwritten and embark on a dangerous journey to uncover a hidden truth of the wizarding world as they play through the original story.

Hogwarts Legacy
Credit: Warner Bros.

This means that fans of J.K. Rowling’s series will have the chance to explore the Forbidden ForestHogsmeade Village, Diagon Alley, and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, master spells, brew potions, tame magical creatures and fantastic beasts, fly on broomstick, and so much more in the new game published by Warner Bros. Games under the Portkey Games label.

The game was officially released on February 10 for PlayStation5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC, and has scheduled releases on May 5, 2023, for PlayStation4 and Xbox One, and July 25, 2023, for Nintendo Switch.

Are there any characters from the Harry Potter franchise in the game?

If you were expecting to roam the hallways of Hogwarts along with Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley, attend potions class with Professor Severus Snape and transfiguration class with Professor Minerva McGonagall, and meet the headmaster Albus Dumbledore in this new game, Hogwarts Legacy would be a disappointment for you.

Alan Rickman playing Professor Severus Snape in the 'Harry Potter' franchise
Credit: Warner Bros.

As the plot of this new video game takes place before the period of J.K. Rowling’s original stories, beloved characters like Professor Snape, Professor McGonagall, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, Neville Longbottom, Draco Malfoy, Ginny Weasley, Fred Weasley, George Weasley, Rubeus Hagrid, and Albus Dumbledore will not make an appearance in Hogwarts Legacy.

Why is Hogwarts Legacy facing backlash?

While millions of fans worldwide were excited to step back into The Wizarding World with the release of Hogwarts Legacy, the latest installment stirred more than cauldrons, as thousands of former fans and activists criticized the game’s anti-semitic undertones and insulting LGBTQIA+ representation — added to J.K. Rowling’s hateful and controversial statements — promoting multiple boycott efforts against the new video game.

Hogwarts Legacy Harry Potter game Sirona Ryans at the Three Broomsticks
Credit: Warner Bros.

Related: ‘Harry Potter’s’ First Transgender Character Will Debut In New Wizarding World’ Project

Rowling proudly proclaims her hatred for transgender people, particularly transgender women. She frames this, of course, as being gender critical. She claims to be concerned for the well-being of cisgender women and girls, who she fears could be attacked by trans women. Rowling’s stance and public statements have caused a heated debate surrounding the writer and have caused severe consequences against members of the LGBTQIA+ community, including sending her legions of followers after transgender activists, even causing many of the core Harry Potter cast to turn against her, including Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and known-feminist activist Emma Watson.

JK Rowling
Credit: ABC

Related: “She Who Must Not Be Named” – ‘Harry Potter’ Star Reportedly Forbidden From Discussing JK Rowling

And if that wasn’t enough, the new game’s plot is strongly based upon Rowling’s racist and antisemitic stereotypes, as Hogwarts Legacy portrays Goblins — bankers in the Harry Potter universe who have been interpreted as a coarse representation of Jewish stereotypes — as the villains of the story. Sure, Rowling doesn’t say the Goblins are Jewish…But she also named an Asian character Cho Chang.

Portkey game developers have stated that, while they charted new territory by creating fresh ways for fans to immerse themselves in The Wizarding World — as the game is not a direct adaptation of the books and films — the video game is firmly rooted in the magical universe of the Wizarding World; remaining true to J.K. Rowling’s original vision.

Hogwarts Legacy Harry Potter game student getting Sorted
Credit: Warner Bros.

Related: No, You Shouldn’t Play the New ‘Harry Potter’ Game

Regarding J.K. Rowling’s involvement in the development of the game, its official website states, “J.K. Rowling was not involved in the creation of the game, but as creator of the wizarding world and one of the world’s greatest storytellers, her extraordinary body of writing is the foundation of all projects in the Wizarding World. This is not a new story from J.K. Rowling, however we have collaborated closely with her team on all aspects of the game to ensure it remains in line with the magical experiences fans expect.”

Despite J.K. Rowling not being directly involved in developing the immersive open-world video game, Rowling will receive royalties from its profits. This angers activists as she will use those royalties to continue supporting marginalization and harm toward transgender people.

How is the new Wizarding World-inspired game performing?

While boycott efforts against the video game and discussion about the Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling continue, Hogwarts Legacy has broken streaming records on Twitch. The game reportedly sold 12 million copies, generating $850M in sales two weeks after its release, making it Warner Bros. Games’ biggest videogame launch, per a New York Times report.

Student Flying Hippogriff in Hogwarts Legacy
Credit: Warner Bros.

With staggering numbers despite the backlash the videogame received due to its background, many fans are wondering what will come next, inevitably thinking that Hogwarts Legacy is the final nail in the coffin of its preceding franchise, Fantastic Beasts. 

The inevitable demise of the Fantastic Beasts franchise

While Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) promised to take fans of The Wizarding World on a new adventure, following magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), writer of the book “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” the new franchise slowly lost its magic, as well as its profits, making millions of fans worldwide wonder if the franchise will be canceled despite previous plans.

How many Fantastic Beasts movies have been released?

The Fantastic Beasts franchise currently consists of three movies; Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018), and Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022).

'Fantastic Beasts' star Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander
Credit: Warner Bros.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them follows the story of magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) as he journeys into America, getting entangled with Porpentina (Tina) Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), a witch working at the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA). Newt’s trip is unexpectedly prolonged when a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) inadvertently steals Scamander’s magically-expanded suitcase, releasing several dangerous magical creatures into 1926 New York. The film stars Alison Sudol as Queenie Goldstein, Tina’s sister, Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone, Carmen Ejogo as President Seraphina Picquery, Colin Farrell as Percival Graves, and Johhny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald, a prominent dark wizard that caused global chaos long before Lord Voldemort.

Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald in the rally in 'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald'
Credit: Warner Bros.

The movie’s sequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, allowed viewers to understand better Newt Scamander’s relationship with Professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) while letting the character and his relationships develop further. The second installment also introduced Leta Lestrange (Zoë Kravitz), Theseus Scamander (Callum Turner), Nagini (Claudia Kim), Yusuf Kama (William Nadylam), and Nicolas Flamel (Brontis Jodorowsky).

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
Credit: Warner Bros.

The third installment, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, has been perhaps the least engaging movie in the franchise, with a loose storyline and significant changes in the cast and plot that caused a bad reception and poor performance at the global box office, making many wonder if the franchise is dead after this third installment.

How has the Fantastic Beasts franchise performed at the box office?

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was a smashing success at the global box office, grossing an estimated $812.5M against its estimated budget of $175M.

Fantastic Beasts
Credit: Warner Bros

While Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald had a good performance grossing $654.9M globally against its $200M budget, the sequel had a worse performance than its preceding installment. And this trend continued for Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, with the movie barely doubling its $200M budget, grossing $407M globally.

Johhny Depp and other Fantastic Beasts scandals

The controversies surrounding the films are part of the decreasing success of the Fantastic Beasts franchise. Of course, J.K. Rowling’s involvement drags her stance against the LGBTQIA+ community to the project, similarly to what we mentioned above while analyzing Hogwarts Legacy.

This indirectly caused a drastic casting change in the franchise’s last installment, dramatically cutting the screen time of Katherine Waterston’s character, Tina Goldstein. The story justifies Waterston’s absence by saying that her character earned a higher role within MACUSA, absorbing her and preventing her from getting involved in the story’s events.

Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them
Credit: Warner Bros.

However, actress Katherine Waterston has been the most outspoken cast member in condemning J.K. Rowling’s transphobic comments, making many assume that her character’s brief appearance is a punishment for the actress’ stance. Despite the retaliation, fans of the actress and members of the LGBTQIA+ community have applauded Katherine Waterston for sacrificing her place as the co-lead in the Fantastic Beasts franchise in favor of denouncing J.K. Rowling.

Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald
Credit: Warner Bros

And, of course, many fans were disappointed to hear that beloved actor Johhny Depp was being replaced due to his lengthy trial against Amber Heard. Depp’s character, Gellert Grindelwald, was played by Mads Mikkelsen, and while some praised his performance, many fans were disappointed to see the franchise parting ways with Johny Depp, who always breathes a characteristic charm to all of his characters.

Mads Mikkelsen as Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
Credit: Warner Bros.

Related: ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Franchise May Be Canceled, Could End Years Early 

In a recent interview, actor Eddie Redmayne confirmed that there are no plans to continue the franchise, despite initial plans for five Fantastic Beasts movies. And while Hogwarts Legacy could inspire a sequel to the videogame as well as new projects beyond gaming, possibly spanning a series or new movie franchise, no official plans have been announced by Warner Bros.

As of this article’s publishing, Warner Bros. officials have not released any statements addressing the cancelation or continuation of the Fantastic Beasts franchise. Inside the Magic will keep you updated on any developments in the franchise.

More on The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Since British writer J.K. Rowling published the first installment in her Harry Potter book franchise, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter sparked a worldwide phenomenon that remains relevant to this day; now with seven published books following the story of Harry Potter, the boy who lived.

The seven books written by J.K. Rowling inspired an eight-movie franchise starring Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley), James Phelps (Fred Weasley), Oliver Phelps (George Weasley), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom), Alan Rickman (Severus Snape), Maggie Smith (Minerva McGonagall), Michael Gambon (Albus Dumbledore), Gary Oldman (Sirius Black), David Thewlis (Remus Lupin), Robbie Coltrane (Rubeus Hagrid), Warwick Davis (Filius Flitwick), Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort), Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange), Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy), Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), Richard Griffiths (Vernon Dursley), Fiona Shaw (Petunia Dursley), and Harry Melling (Dudley Dursley), among other talented actors.

Harry Potter 20th anniversary special
Credit: HBO Max

The series also inspired the live play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which takes place nineteen years after the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The play follows Harry Potter, now Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement at the Ministry of Magic, and his son, Albus Severus Potter, who is about to attend his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The play has received critical acclaim for its magic, illusions, and stage wizardry from its opening in 2016, with multiple rumors about Warner Bros. planning to bring the play to the big screen.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Credit: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Related: Is Warner Bros. About to Announce Several New ‘Harry Potter’ Films?

And, of course, fans of the Harry Potter franchise can immerse themselves in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter thanks to NBC Universal theme parks, with locations inspired by the beloved franchise at Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Orlando Resort — at both Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of AdventureUniversal Studios Japan, and Universal Beijing Resort. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has also inspired multiple traveling interactive exhibits — although some have sparked debate among fans and locals — and a permanent location to let Guests explore the sets from the movies at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter — which has been strongly criticized.

Have you played, or are you planning to play Hogwarts Legacy? Do you think the game will remove the focus from Fantastic Beasts, making Warner Bros. ditch the franchise? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments below!

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