What will be our next Harry Potter?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows opens November 19.  I can’t help but feel a growing sense of dread that the movies are coming to an end.  Yes, I know it’s silly.  The books are long-since concluded and these days Daniel Radcliffe more closely resembles a GQ model than he does a teenaged wizard.  The fans have gotten older, the actors have gotten older; I get all that.

And yet there’s that empty feeling.  Saying goodbye to Hogwarts on the written page is one thing; but I have a feeling it will be much harder when it’s brought to vivid, burning life on the big screen.  (It seems I’m not the only one with a sense of dread surrounding the on-screen deaths of beloved characters.)  For the better part of the past 10 years, Potter fans have had a blockbuster movie to look forward to—something really quite remarkable when you think about it.  What other fandom has been given the same treatment?

Hollywood has certainly tried.  Since the success of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone they’ve tried (and failed) to repeat the winning formula for other young adult fantasy franchises:  A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Eragon, The Golden Compass, The Seeker: The Dark is Rising, Inkheart and so on.  Despite being semi-decent and relatively successful movies in their own rights, none of them have really had the fan fervor that the Harry Potter movies do, nor lived up to the box office expectations.  Not surprisingly, none of the movies I just mentioned have current plans for a sequel.

So, as far as films go, what will be our next Harry Potter?  What series of books-turned-movies will we obsess over, camp in lines for, and stay up ’till 2:30 a.m. on a weeknight just to catch the first showing?  I certainly hope the answer isn’t Twilight.

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