Emma Watson in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Dear 'Harry Potter' fans,

You may want to sit down and squeeze a close friend's hand for support. It breaks my heart to tell you this, but there is a chance that Emma Watson, the actress who plays the feisty and overwhelmingly beloved Hermione Granger in the 'Potter' films, may not be returning for installments six and seven.

With filming on 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix' well under way, negotiations have begun to bring back the franchise's three big guns -- Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) and Watson -- for the final two flicks. While Radcliffe and Grint are reportedly more than keen on reprising their roles, Watson recently expressed reservations in an interview with Newsweek.

When asked if she'd be renewing her contract, Watson responded, "I don't know yet. Every film is such a huge production, and it's such a long time." She went on to say that while she loves to act, she's not sure that it's the only thing she wants to do. Now 16, Watson recently notched near-perfect scores on her national exams (a pretty big deal over in Britain), so she may have college on her mind. If she were to return for films six and seven, she'd most likely have to postpone her college career until 20.

That said, nothing is set in the Sorcerer's Stone yet. Young Emma might very well decide that she loves Hermione too much to abandon her. I know a lot of 'Potter' fans -- my younger brother included -- will be devastated if she doesn't return. Legions of aspiring young actresses over in England and Ireland, on the other hand, would surely be pumped at the prospect of landing such a plum role. Will Watson return or depart? Only time will tell. Until then, all we can do is throw around wild conjectures as to who might replace her. My money is on Helen Mirren -- finest British actress in film today. Although she might be a spot too old.

BROWSE: See 15 young stars who might fit the bill

SEE IT: First look at Luna Lovegood from 'Order of the Phoenix'

GET IT: More info on 'Phoenix'

Tags:Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, movies

categories Features, Cinematical