Harry Potter wasn't always a $25 billion industry with a theme park section and a line of sex toys to its name. There was once a time, however brief, when Harry Potter was just a burgeoning young adult book series like any other. In fact, having been released in 1997, Harry Potter had to compete with another upstart series that launched around the same time known as Animorphs. For those not familiar with the series, Animorphs ran from 1996-to-2001 and had over 54 books telling the story of five kids who were given the power to transform into animals to stop an alien invasion. It ruled, and the cover art ruled even harder.
Yes, the mid-90s were a wacky, wonderful era for fans of magic and animal shapeshifting (today known as furries), and perhaps had things gone a little differently, we might have seen Animorphs as the multi-billion dollar franchise and Harry Potter as just really, really successful. So with that in mind, and with a potential Animorphs movie coming out, we began to wonder what the world would look like if it had been Animorphs to achieve world-wide renown and not Harry Potter?
We can get some of the obvious things out of the way first. Instead of regularly being exposed to J.K Rowling tweets about her trans-exclusionary positions ...
... we'd have a larger spotlight on Applegate's tweets that are high-grades of concentrated wholesomeness.
Of course, all of the memorabilia would shift, including the theme parks, sex toys (again, big win for the furries), etc. Potentially it would all be more animal conscious. Imagine the type of influence PETA would have (for good and for bad) if one of the top entertainment franchises in the world placed animals so frequently in the front and center. Indeed, we as a society would be more well informed. I remember learning what a Perigrine Falcon was from Animorphs and how it could reach a diving speed of 320 km/h. Meanwhile, I only learned British nonsense words from Harry Potter that I hardly remember, like "snog" and "leviosa." (I think they both mean to keep your pinkie out.)
There would be huge cultural shifts as well. Instead of Buzzfeed doing 50 million quizzes sorting you into a Hogwarts house, they'd be asking if you're a Marco, a Rachel, a Jake, a Cassie, a Tobias, or an Ax. Suddenly, we'd have expanded the type of person you could be from 4 to 6. Also, with 56 plus books within the lore and other series within Applegate's work, perhaps we wouldn't have Animorphs fans obsessing over every possible word within the story like the fans do in Harry Potter.
But perhaps that's one fantasy too great to ever imagine.
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Top Image: Warner Bros. / Scholastic