HBO Max kicked off 2022 with the reunion of the “Harry Potter” cast on their streaming platform. The nearly two-hour show brought back many actors, including the main trio: Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Ruper Grint (Ron Weasely) and Emma Watson (Hermione Granger). Cast and crew members shared their experiences working on the eight films.
The reunion special was split into chunks focusing on two movies at once. The discussions were mainly Radcliffe and another person who had primary ties to these films. Radcliffe spoke to the director, Chris Columbus, about “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”. There were also segments of the trio talking together, Grint and Watson and Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) with Watson.
Fans of the movies were quick to notice who wasn’t on the reunion show. Maggie Smith (Professor Minerva McGonagall), Michael Gambon (Albus Dumbledore), Julie Walters (Molly Weasely) and Robert Pattinson (Cedric Diggory) were among the few who did not appear in the special. Part of the lack of appearances may be due to COVID-19 as they were unable to travel to filming locations. Others were working on other projects and just couldn’t make it to the shoot. Moreover, some were already retired and chose not to come. There were tributes to those who died over the 20 years.
A conspicuous absence from the meeting was JK Rowling, the author of the “Harry Potter” books. Rowling was only present in the form of filmed interviews in 2019. The reason for this most likely has to do with Rowling’s recent Twitter posts regarding the transgender community. HBO Max invited Rowling to attend, but her team decided that archived interviews would suffice.
Some secrets were shared between the cast members as they talked about their experiences. Watson and Felton shared their mutual love on set. Watson also admitted to Grint that she wanted to quit her role at some point. Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange) read a note Radcliffe gave her. My favorite was Columbus discussing how Richard Harris (Albus Dumbledore) believed Fawkes the Phoenix was a real bird.
I believe the special reunion was what it was meant to be: a meeting with the cast members and a discussion about the filming of the eight films. Personally, I expected the actors to only talk about the first film. Seeing them talk about all the movies was surprising. The only downside was that there wasn’t a lot of time spent on each movie. I would have preferred that they stuck with the first film and potentially lead to other reunions for the other films. Of course, that would mean spending more money filming and producing the other reunion specials. Although, it would give actors who couldn’t attend the reunion special the opportunity to potentially appear.
Some fans of the franchise believe the reunion special was all about “renaming” “Harry Potter.” Due to Rowling’s comments, some believe those who love the franchise are trying to claim “Harry Potter” as “for the fans” rather than “for the author”. Removing Rowling’s franchise removes her beliefs and comments and allows everyone to enjoy the franchise.
“Back to Hogwarts” was a great way to reminisce about the movies and the books. It brought the audience back to the world of “Harry Potter”. I think some of the information revealed by the cast that hardcore fans would have known by now. However, it’s great to revisit the cast of characters we grew up with and talk about their experiences. Personally, I can’t wait to see what these actors do next with their careers.