J.K. Rowling Not Returning for HBO Max 'Harry Potter' Reunion but Will Appear in Archival Footage

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling came under fire in June 2020 for her controversial stance on feminism and the trans community

JK Rowliing
J.K. Rowling. Photo: Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

J.K. Rowling will not participate in the upcoming Harry Potter reunion special.

HBO Max announced Tuesday that original stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and the extended cast members will reunite for the first time for Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, which debuts on Jan. 1, 2022.

The special will be a retrospective, focusing on the creation of the first film from 2001, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, in honor of the 20th anniversary.

Harry Potter creator and author Rowling, 56, will not make a personal appearance in any new content for the special, a source close to the production confirms to PEOPLE, however she will be shown in archival footage throughout. Her name was noticeably not listed in the teaser for the highly anticipated special.

Rowling came under fire in June 2020 when she appeared to support anti-transgender sentiments in a series of tweets. Though she denied that her views on feminism are transphobic, she doubled down on her controversial standpoints in a lengthy essay shared on her website days later.

Stars Radcliffe, Watson and Grint each spoke out against Rowling's much-criticized remarks regarding the transgender community.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Radcliffe, 32, stated definitively in an essay for The Trevor Project that "transgender women are women."

"Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I," Radcliffe wrote at the time.

"According to The Trevor Project, 78 percent of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity," he added. "It's clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm."

Additionally, Grint, 33, said in a statement at the time, "I firmly stand with the trans community and echo the sentiments expressed by many of my peers. Trans women are women. Trans men are men. We should all be entitled to live with love and without judgment

And 31-year-old Watson expressed her support in a Twitter thread too: "Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren't who they say they are. I want my trans followers to know that I and so many other people around the world see you, respect you and love you for who you are."

RELATED: Emma Watson Says Harry Potter Was 'My Home, My Family, My World' Ahead of 20th Anniversary Special

Responding to backlash back in June 2020, Rowling wrote that she refuses to "bow down to a movement that I believe is doing demonstrable harm in seeking to erode 'woman' as a political and biological class and offering cover to predators like few before it."

Actor Ralph Fiennes, who played Lord Voldemort in the Potter franchise, told the U.K.'s The Telegraph back in March that he personally feels the "level of hatred" aimed at Rowling is uncalled for.

"I can't understand the vitriol directed at her. I can understand the heat of an argument, but I find this age of accusation and the need to condemn irrational," said Fiennes at the time. "I find the level of hatred that people express about views that differ from theirs, and the violence of language towards others, disturbing."

Rowling published a new children's book with Scholastic titled The Christmas Pig in October, and she penned a screenplay treatment for the forthcoming third Fantastic Beasts movie The Secrets of Dumbledore, in theaters April 15, 2022.

Related Articles