Nearly eight months after Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts debuted on HBO Max, J.K. Rowling addressed her absence from the special.
On January 1, Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, and a slew of other castmembers, directors, and crew returned to the set of the magical franchise to reminisce on the makings of the films and reveal behind-the-scenes details. Meanwhile, the author of the Harry Potter series only appeared in old footage.
While many assumed Rowling was asked not to return for the special due to her controversial tweets about the transgender community, Rowling says she chose not to participate. In a new interview with Graham Norton for Virgin Radio UK, she corrected the host when he mentioned she was “excluded” from the special. “I wasn’t, actually—I was asked to be on that, and I decided I didn’t want to do it,” she said, per Vanity Fair. “I thought it was about the films more than the books, you know? Quite rightly, as that is what the anniversary was about, so, no one said ‘don’t come.’”
When asked if she’s still in touch with any of the “young” Harry Potter actors, she replied, “yes, I do, some more than others, but that was always the case. Some I knew better than others.”
In June 2020, many of the Harry Potter franchise stars released statements supporting the trans community following Rowling’s tweets disparaging gender-neutral medical language. Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry Potter for ten years, was the first to push back against Rowling’s comments in an essay for The Trevor Project.