Three Sets of Canon – Part 2: Movie Canon

This is the second part of my three-part series of why the Harry Potter universe has three set realities of canon. There is strict book canon, movie canon, and most recently, theater canon. This is, of course, my personal opinion on how I believe canon works. What I am trying to explain is how all the new Harry Potter content fits into existing canon, and how each has its own brand of canon.

Part 2: Movie Canon




hp movie posters


The Harry Potter movie series is, in my opinion, a great adaptation of the book series. They are still just an adaptation because the movies do not follow the same logic or timeline as the books, but being accepted and produced by J.K Rowling gives them their own canon in the wizarding world. These films have a separate reality from the books. The upcoming film trilogy, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, will also be classified as movie canon as opposed to book canon. Even though the screenplays of these films are being written by J.K Rowling herself, they are based off the companion textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Another reason why Fantastic Beasts should not be accepted as book canon is because these movies already seem to be following the tropes and style of the Harry Potter movies. For example, Newt used the spell Lumos Maxima in the trailer. This spell is not canon in the Harry Potter books but was used in the Prisoner of Azkaban film. Another example of how it differs from the source is that in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them textbook, it’s mentioned that Newt graduated Hogwarts, although trailers have suggested that he has been expelled in the films, which seems to solidify these films’ place in the movie canon.

The past eight movies in the Harry Potter franchise have some rules and plot points that are specific to only the movies and would be classified as movie canon only. These are not things that were left out but completely changed or added in the movies.

Examples of this would be:

  • The ages of Snape, Lily, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter
  • Harry’s eyes being blue
  • Spells such as Lumos Maxima
  • Ron joining the Quidditch team in his sixth year
  • The random girl Harry has a crush on in the train station in Half-Blood Prince
  • The character Nigel
  • Neville having a crush on Luna Lovegood
  • Harry being able to hear and feel Horcruxes even in the absence of some of Voldemort’s childhood memories
  • Snape dying in the boat house
  • Goyle dying in the Room of Requirement
  • Voldemort hugging Draco (classic)
  • Voldemort molting away when he dies
  • James Potter being a Seeker
  • The shrunken head in Prisoner of Azkaban 
  • Padma Patil being in Gryffindor
  • Hagrid not being able to spell “Happy Birthday”

Even though there are so many differences, we as a fandom have still accepted these movies. The movie canon gave us our first adaptation of Harry Potter. It may have changed some of the minor plot details, but at the same time, it gave us a rich new way to view the story. As this canon expands in the next couple of years, I hope we can all see it as an exciting new chapter in the Harry Potter universe as a whole. I’m personally very excited for this expansion, and for whatever the future holds for movie canon in the wizarding world.

Be sure to check out Part 1 where I discuss book canon.