It could easily be argued that 2016 is the year that Harry Potter returns. Of course, the boy wizard has never really gone away as the large crowds at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, or the Harry Potter Studios Tour in Leavesden will attest. However it has been five years since the last Potter film–Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II–was released, and a frankly astounding nine years since the final book was launched. 2016 will give us our first new material in the Potter universe (excluding updates to Pottermore) since then, so it’s only right that Potterheads are celebrating, even as they continue to mourn for Alan Rickman. A whole host of things are happening in the Potter world this year so let’s take a look at them.
February 4th – Harry Potter Book Night
First organized in the UK in 2015, Harry Potter Book Night is back and in 2016 it’s going global. Events are being organized all over the world for Potterheads to get together and celebrate the series; you can check the event map to see what’s happening near you. This year’s theme is A Night of Spells and those interested in registering to host an event of their own will receive a digital kit full of activities–last year’s kit included party games, activity sheets, quizzes, games, and more. The Book Night website also includes resources for anyone interested in going deeper into the books including discussion guides/activities for use in classrooms and book clubs, reading certificates, and lots of free fun things to do online as well.
April 7th – Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens at Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Hollywood joins the magic in April when it opens its own version of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter that opened in Florida back in 2010. Guests will be able to ride Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey, and the tamer Flight of the Hippogriff, buy broomsticks and wizard treats in Hogsmeade, and eat at The Three Broomsticks or the Hogs Head. A future Diagon Alley expansion as seen in Florida has already been rumored months ahead of opening!
July 20th – Harry Potter and The Cursed Child Opens (Previews from May)
Possibly the most anticipated stage play of all time, the online queues to buy tickets for the first Harry Potter play had many fans waiting for hours and forced the theater to release dates well into 2017! The play is set 19 years after Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows and focuses on Harry himself, now an “overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic” and his youngest son Albus Severus.
October 19 – 23rd – LeakyCon 2016
This year’s LeakyCon will be held at the Marriott Burbank in Los Angeles and promises attendees an “immersive fan event” … “unlike anything [they] have created before!” The convention is returning to its roots, shrinking down to provide a more intimate Potter-centric weekend in contrast with the events 2015 incarnation which saw them rebrand to GeekyCon and take over the Orlando Convention Center with a larger, more multi-fandom event. Little information has been released so far besides ticket costs (a standard pass costs $250 and is on sale now) but with the newly opened Wizarding World just five miles away, Potter fans will be able to have an incredible week.
November 18th – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
The first film since Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, Fantastic Beasts will expand the Potter-verse both in time and space. Set in New York, the film will give viewers their first look at a country outside the United Kingdom and will also introduce them to a new time frame as we get to see how the wizarding world looked and operated in the roaring ’20s. The plot focuses on Newt Scamander, author of the Hogwarts textbook from which the film draws its title, and his visit to New York during which an enchanted suitcase filled with magical beasts is opened allowing the creatures to escape and creating a tense situation which threatens “the state of magical and non-magical relations.”
Top Image: © Sophie Brown