Earlier this year, the cast of the Harry Potter films reunited for an HBO Max special that celebrated the legacy of the franchise as well as the reunion of the main trio (Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint) after last appearing together in the second Deathly Hallows film. However, one person who was notably absent in the special is J.K. Rowling, the author behind the series.
In a recent interview with Graham Norton on Virgin Radio UK, Rowling finally explained the reason why she was absent from the reunion special earlier this year. After Norton asserted that she was excluded from the special, Rowling clarified that she was asked to participate and her absence was entirely her choice.
"I wasn’t, actually," Rowling said. "I was asked to be on that. I decided I didn’t want to do it. I thought it was about the films more than the books quite rightly. No one said, ‘Don’t.’ I was asked to do it and I decided not to."
There were speculations that Rowling was excluded from the special due to her controversies in the past few years where she made comments on transgender rights that were criticized as transphobic by LGBT rights organizations and some of the fans and cast members of the Harry Potter franchise.
Despite Rowling's in-person absence in the reunion special, she still showed up through archive footage from a past interview. She is also still involved in the franchise as proved by her public appearance in the red carpet premiere event of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore although she didn't do any press.
Nevertheless, the special was still celebrated by fans mostly due to the appearances of the cast and crew who were involved in the making of the films and was praised for its nostalgia and glimpse of how they brought the Wizarding World to life.
Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts is available to stream on HBO Max.