Everything We Learned From the Max Streaming Event: Harry Potter Series, ‘Game of Thrones’ Prequel and HBO Stays in the Picture

Darker HBO Original series like “The Regime” and “True Detective: Night Country” are still in the mix at Max

Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Max
New "Game of Thrones" and "Harry Potter" series coming to the rebranded Max streaming service

Warner Bros. Discovery on Wednesday unveiled a plethora of new programming and some significant changes coming to flagship streaming service HBO Max, which will now be called simply “Max” and debut on May 23.

CEO David Zaslav and other WBD executives also gave a glimpse of highly anticipated new series, with trailers of “The Batman” spinoff “The Penguin”; “The Regime,” starring Kate Winslet; and a new animated “Gremlins” from Joe Dante, with voice talents including Sandra Oh and Bowen Yang.

The company also unveiled a new pricing plan that includes an ad-supported streaming option — at $9.99/mo. the same price as HBO Max’s ad-supported plan — and a new, more expensive $19.99/mo. plan that includes higher-definition streams.

Here are some of the biggest takeaways from Wednesday’s big event:

A new “Game of Thrones prequel

The series, which is set 100 years before the events of “Game of Thrones,” is called “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Night.” It will focus on Ser Duncan the Tall and his traveling companion, Egg. George R.R. Martin and Ira Parker will write and produce, with Ryan Condal and Vince Gerardis as executive producers.

A ‘Harry Potter’ TV series that will run for 10 years

This “multi-season, live-action” Harry Potter series will feature an all-new cast as young wizards Harry, Ron and Hermione. It will feature all seven J.K. Rowling books; the author will also serve as a producer. Casey Bloys, the head of HBO and Max Content at Warner Bros. Discovery, sidestepped the controversy surrounding Rowling, who has become an outspoken anti-trans voice, saying, “I think her insights are going to be incredibly helpful on that … The TV show is new and we’re excited about it. But we’ve been in the Potter business for 20 years. So this is not a new decision [to work with her]. So we’re very comfortable.”

He added that the discussion around trans rights is “obviously very nuanced and complicated.” He added, “Obviously the Harry Potter story is incredibly formative and positive and love and self acceptance, so that’s our priority what’s on the screen.”

New HBO shows: “True Detective: Night Country,” “The Regime” and “The Sympathizer”

Stephen Frears’ “The Regime” stars Kate Winslet as a ruthless dictator. “True Detective: Night Country” has Jodie Foster and Keli Reis on the eerie case of a trio of missing men in Alaska. Park Chan-wook’s “The Sympathizer,” set during the final days of the Vietnam war, stars Hoa Xuande as a Communist spy and features Robert Downey, Jr. in multiple roles as a CIA officer, a congressman and a movie director.

A first look at “The Penguin”

The streamer also shared a clip from the upcoming DC series “The Penguin,” a spinoff of “The Batman” focusing on Colin Farrell’s colorful villain. The series from Warner Bros. Television and DC Studios is currently in production.The previously announced cast includes Farrell, Cristin Milioti, Rhenzy Feliz, Michael Kelly, Shohreh Aghdashloo and Deirdre O’Connell, with Clancy Brown and Michael Zegen recurring.

“Big Bang Theory” and “Conjuring” series

Max has greenlit a series set in the sprawling James Wan-created “Conjuring” horror universe, which features paranormal investigators, demon-possessed dolls, and a killer nun. A “Big Bang Theory” project is also in development from Chuck Lorre. Lorre also has the comedy series, “How to Be a Bookie,” starring Sebastian Maniscalco as a struggling sports bookie.

An animated “Gremlins” and more kids’ shows

The company also screened a clip of “Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai,” an animated prequel series from Joe Dante, at the Wednesday event. The series, which premieres May 23 with the launch of Max, features the voice talents of James Hong, Ming-Na Wen, BD Wong, Sandra Oh, Randall Park, Bowen Yang and George Takei.

Also, U2 frontman Bono and singer-songwriter Gavin Friday team up for a new animated version of the classic musical tale “Peter and the Wolf.”

New unscripted offerings

Among the new programming titles from TLC, Discovery Channel and HGTV are “Fixer Upper: The Hotel,” in which Chip and Joanna Gaines remodel a historic hotel in Waco, Texas; TLC series “Love & Translation,” in which three American guys romance 12 women from around the globe who don’t speak English; and HGTV series “Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge,” hosted by Ashley Graham.

Discovery Channel also has “Survive the Raft,” billed as “equal parts social experiment and survival epic,” in which nine people try to survive together while stranded at sea.

Other new unscripted series include “Ciao House,” a competitive food series set in Tuscany, Italy, that pits family members against each other; “Shaun White: The Last Run,” a docuseries about the the three-time Olympic gold medalist snowboarder; and true crime docuseries “Lost Women of Highway 20,” hosted by Octavia Spencer.