Casting Updates For New 'Harry Potter' Play And Film

The play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which will open at London's Palace Theater during the summer of 2016, will pick up where the ultra-popular book and movie franchise left off, showing a middle-aged Harry Potter working at the Ministry of Magic, while his oldest son, Albus Potter, attends Hogwarts, reported TV Newsroom.

The cast was recently announced in December and will reportedly include Jamie Parker as Harry Potter, Paul Thornley as Ron Weasley, and Noma Dumezwenia as Hermione Granger.
The new Harry Potter story is a major theater production based on an adaptation of an original story by playwright Jack Thorne, director John Tiffany, and Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling. According to reports, there was a minor amount of predictable backlash from certain fans who expressed their unhappiness that Dumezwenia – an English-born African actress – who will be playing Hermione in the upcoming stage play.
Dumezwenia has reportedly starred in a variety of other TV and stage plays, winning a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role for her turn as Ruth Younger in A Raisin in the Sun. Although Ebony reported that Hermione was always played by a white girl or woman in the Harry Potter movie franchise, it's important to note that in the original book series, her race was never defined.

Furthermore, as Ebony points out, black experiences are – at their core – human experiences that translate across lines of race, which is little more than pigment at its scientific core.

"Black life, feelings and experiences are universal too. We are human. In the face of the 2016 presidential election and Black Lives Matter demonstrations, media representations still matter, and something as powerful and far-reaching as Harry Potter is definitely a noteworthy issue."
J.K. Rowling, the creator of the Harry Potter phenomenon, made her feelings on the matter very clear in a Tweet: "Canon: brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione."
Originally a native of Swaziland, Dumezweni will play the role originally made famous by actor Emma Watson in the original film series.

Also of note, November of 2016 will bring about the much-anticipated prequel to the Harry Potter franchise, with the opening of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which is a Warner Bros. film based off of Rowling's 2001 novel of the same name. The book was a kind of spin-off and prequel to the entire Harry Potter story, ABC News reported.

The film will reportedly star Colin Farrell, Eddie Redmayne, Ezra Miller, and Katherine Waterston, taking place in the 1920s, a full 70 years before Harry Potter would become known as a household name. The name Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, might sound familiar to die-hard Potter fans, because it was mentioned briefly in the series when Harry reads the book in a class at Hogwarts. Fantastic Beasts reportedly tells the story of Newt Scamander's character and the many magical creatures he encounters, collects, and writes about, ABC News reported.
"'Fantastic Beasts' takes place across the pond from the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The fantasy-adventure film is set in New York City where wizards live in secret among American Muggles."
As the title implies, the quest of the film is to find amazing creatures to collect and study, some of whom manage to escape and must be recaptured. In the film, Scamander is a "Magizoologist" who captures magical creatures and keeps them in a brown briefcase, which is deceptively larger than it appears at first glance.

[Photo via Twitter @HPPlayLDN "Harry Potter Cursed Child Play" by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia]