MuggleCast 566 Transcript
Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #566, WB is Planning HBO Max Harry Potter Shows — We Pitch Lots of New Ideas!
Andrew Sims: This week on MuggleCast, the new owner of WB is personally involved in organizing some new Harry Potter TV shows for HBO Max, and we’re pitching lots of great new ideas for him.
[Show music plays]
Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast, your weekly ride into the wizarding world fandom. I’m Andrew.
Eric Scull: I’m Eric
Micah Tannenbaum: I’m Micah.
Laura Tee: And I’m Laura.
Andrew: And this week we are going to review what WB’s new leadership and Fantastic Beasts‘ recent box office performance means for the future of the Wizarding World franchise. And we have lots of ideas for TV shows, including ones you are definitely not expecting, so this is going to be a really fun episode. I have a presentation prepared for everybody, so I hope to educate everybody in the process as well.
Andrew: No PowerPoint. Maybe some Google Slides, though. I don’t touch Microsoft Office.
Micah: Yeah, you don’t seem like a PowerPoint guy.
Andrew: That’s so 2004, Micah. I’m here in the Cloud, enjoying Cloud life. [laughs] But anyway, we are joined by one of our Slug Club patrons this week, Neil. Welcome to the show, Neil.
Neil: Thanks for having me on.
Andrew: Yeah, it’s our pleasure. And you’re in South Korea, and it’s very late there. Also, shout-out to your excellent Harry Potter background. You’ve got everything Harry Potter going on on your bookshelf, which is perfect for our social media channels. But let’s get your fandom ID.
Neil: My favorite book is definitely Deathly Hallows. Movie is Half-Blood Prince; it’s just so funny. Hogwarts House, Ravenclaw. Ilvermorny House, I am a Horned Serpent. My Patronus is a Rottweiler, which is great for me because I love dogs. And my favorite beast, definitely a Niffler.
Andrew: Excellent. And you have a Niffler, I think I see, on your bookshelf. Are those two bookshelves completely covered in Harry Potter stuff? Is that all Harry Potter stuff?
Neil: Not quite; I’ve got two shelves for Game of Thrones and a couple other things. But eight out of ten.
Andrew: Okay. And wait, you were living in California? Like I said, you’re now in South Korea; did you bring that all over from America?
Neil: I did.
Neil: It took two months to make it to South Korea, but it’s here.
Andrew: Oh, that’s fantastic. [laughs] True fan right here, bringing all this Harry Potter stuff.
Micah: Love the Niffler, by the way, if you can’t tell.
Neil: Love yours, too.
Main Discussion: Wizarding World TV Adaptations
Andrew: But anyway, are you all ready for my presentation about what should happen next with the Wizarding World franchise?
Eric: Yes. I’ve been waiting with bated breath for a few weeks on this.
Eric: This is going to be great.
Andrew: Okay, thank you for coming to my TED Talk. I appreciate it. So we’ve already discussed a few times, should there be another Fantastic Beasts movie? How many more will there be? We’re not going to really rehash all that today; we are going to take this in a different direction. And the reason I wanted to have this discussion today is because there’s already reports of WB and the new leadership being very interested in some new Harry Potter television content. So first, let’s look at what went on with Fantastic Beasts 3, now that it’s on HBO Max and it’s barely in theaters anymore. So Secrets of Dumbledore made $95 million in the United States, and a smidge over $400 million worldwide. That worldwide total does include the $95 million from America. It was the smallest Wizarding World and Fantastic Beasts film in the franchise.
Andrew: For comparison’s sake, Fantastic Beasts 1 made $814 million worldwide. Fantastic Beasts 2 made $654 million worldwide. Last year, it was reported that there would be a break in between filming Movies 3 and 4, because there was that downward trend with the box office even before Movie 3 came out and I think they just assumed number 3 would do worse than Movies 1 and 2. Since we last spoke about that break in between Movies 3 and 4, longtime director David Yates, who has directed four Harry Potter movies and all three Fantastic Beasts movies, Yates has lined up another project called Pain Hustlers, and it begins filming this August. And this is his second project outside of Fantastic Beasts. We learned last August that he was going to work on another project for Sony, so David Yates is currently hanging out anywhere but Wizarding World Inc. right now. And remember, I think we speculated when we heard about this break that they were going to see how Fantastic Beasts 3 did box office-wise and then decide what to do. They weren’t going to make any decisions until after Movie 3 came out. Meanwhile, now, Discovery Networks – yes, this the media conglomerate that owns HGTV, TLC, The Food Network, Lifetime, and a huge, huge media company – they merged with Time Warner, who owns Warner Bros., this past April, and Discovery CEO David Zaslav is taking the helm of the newly merged company. So WB is now owned by this new media company, and the new media company is called Warner Bros. Discovery. And according to a recent profile in the Wall Street Journal, Zaslav has little patience and keeps a close eye on spending. He is happy to cut expensive projects if he thinks they’re a bad investment.
Eric: Oh, God. Uh-oh.
Andrew: [laughs] Since taking the reins at WB, he’s already canceled a big DC film project. And just this past week, he passed on a $200 million project that J.J. Abrams was pitching. He said no to J.J. Abrams!
Eric: I am shocked.
Laura: “No movies heavy with lens flare for me!”
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Andrew: Now I will say, the J.J. Abrams project, it wasn’t based on existing IP. Abrams wasn’t like, “Yo, I got a great idea for Batman or Harry Potter.” It’s something entirely new. And when there isn’t existing intellectual property, it’s riskier. So Zaslav looked at a $200 million project from Abrams, and said, “No. Unless you put something recognizable on this, no.”
Eric: I think original content is where it’s at. But clearly, that’s not as bankable as the stuff you’re talking about.
Andrew: I know.
Eric: So I’m sure JJ’s project will find a home somewhere. It’s JJ, after all. But yeah, that’s nuts. This guy’s real cracking down, huh?
Andrew: Yeah. Now, here’s where it gets interesting – and this wasn’t leading to me saying “All hope is lost for future Harry Potter spinoffs because this guy doesn’t like spending money.”
Andrew: So in the same Wall Street Journal profile about Zaslav, we learn that talks regarding the future of the wizarding world are about to be active if they haven’t been already. Quote: “Mr. Zaslav is looking to make fresh Harry Potter-related content for HBO Max, people familiar with his thinking said, and plans to meet with creator J.K. Rowling in the coming weeks to discuss the matter.” So presumably, he’s taking the private Warner Bros. Discovery jet over to England to talk shop with J.K. Rowling and figure out what the hell they can do on HBO Max. And this is something that we’ve all been wanting for a while. And I think there’s a few different ways to read this comment, and maybe they’re all true. Maybe Zaslav will ask J.K. Rowling to let them write scripted material on their own; that’s something we’ve been wanting. Maybe he’s going to beg J.K. Rowling to help them write new stories and/or reboot existing content. Maybe he’s going to review with J.K. Rowling plans that have already been in the works. We presume something has been in the works, but we don’t know what, and now he’s getting involved. So what are your all reactions to this? How do you all read this?
Laura: I think that no matter what happens, there’s no way that we’re getting content on HBO Max that doesn’t somehow link to J.K. Rowling. I think even if none of the original ideas are hers, she’s still going to get a credit. So as viewers, I don’t know that we’re ever going to have a full picture of how much or how little J.K. Rowling is involved in these future projects, which I know has been a concern for some of us who aren’t happy with the author these days. I also hope – and it seems like it based off of this comment – that Zaslav is looking to produce some kind of new content. I don’t get the impression from this that his top idea is just to reboot the entire series as a TV show, for example, even though we would all love that.
Andrew: Right. Or similarly, he’s not flying over to England just to be like, “Hey, can we do another season of the trivia show?” He must have bigger plans in the works.
Micah: Yeah, he could solve that on an email, right? I’m thinking about normal work; people have all these Zoom meetings. How about, just send an email?
Andrew: “This could have been an email.”
Micah: Dear JKR@Hogwarts.com.
Micah: No, I agree with what Laura is saying. I just wonder how potentially contentious this meeting could get between the two of them…
Andrew: Oh, agreed.
Micah: … if he is somebody that is willing to just cut things without any recourse? I was also curious, who owns the rights here? Does WB own the rights, if in fact they did want to move forward and create something within the Wizarding World franchise? Or does it have to get approval from J.K. Rowling?
Eric: That’s interesting, because didn’t they say originally they were going to do the series with or without J.K. Rowling? The Fantastic Beasts, I mean. Because they had the film rights they optioned the book into for film rights, so whatever the terms of that, whatever that means, means that they would be able to produce a film based on those books. And since they already did the Harry Potter movies, they may have to renegotiate some things, but I’m inclined to believe that most of the heavy lifting has already been done for them to produce that again. That’s the way that the same studio would reboot, like, A Star Is Born every 50 years or whatever.
Micah: We have a tendency to say that Potter is this cash cow, but based on Andrew’s presentation, it’s not, so…
Eric: Well, historically, it has been, right? So if you’re inheriting…
Micah: The original.
Eric: So Zaslav has been the CEO since 2006 of Discovery Networks, I’m looking up now at a very extensive Discovery Inc. Wikipedia page. And you’re coming into this merger with… it’s now Warner Bros. Discovery, and you’re bound to look through the catalog of what Warner is bringing to the table. And historically, one of the most reliable franchises – past two entries excepted – in Warner Bros.’ movie catalog, film catalog, has been Harry Potter. So it’s impossible to get out of this merger without having some kind of a conversation with the people who are foremost able to make new content, or approve or green light new content, about doing so. So I just think this might just be a formality; I don’t know that he has any specific ideas. But to meet with J.K. Rowling, to kind of put a finger on the pulse of what the network is interested in doing, and then what J.K. Rowling may or may not be interested in doing, seems like it makes sense.
Andrew: Definitely. And in terms of like, could they do anything without her? That’s a really tough question, and I’m sure there’s tons of contractual agreements that work all this stuff out. I would assume even if they could do it without her express permission, her explicit permission or green light, they still would want to get her blessing because they want to stay on her good side. This is a relationship that could last the next 100 years, if it’s all played right, so I think they still would want to have her involved. And of course, even though she didn’t with the third movie, it would be helpful if she was out there promoting this new content as well. [laughs] I mean, they also seemingly have a relationship to repair. That’s what this flight could be, right? I mean, she didn’t even talk about Movie 3. We promoted it more than she did. [laughs]
Eric: It’s hard.
Andrew: Let’s just make some quick predictions now about whether or not there will be a fourth Fantastic Beasts movie. I will note that the movie has crossed, like I said, $400 million worldwide. A couple people on Twitter, including some people who dabble in the business of Hollywood, have predicted that because it has made $400 million now, it has broken even; that’s kind of the green light for Warner Bros. to make another movie. I would take that with a huge grain of salt. But this movie was able to break even, so congratulations to Secrets of Dumbledore for making back what it spent.
Andrew: Because we’ve discussed this before, I don’t want to spend too much time on it, but let’s just make some quick predictions so we can look back on it and laugh, celebrate, or cry later. Will there be a fourth Fantastic Beasts movie? Neil, let’s start with you. Do you think there will be one?
Neil: Yes, I do. Honestly, I think it’s going to be scaled back. I’m not convinced, especially if he’s trying to tighten the belt, that they’re not going to have “No expenses spared” like in the past movies. We have to remember, it didn’t do badly. $400 million is a lot more than I have in the bank account. It’s only badly by Harry Potter standards.
Andrew: Yeah, that’s true.
Laura: Great point.
Eric: Here’s the thing: Micah and I were talking recently on MuggleCast 564 about this topic and what we want out of the next film, and I think that my pipe dream of having character-focused, slowly developed, slow burn, non-Grindelwald, non-Dumbledore story, is unfortunately unrealistic if they’re going for a bigger box office return. I think what’s more likely to happen is they omit what would have been the fourth movie, no matter what it is. And the next movie that they make is actually set – they finally do the time jump, everybody – it’s going to be 1945, which is when we know that Grindelwald is finally defeated by Dumbledore. I think that they’re going to make the so-called fifth Beasts movie instead of what would have been the fourth and just call it an end after that, but it’s going to feature the huge confrontation, and that will be the huge selling point because they’ve learned nothing about the whole Hogwarts marketing and stuff about this series. They don’t have confidence it can stand on its own, so I think that’s what they’re going to do.
Laura: That’s a good call. I think – and I’m not thinking as detailed about what the plan could be as Eric did – but I don’t think there’s going to be a fourth Fantastic Beasts, not something that releases in theaters anyway. I could see them potentially doing something on HBO Max to tie the story up if they really felt like there was enough story left, so maybe a limited series or a direct-to-HBO Max movie release. But I think if they did that, the budget would be scaled back pretty significantly. Think about direct-to-TV movies, even ones that come to services like HBO Max; they tend not to have the same budgets as theatrical releases.
Micah: I guess I’m taking the hardline approach here; I think that this series is done. And the reason why I say that is really due to the ending. Dumbledore walked off into the snowset…
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Micah: … there was no cliffhanger, Tina and Newt are together, Jacob and Queenie are married, we know Ariana was an Obscurus, we know Credence is Aberforth’s son, the blood pact was destroyed… so I just don’t think there’s enough story here to get us to that big duel, which we know happens anyway.
Andrew: That’s an interesting take. We know enough. We’ve seen enough. That’s what Micah is basically saying. [laughs]
Eric: Yeah, we know how it ends.
Andrew: That’s enough, yeah. I agree more, I think, with Neil, Eric, and I guess sort of Laura. I do think one and done, but it will be a smaller, more focused movie – now that they’ve crossed that allegedly all important $400 million threshold – and just move on, because I do think it kind of leaves a stain on the series if they leave things hanging. And I know, to Micah’s point, things were finalized; it did feel like a good ending. But you think about the fourth one, they can mark it as the final movie; they can really lean into that in the writing. Just really put a bow on it.
Micah: I think the way that they ended the last movie gives them the option to not have to create the fourth if in fact they make that decision.
Laura: I agree; it has a sense of finality about it that I think makes it “okay” that they don’t move on if they don’t move on. But I also don’t feel that they completely shut the door. I think it was an ambiguous ending, and I think that was intentional because they wanted to see how this movie was going to do.
Andrew: Okay, so putting aside Fantastic Beasts; for the rest of this episode, we are dreaming up Harry Potter/wizarding world television ideas, and we have many to present today. And I hope Mr. Zaslav is listening as he takes his private jet over to England…
Andrew: … and he can pitch all these to J.K. Rowling because we know what we’re talking about! Let’s say Zaslav goes to J.K. Rowling and says he wants several scripted series, and J.K. Rowling says she isn’t down for a traditional reboot of the original seven books or a film adaptation of Cursed Child, but she’s open to exploring anything that hasn’t been told on screen. And Zaslav tells J.K. Rowling that he listened to some Harry Potter podcasts to get up to speed with what fans are thinking, and he really liked what those traitors at MuggleCast have to say…
Andrew: … though he did think all of the goat talk on the show was a little strange; he doesn’t understand what all that is about. So he likes what we have to say…
Micah: I’ll straighten him out.
Eric: We’re sending Micah. We’ll airdrop Micah into the combat zone.
Andrew: Micah has a presentation on goats. [laughs] So Zaslav is going to fly us…
Andrew: … to LA and allow us to pitch to him our one show idea each in the Hog’s Head at Wizarding World Hollywood. And he’s such a nice guy, he’s going to buy each of us one butterbeer for our time. Isn’t that sweet?
Laura: Wow. I mean, I know he’s budget conscious, so I really appreciate that.
Andrew: Yeah, and there’s no foam on top. It’s just the liquid part of it. He’s being a real cheap you-know-what.
Eric: Probably healthier.
Andrew: Yeah, that’s true; it is healthier. In Hollywood they’re so healthy. So Laura, let’s start with you. You get the first meeting with Mr. Zaslav. [laughs]
Laura: Sure. My show pitch for him – because this would absolutely need to be a TV show – it would be called Wizarding World Unlocked, and this would be a show dedicated to exploring all of the unexplained parts of the wizarding world that we still have questions about. My pitch for Episode 1 is that it would be called “The Lost Day,” and it would chronicle what happened between the time Voldemort killed the Potters and Hagrid delivered baby Harry to Privet Drive. Fans have wondered about this timeline for years, because we know during this time that Sirius confronts Peter Pettigrew and that whole scene plays out. We want to see what happens there. We also want to see, why does it take Hagrid so long to get Harry to Privet Drive? [laughs] So I think that it could be a very interesting sequence to show the immediate reactions of the wizarding world to Voldemort’s fall, but also explaining how we get to Chapter 1 of Sorcerer’s or Philosopher’s Stone. How does baby Harry end up on that doorstep? I think that there’s a lot of potential to explore other areas of mystery for us in the wizarding world, like what is the life of a Squib like?
Laura: I know this is something that I’ve brought up on the show before, but it feels like a really missed opportunity that we never got very much in-depth exploration into what life as a Squib is like. How do they get educated? Why is it that this society relegates them to janitorial jobs, for example? And what are the possible consequences of doing something like that? I don’t know that it would necessarily need to center on Filch, but that’s a good starting point we could think about. Is there a Filch origin story that would be substantial enough for an episode? I really view this as a vignette style show where each episode focuses on one area of the wizarding world that is still very mysterious to the fans. And y’all know that I also want a Department of Mysteries episode, because I’ve been complaining about this on the show for like, 13 years now, I think.
Laura: But we never got further explanation into what the heck is going on in the Department of Mysteries. I want it. Fans want it. It would give opportunity for jumping back in time and doing some Hogwarts founders original content. It could be one episode or even a series of episodes about each of the founders. There’s just a wealth of untouched parts of the wizarding world that could be unlocked for fans through this experience. Thank you for coming to my episode pitch.
[Eric and Laura laugh]
Andrew: I really like that. Yeah, I really like that. I like the lost day idea, too, because that plays into the fandom; that’s what people want. And it also says, “Hey, we’re listening to you. We know what you’re talking about. We want to give you what you are curious about.” And I think it’s so important to fill in those empty gaps. That’s what’s going to get people tuning into all this stuff, answering questions that we all have been thinking about for a really long time.
Eric: Yeah. Laura, what I like about your pitch is that it really reminds me of Discovery’s original days on Discovery Channel, where it was this scientific focus, or a focus on a topic that then explores, and you learn so much about it, like a real educational side of entertainment, which I really, really love. Because back when it was Discovery Channel, I watched Discovery Channel all the time growing up.
Laura: Me too.
Eric: I loved those shows. And looking on the Discovery Channel Wikipedia, here’s a quote, “It initially provided documentary television programming focused primarily on popular science, technology, and history, but by the 2010s had expanded into reality television and pseudo-scientific entertainment.”
Andrew: Yeah, I mean, honestly, it’s kind of turned into a trash media network, and we’ll get to that. [laughs]
Eric: Which really breaks my heart…
Laura: I know.
Eric: … because Discovery as I remember was very much like, “How does an asteroid work? What’s black matter? Were there aliens in ancient Egypt?” [laughs] All very scientific things. So Laura, I love your idea and exploring those nooks and crannies, so to speak. Uncovering the tombs of the world. I just love that idea.
Neil: But what’s really cool about your idea, Laura, is that it has potential to not be a series; it could be specials. I could see them saying, “All right, we’re going to do that lost day for a special wizarding world episode,” and then when it does well, because it’s a great idea and it’ll do wonderfully, then they might make another one, and then another one.
Eric: I like that.
Neil: Specifically for the stuff we love and want to know more about.
Eric: Neil, that’s a great idea. And it fits perfectly with a more current modern release style of programming. So rather than commit to a series, they can just do these spots, and as they continue to be successful, they continue to produce them. I think it’s brilliant.
Andrew: And Micah, let’s hear your idea for Mr. Zaslav at Wizarding World Hollywood with your one free butterbeer.
Micah: [laughs] Sure. Hey, David. Micah. Nice to meet you.
Micah: I’d like to introduce you to my friend Whiskey over here. I heard you had some concerns about him…
Micah: … but I think in time, you’ll grow to…
Andrew: Whiskey the goat?
Micah: Whiskey the goat.
Micah: So my pitch idea is The Rise of the Dark Lord, and I think that this TV show can span multiple seasons. The story begins with Merope falling in love with Tom Riddle, Sr. We get the Gaunts and many of the memory scenes that we never saw in Half-Blood Prince, then Tom being raised in the orphanage and ultimately offered a place at Hogwarts. We get to see what actually happened in the cave, his time at Hogwarts, the opening of the Chamber of Secrets, the murder of Myrtle, the coverup, and then the building of his relationships with fellow students and professors. Did he ever have a love interest? Canonically we’re told no, but we know that canon doesn’t really matter anymore. And then Horcruxes, Horcruxes, Horcruxes. We get to see how he manipulated Slughorn and created all the Horcruxes; get to go to those actual moments. How did he plan the creation of those Horcruxes? Post-Hogwarts, where did he go? What did he do? His rise to power and the first wizarding war, and then it could end with that night in Godric’s Hollow and even transition into the first episode that Laura just mentioned from from her show, so we’re connecting the threads here.
Andrew and Laura: Ooh.
Micah: But I think this has a lot of potential. Like I said, you can get multiple seasons out of this. And you can show Tom Riddle growing, maturing, evolving, and everybody loves a baddie. So this is the series that I’m ultimately pitching. Thank you, David.
Laura: I love it. Villain origin stories are pretty popular. I mean, think about what The Hunger Games did.
Eric: President Snow.
Laura: I forget; who’s the author of those books? Her name is slipping my mind right now.
Andrew and Eric: Suzanne Collins.
Laura: Suzanne Collins, thank you. She released a whole book about President Snow’s backstory, and people were so excited about that. People do love villains.
Andrew: That’s a really good point. And now that’s going to be a movie; they already cast the new Snow.
Andrew: Yeah. And I don’t know how I feel about that, because they’re going to try to make us like Snow as a person.
Eric: That’s problematic, to make a villain who’s committed genocide…
Andrew: An awful person, yeah.
Eric: … yeah, sympathetic. There’s a difference between adding a gray area for a villain and making that villain sympathetic, because that has like, alt-right tendencies. [laughs]
Andrew: And of course, it’s a really attractive young guy, so you’re like, “Oh, I want to like him, but oh, God, he’s horrible. Snow is horrible.”
Micah: And I think one of the other things that’s great about this series is that you can bring in characters that we all know, but younger versions of them, and then we could obviously see them as they get older.
Eric: Those moments from the memories in Book 6 with young Tom Riddle and Hepzibah Smith and Slughorn are some of the not only best scenes from that book, from Half-Blood Prince, but some of the best writing in the entire series.
Eric: It’s so captivating. It’s so interesting, and so an adaptation of that would make a lot of sense and be very engaging.
Laura: And we already have young Dumbledore in Jude Law, who could seamlessly transition to this series. We already have a young McGonagall cast, who could transition to this series. [laughs]
Eric: Nice, nice. Hey, I’m so glad to be going third and that my idea was not already stated, because this to me is still the number one thing that I would like to see if there’s not going to be an exact reboot of the Harry Potter books and if Fantastic Beasts is done. The series I want to see is the Marauders. I know there’s been some disinterest from Rowling to actually write it apart from that little thing she did for charity, which you all have to read, between James and Sirius on the motorbike evading Muggle cops. [whispers] It’s amazing. But this would really be a wonderful opportunity because there’s a lot of things you could do with a young Marauders series. And here’s just a quick example, Mr. Zaslav, of some things that I would like to see in this series. I want to see some attention paid to the character of Peter Pettigrew, because the question I still have after reading the books countless times and podcasting for 16 years, is how the heck was he Sorted into Gryffindor?
Eric: And what makes him a Gryffindor? Because I’m not saying it’s wrong; I’m saying there’s not enough information. So I want a series that fully explores the relationship dynamics between the Marauders themselves, Peter Pettigrew, also what it’s like… we know he’s just cowardly; that’s why he goes to the Dark side. So does he have anxiety? Does he have low self-esteem? Where does that…? You could cast a young actor that would really nail this nuance of being made fun of by your friends, looking up to them, and just eventually having enough of it and betraying them. It would be a very impactful moment if dramaticized correctly over the course of several seasons, and I want it. Also, Remus Lupin has low self-esteem. He’s this prefect, and he’s really, really good, and he’s our favorite Hogwarts teacher after all these years. What was he like as a kid? And the whole discovery of him being a werewolf, and how the friends all become Animagi to help him would be wonderful moments, made for television. That would be really, really, really great to see. And in terms of diversity and inclusion and having more female characters, I’m saying bring in Lily Evans. Bring in Alice Longbottom. Bring in the parents of other students that we know from before. Have more women, have more just fleshed-out characters from these 1970s, and show them at Hogwarts actually having relationships, and just build the whole thing out. We know that the world in the 70s in the wizarding world is sliding into fascism; Voldemort’s first reign is coming up. You could tell a very relevant story about these heroes that we only know about vaguely from the background of the original Harry Potter books, and I think it would be a very well-received series.
Andrew and Laura: Yeah.
Andrew: I think if they do have people who truly understand Harry Potter and the Harry Potter fandom working at high levels, making these types of decisions – maybe they have that fan panel that we wonder about from time to time – I feel like this is something that’s probably at the top of the list. It just seems like the most obvious choice, and they want to please viewers, they want people to tune into something, this is the answer. So just go for it.
Eric: Yeah. I mean, if you can’t have Harry Potter as your main character, why not have his dad?
Eric: That is next-level escalation of like, “Oh yeah, this is Harry’s dad, and also a character who’s problematic, but learns and grows.” That would be a really interesting main character.
Laura: Agreed. And also, this was part of the original film franchise that left fans dissatisfied; we didn’t get very much Marauders content at all. So this could be an area to repair that perception, but also really dive in and say, “Hey all, we know you want this, so here’s a whole dang series. And we’re not only going to cover what you know from the books, but we’re going to expand on the story that you already know.” I think it’s brilliant.
Micah: Yeah, Laura, to your point, Lupin doesn’t even explain how he knows what the map is in the third film…
Micah: … which always just kind of surprised me. But I agree; I think this is at the top of the list for any executive moving forward. This is something that we’ve heard so many people talk about wanting, we’ve talked about it, so Eric, I’m on board.
Eric: Thanks, and I would actually just shout out, I kind of got this idea from the episode that we did 60 episodes ago, MuggleCast 505, where we watched those seven fan films.
Andrew: Oh, yeah.
Eric: And the one that I watched and loved was between Lily Evans and Alice Fawley called “Lily Evans and the Eleventh Hour,” and it’s on YouTube. All of the ones we watched showed those crucial moments in between other scenes and were so well acted that it really sold me and convinced me that writers other than J.K. Rowling can tell very compelling, very interesting stories, working with those characters. And that’s still what I want to see out of the future for filmed Harry Potter content.
Neil: My idea is the time period in between essentially the moment when Harry, Ron, and Hermione disappear from the wedding, and ending when they get the call to rally Dumbledore’s Army and the Order of the Phoenix at Hogwarts. So basically, it would be the activities of the DA and the Order during the seventh book. Now, we get a mention of that on Potterwatch when Shacklebolt mentions the heroic stories of wizards and witches protecting Muggles, defying Death Eaters, but I really want to see more of that. The whole seventh book is almost entirely focused on Harry, Ron, and Hermione, except for the Battle of Hogwarts and the chapters leading up to and including the wedding, so I want to know and see more of what everyone else was doing.
Neil: Honestly, I see this kind of as an Obi-Wan Kenobi type series from Star Wars.
Neil: Kind of a break in between the two.
Eric: Oh, yeah.
Neil: Yeah, third movie and the fourth movie for Star Wars, in this case.
Laura: I love this idea, Neil. It also gives room for some more exposition on what conditions were like at Hogwarts during this period of time. Of course, as readers, we hear about it from the students who were there, but we don’t really get to see it firsthand. And I just love the idea of getting to expand on the world in this way and see, yeah, there was actual stuff going on in other parts of the world, outside of our view of the trio camping for a year.
[Laura and Neil laugh]
Eric: Yeah, it’s fine to put up a sign and say “Resist!” And these movie series do this all the time of like, “Oh yeah, there’s a resistance growing,” but not actually show it on screen. This idea for a series would by law have to show Ginny, Neville, Dean, all of the students actively resisting Death Eater occupation of Hogwarts. It would be all the stuff they did against Umbridge in Book 5; it would be that kind of stuff, but to a just macro level in Book 7, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. So I think you’ve got your dramatic tension, and I think you’ve got your contemporary messaging, and I think you’ve got your hope. And those are all the ingredients you need to make a good, cool TV series.
Andrew: There’s so much focus in the book and movie around just the trio, and there’s so much going on during that time period, so it’s time to show it all.
Eric: Yeah, remember when they showed the Hogwarts Express? And they showed Neville on the Hogwarts Express? The Death Eater stops it in Movie 7? Or Movie 8.
Neil: Oh, yeah.
Eric: Which movie is it? Anyway…
Neil: It was Movie 7.
Eric: I was blown away! I was like, “Oh my God, it’s the students that we don’t see at all in the book, and they’re here in this one scene!”
[Andrew and Neil laugh]
Eric: I want that, but the series.
Micah: The one where Cormac was there, but he technically graduated the year before.
Eric: Oh, yeah. David Yates held him back in school.
Andrew: Okay, so my idea for Mr. Zaslav is a spin on CSI. Popular show on CBS, very popular show. But it’s called Crime Scene InvestiWizards, and the Aurors, led by Harry and Ron, investigate various crimes happening across Europe. And when the going gets tough, they will ask their friends from the Ministry and their old pals at Hogwarts to assist them. So for example, let’s say Harry and Ron and maybe their co-Aurors are investigating and attacked by a beast. Well, I guess Newt is alive during this timeline, but also, they could call up Hagrid and be like, “Yo, you taught us back in the day; remember us?” They wouldn’t say “Yo,” but “Hey, Hagrid, remember us?” They could enlist Hagrid to come on for an episode and help Harry and Ron investigate a crime. I think this would be a really fun show because it would just be one crime per episode. We already know that they went on to become Aurors; that’s canon. They could enlist some of their friends. And then for fans, you’re getting all those old characters to come back from time to time. And it can just be one episode; that’d be perfectly fine. It’d be awesome to have an episode with just Luna getting involved, just Hagrid getting involved, just Bill or Charlie Weasley getting involved… there are so many options here. And then we would also get glimpses of their home life and how it may influence their day to day work, or vice versa, how it influences things the opposite way around. So that’s Crime Scene InvestiWizards.
Eric: Procedurals are some of the most watched TV shows of all time. In style, they’re very endlessly watchable, and one featuring the Aurors with some interesting mystery elements, as you proposed, is real cool. It’s a knockout, it’s a home run, it’s a great idea, and I’m very excited for it.
Andrew: Awesome. Yeah, I’m excited about it too. Now let’s pivot into other types of show ideas. Let’s Star Wars TV-ify a wizarding world premise. Now, what on earth do I mean by this? Eric’s got a Star Wars poster behind him. So we have often pointed to Star Wars as the other long-running, still-thriving pop culture fandom, and in many ways, Star Wars should be a model for Harry Potter to look at in terms of longetivity. In recent years, and even weeks – Neil had mentioned Obi-Wan Kenobi a little earlier – two wildly popular Star Wars TV shows, The Mandalorian and Obi-Wan, have followed an adult and child teaming up. And these two pairings on these two shows have delighted viewers, and it’s creating some really compelling storytelling. And of course, it’s probably also selling a lot of merchandise as well. We all know about the child in The Mandalorian, Baby Yoda, if you will. I’m not going to say the adult/child pairing in Obi-Wan because that one just started airing, so we’ll avoid spoiling that, but it’s very good. So the question here is what adult/child duo would you like to see team up from the Harry Potter world, and what could they do together? So Laura, let’s start with you. What is your idea?
Laura: My idea is to pair up Salazar Slytherin and a new character that we haven’t heard of before. It would be a Muggle child, but it would be a Muggle child of prominence, probably from a prominent aristocratic, or royal family, even, during the time period. And I envision the series starting out involving prominent society, or at least, leaders in society, getting some idea about the wizarding world’s existence, and in order to protect that and in order to prevent from aristocracy at the time leaking this knowledge to the masses, or potentially launching some kind of initiative or attack against Hogwarts and the wizarding world, Slytherin orchestrates the kidnapping of this Muggle child. He’s a baddie; we know he would do it. But through the course of having this Muggle child in his presence, he knows that he has to keep the kid alive, right? Otherwise, all bets are off. So he is incentivized to care for this child. And before anybody is like, “No, we’re not going to paint Salazar as a changed man,” I see this as an opportunity to add some gray area for his character. I don’t see it turning into an opportunity to be like, “Actually, Slytherin was a good guy all along.”
Eric: Big Daddy energy from Salazar there.
Laura: Yeah, no, no. He will recognize the importance of caring for this child. They will have a number of adventures together where it becomes clear to him that this child has things that he or she can offer to the world and that the world is not really so black and white as to say that magical blood is the only kind of blood that matters. And although Slytherin would, I think, very begrudgingly acknowledge that based on the history that we know, it does give an opportunity to show Slytherin’s cunningness, his ambition in saying “I have these strongly held beliefs about blood status, but in this particular circumstance, where we’re dealing with a political game of chess between the wizarding world and the Muggle world, there are benefits to teaming up.” I think that the one area that we might get maybe a little more sympathy for Slytherin out of this is that he’s going to look at the kid and be like, “Well, I’m not going to kill a kid. I’m not a complete monster.”
Eric: Yeah, Laura, I envisioned your series lasting one episode, and it was because he’d see the Muggle kid and just kill it right away.
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Eric: But no, you make a really compelling… you found, I think, this crucial component, right? Which is that Muggles outnumber wizards, so no matter how many… Salazar just can’t go on just killing the members, like you said, of the aristocracy. It just wouldn’t work. So yeah, watching him wrestle with that’ll be great. And I also agree with your point that of all the characters that could use more of a gray area, Salazar is really up there.
Eric: I don’t think giving him more of a gray area would hurt him at all, because he’s all bad, basically.
Andrew: And I think one idea we haven’t really shared today and we won’t be is the idea of a founders television series, and we’ve mentioned it from time to time, so this could be a nice way to give people a little more backstory about one of the founders as well. And who knows? Maybe, let’s say this idea turns into a big hit; they can do three other standalone series with the other three founders.
Micah: Definitely. And I think, too, this could even take place pre-founding of Hogwarts, where it sets him on his track. I know we’re not trying to justify him in any way, but maybe some of the interactions that he has with this kid along the way are ultimately what cause him to make the decision that he does. Maybe there’s that definitive moment where he’s just like, “Oh, I thought that this kid was going to be different and that maybe there could be this synergy between the two worlds, but clearly there can’t be,” and that sets him to become the Slytherin that we know ultimately is the founder of Hogwarts. I really like this.
Laura: Yeah, I love that.
Eric: Yeah, maybe the kid’s a real jerk.
Andrew: All right, Micah, let’s get your idea.
Micah: I think this one pales in comparison to Laura’s…
Laura: I don’t think so.
Micah: … but a little bit of a different kind of a television show. Hagrid and Luna, I think, are both seen as outcasts in their own right. And I think that if anything has been proven, people enjoy shows about outcasts or people who don’t exactly fit in with the “mainstream.” And I think it would be really cool for these two to team up – post-Hogwarts for Luna – and for them to go on adventures together using their own experiences. And I almost see it as a way for Luna to ultimately be introduced to her future husband Rolf Scamander; I see Hagrid and Newt having a really strong bond and relationship. I see a lot of discovery of creatures and beasts, and Luna being very much about that, but bringing her own perspective and twist on it. So this is more of a fun-loving, easygoing show; discovery of things around the wizarding world through the eyes of Hagrid and Luna.
Andrew: Yeah! I see this being a nice, family-friendly show as well. The whole family can gather.
Micah: We don’t get a whole lot of them together at all in the books, so this would be a pairing that comes together post-Deathly Hallows.
Laura: I love this, and I love the Rolf tie-in.
Eric: Yeah, opportunity for Eddie to show up as a really aged version of himself.
Neil: Yeah, I love the idea of Hagrid introducing Luna to her future husband. I’d sit through a hundred filler episodes if that was going to be the finale.
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah.
Eric: Nice way of putting that.
Andrew: All right, Neil. Well, let’s hear your idea now.
Neil: My idea would be to pair Tonks and Mad-Eye Moody.
Eric: Ohh, yes!
Neil: We get just a taste of this in the books, and I really want to see more of that. Particularly it’d be about Moody’s years as an Auror and Tonks when she’s young. Now, we know she’s always been a Metamorphmagus, so that could easily come into the story. Maybe he rescues her as a child from someone who wants to use her powers for themselves, somebody like the Dark Lord, who wants to turn themselves into a human chameleon or whatever sort of evil plan that they would have. And it could go beyond just this initial thing; this rescue could be what gives her the inspiration to become an Auror. It could talk about those initial years of training after graduating Hogwarts. And since we do know that he was a mentor to her at the Ministry, we can see that relationship in greater detail: the gruff but ultimately good-hearted Moody teacher relationship.
Andrew: Aww, yeah.
Neil: Plus, I think…
Andrew: I love this idea.
Eric: Yeah, huge fan of this.
Andrew: Oh, sorry, go ahead.
Neil: Plus, I love the idea of him having to put up with her clumsy side. Eye just falls right out, the leg, tripping over him… all sorts of funny shenanigans.
Laura: Oh my gosh, this checks so many boxes. It goes into expanding on a story we already know. It’s funny. We get to potentially see a different side of Moody. I love this. 10 out of 10. Let’s do it.
Andrew: Yeah, and ever since I saw this in the doc, I just keep thinking about a younger Tonks. I think fans would just be enamored with a younger Tonks. We see other characters in other franchises, like younger versions of themselves, and I feel like we don’t have many younger women that we spend a lot of time on in the wizarding world. And Tonks is somebody fans have always looked up to. And then the younger but still grunty Moody that we know from the books and the movies being a little charmed by Tonks, pun not intended.
Andrew: It would be a very cool yin and yang.
Eric: Tonks gets results.
Andrew: Yeah. Well, speaking of opening up an area that we’ve seen bits and pieces of, I wanted to focus on Snape and Draco. And of course, this would primarily follow the events of Half-Blood Prince, what these two are working on behind the scenes, and the show could just simply be called The Unbreakable Vow. And it opens with the Unbreakable Vow being made and then follows Draco in year six as he trains up with Snape to kill Dumbledore. And scenes and plot points could include the Death Eaters learning of the news that Draco has this mission, it could show Snape and Draco in training, it could show Bellatrix teaching Draco Unforgivable Curses and Occlumency – that’s canon; Bellatrix was helping Draco – it could also show Draco’s first two failed attempts at killing Dumbledore. We hear about these in the books, but we don’t see them. I mean, we see bits and pieces, but we don’t see Draco getting these ready. And all the while, in this series, Draco and the Malfoys are grappling with this decision and Lucius and Narcissa are struggling with the fallout from the end of Order of the Phoenix. So I think there are many elements that could be shown here. And I’ve always found it very interesting how Voldemort is making Lucius pay for his mistakes in Order of the Phoenix, and I would love to dig more into that in this television show.
Eric: I love it. Draco is such a deep… there’s a lot that can be said and a lot that could be seen about Draco; he’s such an interesting character. And same with Snape, honestly.
Andrew: Yeah, we would get more insight into both of their characters. We would also get Snape and Dumbledore’s relationship. And I feel like based on what we saw with Secrets of Dumbledore and them calling the movie that, WB feels like Dumbledore is a safe, very marketable – jury’s out if it worked – choice for that.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: So if they can wedge Dumbledore into this, too, I think that would be a big selling point.
Eric: Jude Law would never not work again, with all these ancillary series.
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, he’s good. He’s set for a while.
Eric: I think David Zaslav should greenlight all of these projects and Jude Law will star in every single one of them.
Micah: What I like about it, though, is that you’re taking two already popular characters and expanding upon their story, or giving us insight into story that already exists, but things that we didn’t get a chance to see. I think fans would really like this.
Andrew: Yeah. And also watching Snape balance his relationships with Voldemort and Dumbledore would be super cool too.
Laura: Yeah, that would be cool.
Andrew: Even though we know where his loyalties lie.
Eric: Well, and it takes the edge off just doing a Snape series, right? Because then you run into all those issues we were talking about before with humanizing who’s mostly a villain, etc. But having Draco there, too, really changes it.
Laura: And I like that we would also get to see Draco’s mental state throughout all of this. We obviously get a little bit of that in the books and movies, but we remember that it became very apparent in both the book and the movie that Draco’s attempts to kill Dumbledore were really half-hearted, because as he got in he realized he was in too deep, he realized he was underwater, and it would be fascinating to see that character development firsthand.
Micah: Yeah, because it ultimately informs his decision-making in Deathly Hallows, right? When he doesn’t give up Harry at Malfoy Manor. And I think, too, the fact that he’s seeing somebody, as a result of his actions, being killed right in front of his face… regardless of how he truly feels towards Dumbledore, it’s still somebody who has been a major part of his life for six years, and ultimately, he’s the one responsible.
Andrew: Yeah. Okay, glad you like it. And Eric, bring us home for this segment.
Eric: All right, this one’s going to be a little wild, y’all, but I just had an idea and I had to run with it. Hello, Mr. Zaslav. Thank you. Here’s my Disney Plus adult and child relationship show. Miriam Margolyes reprises her role as Hogwarts’s quirky Herbology teacher Pomona Sprout, and has to coach a 15-year-old Neville Longbottom through his Herbology OWL exam.
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Eric: But that’s not all. So she does that; maybe that’s episode one or the pilot or whatever. Part one of episode one. Then at the end of that year, we know they have the Battle of the Department of Mysteries. So Neville is in the time room when he’s hit with a spell and accidentally sent back in time. He’ll be 10 years old now; he himself de-ages, kind of like we see the Death Eater do. Then during the whole next year, Sprout has to teach first year Neville Longbottom everything from Hogwarts’s one through five years. So it’s basically Sprout and Neville, and they’re learning about plants, and they’re learning everything you could ever learn about magical plants. Fantastic Plants and How to Grow Them, because we know how successful the Beasts films are and how much everyone thinks beasts are really cool and central to the story of that franchise. And the CGI budget, good news, will be very limited, apart from the initial time travel and de-aging. You get a 10-year-old Neville Longbottom, who I think is just adorable in concept, but also doesn’t have a lot of confidence, and so it’d be really nice to see Professor Sprout’s nurturing capabilities. But ultimately, this character is played by Miriam Margolyes, so there’s going to be some crazy Sprout moments – probably like, five per episode – and some heartwarming Neville moments, kind of like I imagine Young Sheldon has a heartwarming moment where it’s like, “Oh, we love him.” So there’d be like, three heartwarming Neville moments and five crazy Sprout moments per episode.
Micah: Miriam Margolyes is a baaad…
Laura: I love her.
Andrew: She’s got a foul mouth, yeah.
Eric: She cannot be contained.
Micah: I didn’t know what term to include there.
Eric: That’s why I love this idea.
Andrew: You know what, Eric? Dare I say, this could be an educational television series. If we’re talking about plants, this could be, again, a show for the whole family. I’m thinking, like, Bill Nye the Science Guy type of thing here.
Eric: Yeah! Again, going back to what Discovery is angling for, but have it still be a story told through this whole timey-wimey stuff. There’s still an adventure aspect to it.
Andrew: Cool. I like it. And I love the title, Fantastic Plants and How to Grow Them.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: To wrap things up today, we’ve mentioned numerous times today how Mr. Zaslav was running Discovery, and Discovery is the home of many television networks, which are the home to many wild television shows. Americans probably have heard of these; I don’t know about people abroad. But just to run through some of the television shows Discovery owns, we’re talking 90-Day Fiance, My 600-lb Life, Hoarding, Buried Alive, Say Yes to the Dress, House Hunters – one of my favorite shows – Long Island Medium, Sister Wives, Dr. Pimple Popper…
Andrew: … Fixer Upper, Windy City Rehab, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition… so many shows; I just barely scratched the surface. Many of them are really trashy, but people like that. They like to just turn their brain off and maybe background watch Dr. Pimple Popper. A lot of these shows you see in the waiting room of the doctor’s office. [laughs] So I thought, because this guy from Discovery is coming in, just for fun, let’s come up with an idea for a television show that would air on Discovery that’s within the wizarding world. And brace yourselves for some ridiculous ideas here as well; don’t take these too seriously. Though, I think some here on the panel tried to come up with a serious show. Spoiler: I didn’t.
Andrew: But Eric, let’s start with you.
Eric: All right. Again, out of my love for early 2000s Discovery documentaries, space, animals…
Andrew: [laughs] Eric is an OG discovery fan. He’s like, “Bring back the glory days of Discovery Network.”
Eric: It used to be good, people. Back before they popped pimples, they cracked into black holes.
Eric: All right, so before black heads, they had black holes.
[Laura and Neil laugh]
Eric: Thank you, everybody. Thank you. I’m bowing. Okay, so Fantastic Life, a lifestyle documentary narrated by Newt Scamander, reprised in the role by Eddie Redmayne, that traverses the globe but only talks about non-human creatures. So again, “We spent eight weeks with these Diricawls and here’s where they go when they disappear,” that kind of a thing. Just real straightforward, a nature documentary. Everything that I would have wanted Fantastic Beasts to be if it didn’t also have to be an adventure film. So that’s my idea, and then if you did want, by chance, a little more out there version – because I did like all of those space shows – Space Wizards: the attempts made by magical people across the world to explore the cosmos, and why, so far, they have failed. Wizards in space, everybody. What could possibly go right?
Andrew: Honestly, this is an idea that has never crossed my mind before, and I love it. Because if we as humans think there’s life outside of earth, then if you jump into the wizarding world, you have to think that there’s other planets where there are other beings who also possess magical properties. Maybe there are wizards in the Muggle world out in space. That can be explored in this series too.
Eric: Wait, isn’t this just Star Wars then?
Andrew: Oh. [laughs] Right.
Eric: But no, it’s really neat, yeah.
Neil: See, I like Space Wizards because there’s actually a mention in the book when this guy is trying to chat up a Veela and he’s bragging that he had a broom that could go to Mars or something like that.
Laura: Oh, that’s right.
Eric: Oh my God.
Andrew: Oh my gosh, so it’s canon.
Laura: That’s a great memory.
Neil: Yep, in the fourth book when they’re running away from the Death Eaters.
Eric: That’s so cool. So yeah, what does it look like? This reminds me of… there’s a meme I saw once, or a comic strip, where it says, “Hey, I’ve created the first telescope that doesn’t rely on mirrors.” And he looks through it and it’s just all these vampires with little glass orbs.
Eric: It’s like, space is full of vampires, but we didn’t know because of the mirror thing. Yeah, that would be the wizards thing.
Andrew: All right, Laura. What’s yours?
Laura: Okay. So for mine, we’re coming back down to earth.
Laura: Do y’all remember in the early 2000s there was a reality TV show called Airline that just focused on Southwest Airlines? And it was filmed in the airport, so it covered the trials and tribulations of travel. Did anyone watch that?
Andrew and Eric: No.
Laura: It was a thing that happened. I swear to God.
Andrew: I believe you.
Laura: But my envisioning is that this could be replicated for the wizarding world. It would be called Floo.
Laura: And it would be a reality TV show chronicling the trials, tribulations, and joy of travel in the wizarding world.
Eric: Yes. 100%. Sign me up.
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Andrew: There’s like, departure delays when you’re trying to take off with a broom.
Laura: Yeah, exactly. Or the Floo Network is down and somebody’s wife is at St. Mungo’s having a baby and he’s just losing his mind because he can’t get there. [laughs]
Micah: Globus Mundi finally has some relevance.
Laura: Yep. [laughs]
Andrew: Aw, man. We had such high hopes for Globus Mundi.
Eric: Globus Mundi, the series. There you go.
Andrew: [laughs] Yes.
Laura: I love it.
Micah: I went sports-themed, and my show would be called Deadliest Snatch.
Micah: A play on Deadliest Catch. This is a show dedicated to the most dangerous catches of the Golden Snitch in Quidditch history.
Andrew: Oh, yes.
Eric: Love it.
Micah: Quidditch has been around now about a thousand years or so, so there’s some good moments. Hosted by Viktor Krum and Ginny Weasley.
Eric: I love this. I actually love the juxtaposition of Viktor and Ginny because Ginny would obviously know what Viktor’s history was with Hermione. But Ginny and Viktor are obviously both very talented international Quidditch players; they’re apt to comment on it. Can we also get Andrew Lincoln in there as a throwback as Kennilworthy Whisp, though? Can we please do that, Micah?
Eric: Okay, awesome.
Andrew: As the narrator of the audiobook, yeah.
Eric: Now I’m sold.
Andrew: Okay, Neil, what’s yours?
Neil: My idea is Chaos in Charming. Basically, it’d be to look at all the most ridiculous stories of charms and transfiguration gone awry throughout the wizarding world.
Neil: I love how there’s all sorts of little moments where they just mention something ridiculous, like Gilbert Wimple from the Committee on Experimental Charms, and how he got his horns.
Neil: Or Wizard Baruffio, who said “s” instead of “f” and found himself on the floor with a buffalo on his chest. Like, that stuff is just so ridiculous, and I really want more.
Eric: Oh my goodness.
Andrew: Yeah, that’s a great idea because to your point, all these little tidbits are mentioned throughout the series and then you never hear about them again. And we understand why, of course, but it’d be so cool to just pull all these out and be like, “We’re actually going to depict all of these now.” Love it.
Neil: Yeah, and of course we’d have Fred and George’s experiments gone wrong for the finale.
Eric and Laura: Oh, yeah.
Andrew: That could be a whole episode, or a whole series. [laughs]
Neil: Yeah, we get mention of their experiments going badly in the books, but there could be real potential for something here. [laughs]
Andrew: Fred and George Exposed.
Eric: Speaking of Fred and George, they could do basically MythBusters, but only the experiments that went wrong that just don’t work or whatever, and it’s the Fred and George shop on Discovery. That would be really cool.
Laura: Oh my gosh.
Micah: This reminds me of America’s Funniest Home Videos a bit.
Andrew and Eric: Yeah.
Eric: Play some “Yakety Sax.”
Andrew: [laughs] Okay, so you all took the assignment pretty seriously, and I applaud you for that. But I was thinking since there are so many trash television shows, that I need to do a trash television show for Discovery.
Eric: Embrace the trash, Andrew.
Andrew: Mr. Zaslav is so offended by me calling all his content trash. So one of the shows on, I think it’s A&E, is called Ice Road Truckers. So I was trying to think how we could get the wizarding world involved here. And so what I did… I’m going to read my synopsis of the show. It starts with… this is a real synopsis for Ice Road Truckers, but then it pivots into how the wizarding world gets involved, okay? So “truckers with nerves of steel take their lives in their hands driving heavily loaded vehicles across frozen lakes to deliver supplies to remote locations in Canada and Alaska. Whether they’re bringing supplies to Canadian diamond mines, supplying offshore oil rigs in Alaska, or even charting new territory driving over frozen swamps and rivers to bring much-needed supplies to small towns, these extreme truckers face troubles from their machines and from Mother Nature.” That’s a real show.
[Eric and Laura laugh]
Andrew: Okay, now here’s how the wizarding world gets involved. “In a new partnership with the wizarding world, Sybill Trelawney is joining the Ice Road Truckers team to predict weather and driving conditions! Watch as the Trelawney Truckers depend on Sybill’s predictions to survive the wintery north. Will Sybill’s bets on road safety come true or will these truckers be sinking more than just tea leaves?”
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Laura: That is hilarious. And I don’t see it going well for them. She’ll get like, two predictions right.
Andrew: Exactly, you just never know how a Trelawney prediction is going to go. So now these truckers are driving over ice because Trelawney said they’d make it across. [laughs] Half of them are going to sink into the water.
Eric: And then once a season she has a real prediction but we know that’s terrifying as all hell, so they crash the truck because they’re like, “What’s going on here?”
Andrew: [laughs] And then you just cut to Trelawney watching them actually try to cross the lake when the lake collapses and she’s like, “Oh no. Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. I was so certain.”
Micah: Chloé, don’t hate me, but can we Photoshop Trelawney into the cab of a truck with one of these drivers?
[Eric and Neil laugh]
Andrew: Yes. Trelawney’s Truckers.
Neil: Yeah, or if she was just talking to them on CB radio. “Breaker 1-9, breaker 1-9, this is Sybill 3-0.”
Andrew: “You’re good to go. You’re good to go. Full speed ahead. The weather’s going to be fine.”
Micah: Then breaks into prophecy mid-transmission.
[Andrew and Neil laugh]
Andrew: [imitating Trelawney] “The one with the power to drive across the ice rises.”
Laura: The trucker is like, “Sybill, I have zero visibility. I need you to stop giving a prophecy right now and tell me what to do.”
Andrew: [laughs] “Straight ahead till morning.” All right, well, that was fun. Mr. Zaslav, are you listening? We have lots of ideas here, some of them very good, genuinely very good. Ice Road Truckers you can probably pass on, but everything else was very good. Great job, everybody.
Eric: I love your idea of doing a trash TV, because that absolutely gets millions of views.
Andrew: Oh, yeah. I was trying to think of… remember Duck Dynasty?
Laura: Oh my God.
Andrew: That show was legitimately huge. People were obsessed with that show set in the south, and they were just duck hunters or whatever.
Laura: And Honey Boo Boo. Remember that one too?
Andrew: Honey Boo Boo. So many great shows. I was honestly a huge fan of Jon & Kate Plus 8 on TLC.
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Micah: That’s basically the Weasleys.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: Yes, yes! Oh my gosh. Well, that was a lot of fun. If you have any feedback about today’s discussion, you can write or send a voice message to MuggleCast@gmail.com. If you’re sending a voice message, you can record a message using the Voice Memo app on your phone. You can also use the contact form on MuggleCast.com. Or you can call us; the number is 1-920-3-MUGGLE. That’s 1-920-368-4453. So what is coming up on next week’s episode, Eric?
Eric: Well, we have, actually, a very special interview I’m extremely excited for. It’s a very special guest. I want to tease it a little bit.
Andrew: Mr. Zaslav himself is joining MuggleCast.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Eric: Yes, yes. No, but it’s absolutely amazing. This is somebody who is as close to the very, very beginning of the global sensation that is Harry Potter. They are a guest who would have been great to have at any point along our journey, and I am extra thrilled to be speaking to them now. And I know that they will have some very interesting stories to tell. I really can’t hype this up enough.
Eric: It’s been a while since we interviewed somebody, but isn’t this cool, guys who know? [laughs]
Andrew: Yeah, no, we’re excited. We’re excited. Eric wants to tease everybody. [laughs]
Eric: I want to tease people.
Andrew: Yeah, it’ll be great. We have lots of questions for this person. And that’ll be coming up on next week’s episode of MuggleCast. Yes, we’re keeping it vague. Sorry. You’re just going to have to tune in next week, I guess. [laughs]
Eric: You’re going to find out. You guys are going to be very excited. It’s going to be great.
Laura: Gotta give you a cliffhanger.
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, we’re like a TV show now. We’re giving people cliffhangers.
Andrew: It’s time for Quizzitch!
[Quizzitch music plays]
Eric: Okay, in the scene in the cave from Half-Blood Prince, what does Dumbledore toast before drinking the potion? And the correct answer is “To your good health, Harry.” Congratulations to those who submitted the correct answer, including Duke Stroganoff; Every day I’m hufflin’; Evil Ringo TV; Mads Mikkel-Nielsen; Micah’s good looks; Pig the Owl; Sir King of Kings; Smush Golden Snidget; Sam Nightingale; Mother of cats; Loud and proud Hufflepuff; Forever and always in love with hubby Piers; and a Dr. Filibuster’s Fabulous Wet-Start No-Heat Firework left in the cupboard of Diagon Alley. Really brought it on the made-up names here, everybody. Congratulations.
Eric: And it’s time for next week’s Quizzitch question! Who illustrated the first book cover for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, published in 1997 by Bloomsbury in the UK?
Micah: What a curious question, Eric.
Eric: A real throwback. Back before I think any of us were Harry Potter fans. Submit your answer to us via the Quizzitch form located on the MuggleCast website, MuggleCast.com/Quizzitch, or go to MuggleCast.com and click on “Quizzitch” on the nav.
Andrew: Okay, great. Neil, thanks so much for joining us today. Appreciate you coming on, and your contributions were excellent. Mr. Zaslav thanks you as well.
Neil: Thank you for having me, everyone. It was a lot of fun. Glad to have been here.
Andrew: Awesome, yeah.
Neil: Even if it is the middle of the night my time.
Andrew: Yes. Well, sleep well tonight knowing you recorded a great episode of MuggleCast. So thanks again, Neil, and thanks for your support at Patreon.com/MuggleCast. We have this benefit; our Slug Club supporters can one day join MuggleCast. We’ve had many listeners on now; it’s really been an awesome experience. And Neil is just the latest in a line of excellent listeners who are also excellent co-hosts of the show. If you want to support us just like Neil and others do, you can go to Patreon.com/MuggleCast and there’s lots of benefits waiting for you. Next week – the week after next, I guess you can say – we’ll have a new bonus MuggleCast installment that is Pride Month-themed. We’re going to be doing some gay pickup lines in honor of Pride Month.
Andrew: Explicit content warning, in case I need to make that clear.
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Andrew: Thank you, everybody, for listening. And don’t forget, make sure you’re following the show for free in your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode. And leave us a review if the app allows you to, and we read all of them and they all mean a lot, so thanks, everybody. And also, don’t forget to follow us on social media. We are @MuggleCast on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok, our latest social media account. Thanks again, everybody, for listening. I’m Andrew.
Eric: I’m Eric.
Micah: I’m Micah.
Laura: I’m Laura.
Neil: And I’m Neil.
Andrew: Bye, everybody.
Laura: Bye, y’all.