12 Revelations from “Return to Hogwarts”

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter film, HBO Max reunited the cast and crew for a nostalgic look back at the iconic franchise and the roles that they played for a decade. Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts was an emotional look back at the series. During the reunion, the cast and crew who worked on the films shared a plethora of interesting facts from their time filming. Below are 12 intriguing details from the special.


1. The First Director



Christopher Columbus’s daughter forced him to read the books, which is what led him to envision the films and eventually become the director of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The Potter series wouldn’t be the same without his daughter!


2. Casting Harry Potter



The filmmakers had a hard time casting the role of Harry Potter. Chris Columbus saw Daniel Radcliffe on BBC’s David Copperfield and wanted him. However, he had to convince Dan’s parents, who thought the role would majorly disrupt his life. Fortunately, they brought Dan in for an audition, and he ended up getting cast.


3. Jason Isaacs’s Failed Audition



Jason Isaacs originally auditioned for Gilderoy Lockhart. He was annoyed and bitter when he read for Lucius Malfoy, which is exactly what the role called for. (Seriously, could his sneer be more perfect?)


4. Convincing Ralph



Ralph Fiennes was initially unsure about accepting the role of Voldemort. It was his sister — who had young children at the time — who convinced him to accept the role. 


5. Casting the Weasley Twins



When Oliver and James Phelps turned up for the Potter audition, they saw a room full of actors wearing identical clothes. This inspired them to pop to the shop across the road and buy identical tops.


6. Accidents on Set



Speaking of the Phelps brothers, James Phelps ended up accidentally breaking one of director Mike Newell’s ribs when he stepped in to demonstrate what the fight between the Weasley twins should look like in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.


7. Fawkes’s Foolery



The late Richard Harris thought that the animatronic version of Fawkes the Phoenix was a real bird that was trained very well.


8. Dan’s Crush



Daniel Radcliffe had a crush on Helena Bonham Carter and even wrote her a love note during Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.


9. Helena’s Souvenirs 



Helena stole a lot of Harry Potter props from set, including her prosthetic teeth, which she put on during the reunion.


10.  Magical Props



One iconic set piece didn’t go as planned. In order to get the floating candles that filled the Great Hall at Hogwarts, the production department had to light real candles and hang them on ropes. This led to candles burning through the ropes and falling.


11. Emma’s Dilemma 



Emma Watson felt a bit lonely during filming, which led her to consider leaving the franchise after the fourth movie.


12. Emma and Tom



Emma and Tom had a lot of love for each other, but nothing romantic ever happened between the two of them.


It was so great to see the cast reunited on-screen for the first time since the films ended. We’re looking forward to rewatching and seeing what else we missed!


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Minal Daswani

I entered the wizarding world in 2006, and haven’t left. In my Muggle time, I enjoy reading, bingeing TV shows, baking, and travellng.