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J.K. Rowling writing 'Harry Potter' prequel... for the stage

Harry Potter is coming to the stage.

J.K. Rowling says she is working on a play about the boy wizard’s life before he attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Rowling said in a statement Friday that the play will “explore the previously untold story of Harry’s early years as an orphan and outcast. “

Rowling will be a co-producer on the show, along with veteran theater producers Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender. The statement said Rowling will collaborate with a writer but will not write the script herself.

Writer and director have yet to be chosen. No opening date has been set for the show.

Rowling’s Harry Potter novels have sold more than 450 million copies around the world and were adapted into eight Warner Bros. feature films.

The Best YA Novel of All Time bracket game: And the winner is...

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… not a novel, but a series. And what a series.

That’s right: EW readers have officially voted J.K. Rowling’s epic, game-changing Harry Potter saga to be the best YA novel — er, novels — of all time. (Why did we pit series against standalone books? Simple: As EW book editor Tina Jordan explained, the list would have been too cluttered “with multiple titles from YA’s most outstanding series” otherwise.)

On one level, this should hardly come as a shock. Harry, after all, is responsible not only for introducing an entire generation to the wonders of reading but also for single-handedly creating a boom in children’s and young adult publishing, one that shows no signs of slowing anytime soon. The film adaptations of Rowling’s series also helped spur a new franchise-based film economy, while arguably ruining movie sequels to boot.

Look back at the way the full bracket progressed, though, and you’ll see that Harry’s ultimate nemesis — not Voldemort, but John Green’s heartbreaking romance The Fault in Our Stars — made its way to the top by summarily crushing franchise after franchise.
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What is the best YA novel of all time? 'Harry Potter' vs. 'The Fault in Our Stars'

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Welcome to the finals of EW.com’s YA novel bracket game, a March Madness style tournament that will determine the best Young Adult novel of all time — as voted by you.

And then there were two — Harry Potter and The Fault in Our Stars. Will Potter take home the crown of best YA novel of all time, or is John Green’s heartbreaking work the one that will win it all?

See the road to the finals in our full bracket here, and vote in the poll below. For more, check out staff picks of books that didn’t make it as far as we would have liked — including The Outsiders, A Wrinkle in Time, Holes and The Earthsea Cycle.

Voting closes at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday. The winner will be announced Monday. READ FULL STORY

What is the best YA novel of all time? The final four

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Welcome to EW.com’s YA novel bracket game, a March Madness style tournament that will determine the best Young Adult novel of all time — as voted by you.

You’ve narrowed the field of 64 novels down to four — To Kill a Mockingbird, the Harry Potter series, The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Fault in Our Stars (which handily overcame The Hunger Games‘ early lead). Which will make it to the championship round?

Check out the full bracket here and vote below! Polls close Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET. READ FULL STORY

Entertainment Geekly: How 'Harry Potter' ruined movie sequels

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Entertainment Geekly is a weekly column that examines contemporary pop culture through a geek lens and simultaneously examines contemporary geek culture through a pop lens. So many lenses!

In decades past, the movie sequel was a frowned-upon concept, something that implied unoriginality or laziness. There were exceptions (The Godfather Part II), and if you were a genre head in the ’80s, then you witnessed the birth of the Sequel-As-Perfected-Original (Wrath of Khan and Road Warrior and Empire Strikes Back and maybe Aliens), although that in turn led to the birth of the Threequel-As-Bloated-Mess (Search for Spock and Beyond Thunderdome and Return of the Jedi and Alien 3). Sequels as a cultural idea belonged to beefcake action heroes and cut-rate horror franchises.

At this point, though, complaining about sequels feels a bit archaic — the equivalent of the parents in Bye Bye Birdie complaining about rock and roll. Sequels are essentially the business of the mainstream Hollywood studios. The five top-grossing movies of 2013 are sequels that outperformed their predecessors, and there’s every reason to think Thor: The Dark World and Catching Fire will join that list soon.
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Muggles rejoice! Butterbeer is now being served at Starbucks

Harry Potter can’t be real, your friends explain to you every holiday season, you can’t even order Butterbeer at restaurants not named The Three Broomsticks.

Well, this week Starbucks proved if you wish for something long enough, it’ll come true and then your friends can’t make fun of you much anymore. Butterbeer, the beloved drink that Harry, Ron, Hermione, and so many others down regularly throughout the Harry Potter books, is coming to Starbucks, per a note at Dalebacar.com.
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'Breaking Bad' spin-off, 'Fantastic Beasts' -- what big fan bait might be next?

We gasped when AMC all but ordered a Breaking Bad spin-off featuring slimy Saul Goodman. We squealed in delight when Warner Bros. and J.K. Rowling announced their new collaboration: a film series set in Rowling’s wizarding world and based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

And now we’re waiting with bated breath, because if we’ve learned anything, it’s that big news often comes in threes. (Even if, uh, it doesn’t really.)

So! Let’s spend a few minutes speculating about what tantalizing, fan-baity reunion/reboot/release announcement could follow the news about Saul and Beasts. If nothing else, maybe we can harness the power of positive thinking to make them so. Here’s a list of possibilities to get the ball rolling:
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New film about the Potterverse? Here's what we need from J.K. Rowling

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Potterheads the world over got a surprise this morning almost as good as a letter from Hogwarts: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is becoming a movie, the first in a series, with a screenplay by J.K. Rowling. Well, I now know what happy memory I’m conjuring for the Patronus Charm.

Beasts is an encyclopedia of sorts chronicling all the magical characters in Rowling’s world, as documented by Magizoologist Newt Scamander. In 1918, Scamander was commissioned to write the book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The movie will tell this story, while also leaving open the possibility of returns from many famous Potter alums. Because Scamander is an established character in the Potterverse, there is already quite a bit we know about him: In addition to his respected work as a Magizoologist, the former Hufflepuff went on to become Headmaster of Hogwarts; got married to Porpentina; and his grandchild, Rolf, married everyone’s favorite kooky blonde, Luna Lovegood (who better show up in flash-forward). Though he passed away around the time of Harry Potter’s first year at Hogwarts, his name appeared on the Marauder’s Map in Prisoner of Azkaban, meaning he likely stuck around the castle as a ghost.

Heads up to J.K. Rowling: There’s already a fair amount of FanFiction about Scamander out there, but some highly creative fanfic writers are no match for the woman with the best imagination on the planet. Rowling clearly needs no help coming up with additional backstory for characters – have you seen her at a Q&A? — but, from one fan’s perspective, here are a few things I’d love to see the movie explore, working within the time frame already established.
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Drunk Ron Weasley celebrates Harry's birthday (and looks familiar) on 'Fallon' -- VIDEO

As any good witch- or wizard-wannabe knows, the Boy Who Lived isn’t much of a boy anymore. In fact, he turned 33 yesterday — on a date that also happens to be Harry Potter mastermind J.K. Rowling’s own birthday. (There must be some powerful magic at work every July 31.)

Naturally, Harry’s fans and celebrated the big day by writing fawning online tributes, making elaborate cakes, and admiring all seven of Kazu Kibuishi’s new covers for the series. And then there was Harry’s best friend Ron Weasley, who decided to fete his friend by singing a special song on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon… and chugging something that looks a little stronger than butterbeer.

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33 great things about Harry Potter (in honor of his 33rd birthday)

Happy birthday, Harry Potter!

The Boy Who Lived turned 33 on July 31 (age determined by Muggles That Rule The Internet), and he’s probably having a pretty great day. His kids aren’t yet at Hogwarts, so — if I can get a little fan fiction-y on you for a moment — he’s probably just spending the day with Ginny, James Sirius, Albus Severus, and Lily Luna. His life is a lot easier now; not having a noseless mass murderer breathing down your neck (and in your head!) does wonders for your stress level. There’s a reason J.K. Rowling focused the story on his teenage years and isn’t currently writing an eighth book called Harry Potter the Suburban Dad. (to be clear: If she wrote it, I would read it.)

Because Harry’s post-Voldemort days eventually become pretty dang easy, I got to thinking about his Hogwarts years, which were 4,224 pages strong of mountain troll-fighting, blood quill-dealing, and mysteries galore. While I’m sure even the non-Potterphiles among you are aware of his biggest accomplishments (defeating Voldemort comes to mind) there are a lot of moments where Harry was pretty bloody awesome, and it’s totally been forgotten if you haven’t recently done a re-read.  In honor of Harry’s 33rd birthday today, here are 33 moments where Harry Potter was more incredible than Felix Felicis (and all of which have nothing to do with what he’s best known for: killing the Dark Lord).
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