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Why did Warner Brothers file a film trademark for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?

Jamie Parker as Harry, Sam Clemmett as Albus and Poppy Miller as Ginny.
Source: Pottermore
Jamie Parker as Harry, Sam Clemmett as Albus and Poppy Miller as Ginny.

The Harry Potter film series might be long over, but recent trademark filings from Warner Brothers shows that the film company could be planning for the franchise beyond the upcoming Fantastic Beasts trilogy, with the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

The story of Harry Potter is coming back this summer, in the form of a play opening this month in London's West End. Billed as the eighth installment of the saga, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child picks up the protagonist's story 19 years later. A two-volume edition of the script will be hitting bookstores on July 31st.

While there's been considerable speculation that the production would also be filmed, Harry Potter's creator, J.K. Rowling, ruled that out earlier this year.

This is interesting, because Warner Bros. just filed for a new trademark for The Cursed Child — a Class 9, which is specifically for motion pictures. Warner Bros. is, after all, the company responsible for bringing Harry Potter to the cinematic world, and is heading up its continuation with the Fantastic Beasts film trilogy, the first of which is set to arrive in theaters on November 18th.

Rowling only confirmed that The Cursed Child was a play, but didn't actually rule out the possibility that it would be adapted down the road. With Fantastic Beasts, Warner Bros. has made clear that it's not giving up on the Harry Potter franchise, whose films have collectively grossed over $7.7 billion worldwide, outstripping the James Bond and Star Wars franchises.

Additionally, Daniel Radcliffe has recently said that he was willing to reprise the character that made him an internationally known actor. It's conceivable that Warner Bros. could be eyeing a new phase of the franchise following the end of Fantastic Beasts. The trilogy is set to run through 2020, a full nine years after the last Harry Potter film, The Deathly Hallows Part 2, hit theaters. That would certainly give Radcliffe (and his fellow actors) the time to expand their careers a bit more and age into their characters better than at the end of Deathly Hallows.

Last year, Rowling filed for additional trademarks for The Cursed Child for a variety of things, ranging from leather to paper products, which could be some sort of tie-in merchandise for the play. This latest filing from Warner Bros. suggests that the film company is covering the option for the next phase of the franchise, without committing before we see if Fantastic Beasts is a success or not.

Rowling has demonstrated that she's focused on the business end of the Harry Potter world, keeping the franchise alive long after the original books ended. While this trademark filing certainly isn't proof that that we're getting a film, it certainly makes it look like Warner Bros. is thinking carefully about it.