How Timothée Chalamet Has Made Regulus Black a Well Loved Character

In recent years within the Harry Potter fandom, Regulus Black has made the comeback of all comebacks. His resurgence in fan-edits, fan-films, and fan-fiction is unavoidable and undeniable. Regulus is scarcely mentioned in Harry’s story, but his impact is vital. It was Regulus who discovered the secret of the horcruxes, and it was Regulus who betrayed Voldemort and died alone in that cave. He’s mentioned only briefly by his brother Sirius:

 

“‘[…]my idiot brother, soft enough to believe [our parents] . . . that’s him.’ Sirius jabbed a finger at the very bottom of the tree, at the name REGULUS BLACK.” (OoTP)

 

Regulus was also a Death Eater. Yes, he choses good in the end, but he stayed in the House of Black for much longer than Sirius did, siding with Voldemort’s pureblood ideology. Aside from this, most of what you may see about Regulus on fan pages is headcanon. And most of what you see is Timothée Chalamet.

 

A still from “Little Women” (2019) of Timothée Chalamet as Laurie.

Timothée as Laurie in “Little Women”. CREDIT: Columbia Pictures

 

Sweet Timmy has become almost synonymous with young Reggie Black, so much so that the comments on an instagram photo of Timothée in a pool of water are flooded with comments like ‘get out of the water Regulus!’ – referencing Regulus’ cause of death. Indeed, edits of Regulus on TikTok and Instagram are almost entirely Timothée, mostly using clips of him in Little Woman, Dune, and Call Me By Your Name. This phenomenon has even broken the fourth wall, with Timothée himself confirming to a fan that he’s seen the fan-cast, as well as wearing a Slytherin jumper in an interview for Dune in 2021.

 

Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya in an interview for “Dune”. Timothée wears a Slytherin jumper while Zendaya points to the Slytherin badge.

Zendaya showing off Timothée’s Slytherin jumper. CREDIT: Entertainment Tonight

 

Regulus Black has become an incredibly well-loved character. For someone who has no lines of their own in either book or film, and someone who was explicitly a Death Eater, some may consider this a bizarre development. Others might say… It’s the Timothée effect.

There are two main reasons how Timothée, without lifting a finger, has made Regulus the people’s princess of the Harry Potter fandom. The first is Timothée himself, the second is the films in which he has starred.

Let’s start with Timmy himself. It simply comes down to the fact that people do just love him. He is widely accepted as a sensational actor, one that can bleed tiny nuances of emotion onto the big screen; small flickers of pain, gutting declarations of love, and eviscerating wordless monologues are made vivid and real by this man’s ability. He’s loved by Hollywood as he’s loved by the masses, often heralded as this generation’s highest talent, admired by every director and actor he’s worked with, a name that will bring people to the cinema. Videos with fans show him as a genuine, down-to-earth guy, funny and personable, kind and good-natured.

So when Regulus wears Timothée’s face, it’s easy for fans to adopt these kinds of personalities onto the character. Fan-edits often even use Timothée’s voice, splicing scenes from his films where the lines fit the theme of the edit. Similarly, fan-art often uses Timothée’s likeness as reference, drawing Timothée in Slytherin robes, hanging out with the Marauders, with Sirius at Grimmauld Place. This continues to carve Regulus and Timmy in the same light, merging our opinions of the two together. When one sees a piece of Regulus fanart with Timothée’s face, do they see Regulus or Timothée? Both? It makes sense to argue that, subconsciously, the two have become one. And with the way people love Timothée, this can only mean good things for Regulus.

 

A still of Timothée Chalamet as Elio in “Call Me By Your Name” (2017)

Timothée as Elio in “Call Me By Your Name”. CREDIT: Frenesy Film Company

 

The specific films Timothée has starred in may also play a part in the love for Regulus Black. It’s mentioned above that editors use clips from films such as Little Woman to create Regulus edits. The value of these films goes a bit deeper than that. The main films used are Little Woman, Dune, Call Me By Your Name, The King, and Beautiful Boy. Each of these movies offer editors and fans something different. Dune and The King offer a serious-looking, rebel-fighter Regulus.

 

A still of Timothée Chalamet in “Dune”

Timothée as Paul in “Dune”. CREDIT: Warner Bros.

 

Little Woman and Call Me By Your Name, however, provide content for a different kind of Regulus. A sweet, still innocent, Regulus comes alive through these films. Fans can see him as a character who was once happy, once friendly, once just a boy. Regulus before the curse of the Black family. It’s Beautiful Boy, though, that most adopts the feelings of sympathy, sorrow, and compassion that many feel for Regulus and his story. Clips from that film show him to fans as the forgotten little brother, as the young boy in an abusive household, struggling as the new Black heir when Sirius leaves, conflicted, alone, and hating himself. Those edits are often heart-wrenching. In that context, and with Timothée’s acting, you can’t help but feel for the boy in the edits, and these edits are always of Regulus.

 

A still of Timothée Chalamet in “Beautiful Boy”

Timothée as Nic in “Beautiful Boy”. CREDIT: Plan B Entertainment

 

Regulus is a fascinating character with a heart-breaking story. He deserves the kind of attention he’s been receiving of late, and he deserves the empathy and tenderness he’s been afforded. It is not unfounded to argue that Timothée has added to this; his acting ability, the range of characters he’s played, and the general public love for him all come together to cast a certain rose-tinted spotlight onto Regulus. Talented editors and writers do the rest, making Regulus Black a force to be reckoned with.

Talitha Stowell

If you met me at age 13 I would’ve been reading Harry Potter fanfiction and arguing with absolute fervour that Harry should have been MORE angsty in Order of the Phoenix. And at age 17. And apparently age 21.