JK Rowling is mentioned by several people involved with the special (Picture: Rex/HBO)
The special features appearances from several members of the cast, including Gary Oldman, Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Felton and Ralph Fiennes.
However, JK Rowling, who wrote the Harry Potter book series, did not appear in a new interview for the programme.
Her absence comes amid controversy surrounding the author’s comments regarding the transgender community, who denies being transphobic but has continued to face criticism for her remarks on trans people and gender.
In June 2020, she responded to an article which used the words ‘people who menstruate’ instead of ‘women’, tweeting: ‘‘”People who menstruate”. I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?’
She continued, writing: ‘If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased.
‘I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives,’ she said, also defending herself in a passionate essay.
In the reunion, several members of the cast and crew spoke of the author fondly as they recollected their memories making the movies.
So how was Rowling included on the programme?
How does JK Rowling appear in the special?
Members of the cast and creators of the Harry Potter films, including director Christopher Columbus and Neville Longbottom actor Matthew Lewis, took part in new interviews for the reunion special.
While it was suspected by some fans that she wouldn’t be shown in the programme at all, Rowling does appear in archive video clips from an interview she conducted in 2019.
It was an emotional reunion for the golden trio Rupert, Emma and Daniel (Picture: HBO)
Grint, who played Ron Weasley, referenced the author in the special, saying that Harry Potter was ‘such an intricately, perfectly designed universe’.
Robbie Coltrane, who portrayed Rubeus Hagrid, said: ‘One of the many reasons I admire JK so much is millions now read books who would have never have lifted a book up in their lives and you suddenly realise the power of writing.’
Hermione Granger actor Watson also recollected how her dad would read her the books when she was eight years old.
A number of Harry Potter stars spoke out in support of the trans community in light of Rowling’s comments, with Radcliffe writing ‘trangender women are women’ in a statement delivered to LGBT suicide prevention charity the Trevor Project, while Watson tweeted: ‘Trans people are who they say they are’.
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Chris Rankin, who played Percy Weasley, recently dubbed Rowling’s comments about trans people ‘damaging’, stating: ‘What is important to highlight is that, when a trans person says they are male or female, that is what they are and that is how we should treat them.
‘It is damaging to them to say otherwise.’
Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts airs on New Year’s Day on Sky and NOW.
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