Year In Review 2019: From ‘Harry Potter’ to ‘Wizarding World’ – Entering A New Era

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Dec 30, 2019

Posted by: Emma Pocock

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We’ve come to the end of 2019, and our review is as full of flavour as a box of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, regardless of there being no big Wizarding World film or book release this year!

The Leaky Cauldron are celebrating a little differently this year, with The Golden Cauldron Awards being our way of letting fans and our readers decide their highlights of 2019 – be sure to have your say by voting (it takes 5 minutes!) here.

The earlier months of this year began with a panel at BroadwayCon, and saying congratulations to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban director, Alfonso Cuarón, for winning not one, but THREE Academy Awards for Roma. We then bid a fond farewell to the original cast in Cursed Child before a year of the play opening in Australia and San Francisco, and announcements that the play would be opening in Hamburg and Toronto. 

10. Wizarding World Gold_Discounts_Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry  Potter_  Gringotts Wizarding BankWarner Bros. Studio Tour opened the Gringotts expansion in April 2019, much to the delight of those able to visit the tour this year! Pottermore and Warner Bros. then announced a huge rebrand, taking J.K. Rowling’s franchise from Harry Potter to Wizarding World with the formation of a new joint venture: Wizarding World Digital.

Leading into June, we witnessed the opening of Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, a new (and highly anticipated) thrill ride at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Universal Orlando Resort, as well as the launch of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, and the release of Lumos, an incredible wrock album by legends Harry and the Potters (their first full-length album in 13 years!).

Leaky then celebrated our 19 Years Later anniversary, followed soon by San Diego Comic Con, and an announcement by Universal Orlando Resort, that Epic Universe – a fourth park – was indeed not a mere rumor!

HPATCC_SF_27_Photo by Matthew MurphyIn the month students head Back to Hogwarts, Cursed Child received a rebrand, followed by a Times Square take-over, which we were lucky enough to witness firsthand.

LeakyCon Boston took place in October, and we got to celebrate ten years of LeakyCon with the fandom, followed shortly by the release of highly anticipated fan film, Sisters of House Black.

Wizarding World Gold, the official fan subscription service, launched, followed by the very first exclusive Wizarding World Gold fan event. We were in attendance at the San Francisco opening of Cursed Child, and most recently, one of the most anticipated films of the year, Little Women, made its debut, starring Harry Potter‘s own Emma Watson!

 

As we come to the end of 2019, take a look at a month-by-month review of just a few highlights from this year:

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January

2019 started with J.K. Rowling taking to her website for a three-part Q&A segment on advice for new writers – a gift, we’re sure, to those who have always wanted to ask her for tips and inspiration!
2019JESSIEC_AAUWe had the chance to  speak to Jessie Cave about publishing her comedy show, Sunrise (later in the year her show Cave Women would debut at Edinburgh Fringe festival!). We learned that production had been delayed on Fantastic Beasts 3, but received the release date for the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, making up for the delay somewhat.

Cursed Child made TIME’s list of Ten Best Plays, we caught a glance at the Australian cast of the show, and the Cursed Child Broadway cast visited BroadwayCon whilst the Broadway show broke sales records. Sonia Friedman was also named Show Person of the Year by Broadway Briefing, so it was a great start to the year for the show!

 

Classic Stills then unveiled their Harry Potter fine art film photography collection, and Warner Bros. Studio Tour London revealed that Gringotts would be coming to the tour (after a lot of teasing!).

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In other awards news in January 2019, Harry Potter‘s Stuart Craig and Roger Pratt received special film honors, Alfonso Cuarón won two Golden Globes and received 10 Academy Award nominations for Roma, and Alexandre Desplat received a nomination for Isle of Dogs.

Finally, Leaky received an exclusive look at Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – Makers, Mysteries and Magic in an interview with the producer – if you haven’t read the interview or listened to the audio series, we highly recommend it for a closer look at Crimes of Grindelwald!

 

February

To start the month, Cursed Child and Sonia Friedman won more awards, including Friedman receiving Producer of the Year for the fourth time in five years at The Stage Awards 2019. We also learned that Cursed Child would be coming to San Francisco’s Curran Theater in the Fall.

Hagrids-Magical-Creatures-Motorbike-Adventure-1As Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald released on DVD, Digital and Blu-Ray, Dan Fogler promised big things from Fantastic Beasts 3

We celebrated Valentine’s Day in the Wizarding World, and reported on exciting rumors that the new ride at Universal Orlando would travel through the Forbidden Forest. Universal Orlando then confirmed these rumors shortly afterwards, as the new Wizarding World thrill ride, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, received a name and an opening date!

 

 

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Chris Rankin launched his YouTube channel, Emma Watson wrote a foreword for Gloria Steinem’s third edition of Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions. Dame Maggie Smith returned to the stage in the difficult one-woman show A German Life.

We learned that the Invisibility Cloak would be brought to life by WOW! Stuff in the Summer, we scoured the Crimes of Grindelwald extended cut for extra material, and learned that the Dark Arts light show would be coming to Universal Theme Parks.
Alfonso Cuarón also received three Oscars for Roma, and Cursed Child opened in Melbourne, Australia.

March

In March 2019, MinaLima announced their new Magical Moments print collection and illustrated edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, as well as bespoke handwritten Hogwarts letters available to order – Mira and Eduardo have certainly been busy!

MinaLima_Prop Replica HP Hogwarts Acceptance Letter 2Fans received a first look at Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, and Leaky attended the Universal Orlando press event announcing more details on Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, attended by none other than Robbie Coltrane himself!

We got a glimpse of cover art for the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, PotterCast unpacked the Crimes of Grindelwald deleted scenes, Dame Maggie Smith discussed Downton Abbey, and the original Cursed Child cast wrapped their final performance on Broadway.

James and Oliver Phelps and Warwick Davis then gave us a first look at Gringotts at the Warner Bros Studio Tour – London, and we got our first peek at the new Cursed Child Broadway cast.

April

In the fan community, Team Starkid celebrated 10 years by announcing Starkid Homecoming, we interviewed Wizards In Space Literary Magazine’s Founder, Olivia Dolphin, and Leaky shared the news of the Harry Potter Alliance’s 10th annual Accio Books worldwide book drive.

56157709_2307660416172362_5397108800970817536_n-1024x768In the Wizarding World,  We learned that an illustrated edition of Quidditch Through the Ages would be coming in 2020. We also saw the Weasleys at Planet ComicCon in Kansas City, and we were lucky enough to attend the opening of the Gringotts expansion at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London, along with special guests Jason Isaacs, Dan Fogler, and Claudia Kim. Leaky reported on Fantastic Beasts 3 rumors, and Harry Potter: The Exhibition opened in Valencia, Spain.

In the same month J.K. Rowling joined a mentoring scheme for aspiring female crime writers, Ezra Miller appeared in VogueLEGO announced new Harry Potter setsand The Leaky Cauldron joined YouTube.

 

Finally, to end a busy month, we received a first look at Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure (including the Blast-Ended Skrewt!) from Universal Orlando and attended the premiere of Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle at Universal Studios Hollywood. All this was topped off with the official release date for Fantastic Beasts 3: November 12, 2021.

May

May began with the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts, as well as announcements of a new play starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Thompson hosting SNL, and news of continued discussions of a Willow series, which we’re still holding out for!

wizardingworld.comWarner Bros. and Pottermore formed a new joint venture in May 2019, Wizarding World Digital, and opened the new Wizarding World website. Pottermore also announced new non-fiction eBooks exploring the history of magic.

We also started hearing reports of Robert Pattinson being cast as Batman, Daniel Radcliffe won an Audience Choice Award, and we received a close-up look at Universal Orlando’s Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure—the opening date was getting close!

PotterCast hosted Harry and the Potters to discuss their new album, Lumos, and we enjoyed hearing about how the album came about and how the fandom has changed over the years.

May also gave us a new Cursed Child location with the announcement that the play would be coming to Toronto, and Leaky reviewed Rosmersholm, starring Strike‘s Tom Burke, and watched Emma Watson interview Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Dr. Denis Mukwege.

June

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In June, Robert Pattinson was finally confirmed as Batman after months of us reporting on rumors and casting updates. Good Omens, starring David Tennant, premiered to rave reviews. Fans delighted as Vans released its Harry Potter collection, and we celebrated another activist achievement as Bonnie Wright was announced as a Greenpeace Oceans Ambassador.

House of MinaLima celebrated its third Birthday (we’re glad the gallery is still going strong!), and we attended the opening of Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, complete with special guests and surprises, and revealed our write-up of the full ride and cast Q&A.

 

HPwizardsuniteAfter what felt like years of waiting, Wizards Unite released on mobile, and the creators of Wizards Unite took us behind the scenes of the game by Niantic and Portkey Games. Any doubts of the power of the wizarding world in 2019 were then obliviated as a hardback copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, boasting Daniel Radcliffe’s first autograph, went up for auction, smashing estimates and selling for £2,600.

Harry and the Potters also released Lumos in June – their first full-length album in 13 years, and in another musical experience, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in Concert headed to The Hollywood Bowl.

 

July

9ZiL41EA-1024x789In the same month Leaky celebrated our 19 Years Later anniversary, Cursed Child Broadway’s James Snyder started the Magic To Do vlog series, and a Harry Potter TV series was debunked by Leaky after news sites picked up on a phoney report.

Mini Boden announced an adorable limited edition Harry Potter collection, Jim Kay began drafting the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and Hallmark released a Harry Potter collection.

Leaky also interviewed Christian Coulson and Bite Me writer and co-star, Naomi McDougall Jones, and attended a performance of Evanna Lynch’s Games For Lovers in London.

 

J.K. Rowling discussed San Francisco’s magical heritage ahead of Cursed Child‘s debut in the city, Scholastic announced Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – The Journey and we attended San Diego Comic Con, interviewing Cursed Child‘s Nicholas Podany and Jon Steiger, and attending various panels.

Classic Stills released their Chamber of Secrets collection, Daniel Radcliffe appeared on Who Do You Think You Are, and we celebrated the twelfth anniversary of the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in bookstores.

LeakyCon also shared the huge announcement that Tom Felton would be attending LeakyCon Dallas—a LeakyCon first!

August

Universal's Epic Universe - LogoUniversal Orlando announced in August that they had plans to open a fourth park, Epic Universe, confirming our previous reports of rumors and speculation. We got a first look at the San Francisco Cursed Child cast, and Cursed Child Broadway’s James Snyder announced he would be coming to BroadwayCon 2020.

LeakyCon announced a return to Orlando in 2020, J.K. Rowling was announced to have been named as an honoree at the Ripple of Hope Awards, Wizarding World Digital announced a new Wizarding World app, and we interviewed off-Broadway PUFFS cast and creative.

 

Harry Potter actors attended the Toronto Film Festival, and Emma Watson attended the G7 Summit. We also reported on grandparents who commissioned an incredible Harry Potter playhouse for their granddaughter!

September

WWD_Mobile_Sorting Hat App Image-minThe month began with celebrations of Back to Hogwarts, including a reimagined Sorting Ceremony from Wizarding World Digital! We also received an official statement on Cursed Child signage rumours, cleared up questions, and provided an exclusive report from Times Square, where Cursed Child took over the billboards in a magical display, and spoke about the confusion and hype on PotterCast.

J.K. Rowling donated another £15.3 million to the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic, founded by the author in her mother’s name. We also learned that Lethal White had started filming.

Aden & Anais debuted their adorable collection for baby witches and wizards in waiting, and Pottery Barn released a new Harry Potter line just in time for the holidays!

We reported from The Magical Place, an experience in Portugal cohosted by Livraria Lello in Porto, celebrating the launch of Harry Potter: Magical Places, and the Wizarding World app officially made its debut.

October

5. Wizarding World Gold _Keys and Curios House CoversPottermore kicked off October with the announcement that they would be moving to WizardingWorld.com, ending the era of Pottermore and marking the birth of Wizarding World Digital with a new Harry Potter Fan Club and Sorting Ceremony.

J.K. Rowling published a love letter to the EU in the midst of Brexit chaos (culminating in a disastrous or victorious General Election, depending upon your perspective).

We reported live from New York City Comic ConThe Harry Potter Alliance announced a new campaign,  we interviewed Kelsey Ellison (creator and star of Harry Potter fan film, Sisters of House Black), and celebrated ten years of LeakyCon in boston, with interviews with Harry and the Potters, Dan Fogler, Chris Rankin, Stan Yanevski, Louis Cordice, Luke Youngblood and much more.

Screenshot 2019-10-31 16.03.31Wizarding World Gold was announced – a new subscription service for Harry Potter fans by Wizarding World Digital, and we provided an exclusive first look at the Keys and Curios journal – a welcoming gift for Gold subscribers designed by MinaLima. Speaking of which, MinaLima also unveiled
a beautiful wrapping paper collection in October, and released their illustrated edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Fantastic Beasts star Zoe Kravitz was cast as Catwoman alongside Robert Pattinson’s Batman,

Universal Orlando also reportedly announced that Epic Universe would open in 2023, Classic Stills launched their Prisoner of Azkaban fine art collection, and Jaremi Carey (AKA Phi Phi O’Hara) stunned us all with a 31 Days of Wizardry transformation series, showcasing an impressive level of accuracy any cosplayer would admire!

November

TheChickPeepslogoseason2Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – The Journey published, Evanna Lynch’s podcast, The ChickPeeps, returned for Season 2, Helena Bonham Carter attended The Crown Season 3 premiere, and Wizarding World Gold launched in the UK and US.  Emma Watson also featured on the cover of Vogue, and Jim Kay spoke to the New York Times about drawing magic from nature.

We reported on a fan who created a magical miniature scale model of the Wizarding World, and introduced you to the Hamburg Cursed Child cast.

We received the exciting news from Warner Bros. that Fantastic Beasts 3 would head to Brazil, as well as confirmation that David Yates would return as Director, and J.K. Rowling and Steve Kloves would be named as co-writers on the third movie.

WizardingWorldchristmasalbumcoverJames and Oliver Phelps and MinaLima attended the opening of Harry Potter: The Exhibition in Lisbon, and Universal Orlando transfigured itself in time for the holiday season.

LeakyCon announced a second Con in 2020, revealing that the world’s biggest Harry Potter fan convention would be coming to Denver for the first time ever!

Lumos revealed A Magical Time of Year, a Christmas album featuring members of the Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts and Cursed Child casts, Pandora launched a Harry Potter jewellery collection, and Wizarding World Digital announced an exclusive Patronus Funko POP! Figure.

December

2. WW-Gold-Christmas-Party_Warwick Davis in Great HallIn the final month of 2019, we reported live from the Cursed Child San Francisco premiere, shared the magic of fandom, activism and philanthropy on Giving Tuesday, and reported on Emma Watson’s attendance at the Little Women premiere. We also attended the first Wizarding World Gold exclusive event at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London.

Yet more productions starring Harry Potter alumni were nominated for awards, a note from J.K. Rowling about Order of the Phoenix went up for auction, and J.K. Rowling received her Ripple of Hope Award and attended the premiere of Lumos’s HBO documentary premiere (Finding The Way Home) with Fantastic Beasts star  Eddie Redmayne.

 

 

SL1_6286-1024x682It appeared to be the month J.K. Rowling was planning on returning (at least partially) to the public eye, as when she took to the stage at the Ripple of Hope awards she revealed that the fifth Cormoran Strike novel was complete, and appeared to be sporting a Fantastic Beasts-related tattoo at the Lumos premiere.

However, the author then sparked controversy with her first tweet in months, prompting a swiftly recorded PotterCast episode on the subject with longtime friend of Leaky and PotterCast – transgender activist and educator, Jackson Bird.

 

We also announced the annual Golden Cauldron Awards, and released a two-part Christmas guest post by Dr. Beatrice Groves of the University of Oxford.


 

Thanks for joining us for such a busy, exciting year. Were you at any of the Comic Cons or LeakyCons this year? What was the Wizarding World highlight of 2019 for you? Let us know via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, and we’ll see you in 2020!

Remember to vote in the Golden Cauldron Awards! Results will be announced on January 6th, 2020.





The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.