Braylyn Bruno | staff writer
It’s hard to believe, but Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint have been gracing the big screen as Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley for over 20 years. In celebration of the Harry Potter franchise’s first film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the cast reunited for a behind-the-scenes look at the production of all eight films.
Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts premiered exclusively on HBO Max starting Jan. 1. The special is almost two hours long, and provides fans with cast interviews and never-before-seen footage from the movies.
Fans will be excited to hear that many cast members re-appear for the special. Including, Tom Felton, Helena Bonham Carter, Matthew Lewis, Robbie Coltrane, Evanna Lynch, Bonnie Wright and more.
One of the most interesting components of the special is the way co-stars speak about one another. Not only do the interviews allow the audience to hear about the relationships off-camera, but they also give insight on how people were both similar and different from the characters they were playing.
Radcliffe, Watson and Grint compare themselves to their characters quite a bit during the interviews. Watson was referred to as the smartest person on set, similar to how the character Hermione showcased her intelligence. Watson herself spoke about Grint and Radcliffe, and how in her opinion, they are the embodiment of Ron and Harry.
However, the franchise also features many evil characters, and the actors who played these characters are fondly spoken about. Some of the most hated characters were Lucius Malfoy and his son Draco Malfoy, played by Jason Isaacs and Felton, respectively.
While the relationship between these two in the movies was cold and lacking love, it seems the actors turned on their hatred for the camera. Interviews about scenes between the two portray Felton as a sweet little boy and Isaacs as an adult who cared about the boy in front of him.
The cast reflections illuminate the love everyone on the set truly has for one another.
Not only this, but the audience is shown another side of many of the characters they have admired for years. Fans witness joking, fun, new information and the extra insight needed regarding the relationships on set.
Watching the reunion shows fans how the series written by J. K. Rowling was brought to life. Much of this process was creating a friendly environment on set, which set the tone for all eight movies.
Although the Harry Potter movies began as films for children and featured children as the main characters, the movies are very much a coming-of-age series. Fans watched as their favorite characters grew up in front of them, and this growth was evident in the evolution of movies.
While the changing voices are an obvious indicator of the transition from kid to teenager to adulthood, the content is what speaks volumes.
All teenagers experience hormonal changes, and the Harry Potter cast is no exception. The cast spoke about their personal experiences, but also how the movies took this time in their lives and brought it to the big screen.
Dating, dances, kissing and more appear in later films – something no one needed or wanted when the characters were still considered children. But as the characters grew up, so did the fans, and the fans wanted to see the movies convey this transition to more mature topics.
The true coming-of-age moment was when Cedric Diggory died in the fourth film. It was in this moment that the audience saw the characters realize they had something worth fighting for. This HBO Max special heavily emphasizes the meaning behind each stage in the films and brings up the importance of these moments.
Although the reunion is something all Harry Potter fans can celebrate and enjoy watching, there were several people missing. Unfortunately, the loss of cast members Richard Harris, Richard Griffiths, Helen McCrory, Alan Rickman and others left a void during the reunion. The cast members who are unable to be there were severely missed; however, they are still included in a touching remembrance and clips from the films.
Footage from shooting the movies featuring all the cast captures the essence for fans who love the Harry Potter franchise. Potterheads who have been waiting for a reunion have finally been granted their wish, and it does not disappoint. The Harry Potter reunion is the perfect way to start the new year and is bound to bring joy to fans around the world.