The movie version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone came out twenty years ago, and the cast just had their first reunion to celebrate.
In honor of the 20th anniversary of the film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Warner Bros. released Return to Hogwarts, a documentary-style reunion of Harry Potter’s cast and directors, on January 1st.
The reunion opens with the actors receiving invitations to the event, which resemble the Hogwarts acceptance letters the characters receive in the first film. As the actors board the Hogwarts train and make their way to the school, references from the wizarding world such as The Daily Prophet and Platform 9 ¾ fill the frame. The cast arrives at Hogwarts and gathers in the Great Hall, which is filled with candles, chandeliers, and ballroom dancers.
The actors that attended the reunion included Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange), Robbie Coltrane (Rubeus Hagrid), Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort), Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy), Gary Oldman (Sirius Black), Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), James Phelps (Fred Weasley), Oliver Phelps (George Weasley), Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley), Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley), Alfred Enoch (Dean Thomas), Ian Hart (Professor Quirrell), Toby Jones (Dobby), Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood). Additionally, producer David Heyman, directors Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuarón, Mike Newell, and David Yates attended the reunion.
Harry Potter’s actors and directors spend the rest of the reunion in small groups, discussing their experience when filming the series. The groups gather on sets similar to the ones used in the films, such as the Great Hall, Gringotts, and the potions classroom in the school’s dungeons. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint speak in the Gryffindor common room. It is bizarre to see the actors inside of Hogwarts when out of character, but the sets help bring a sense of familiarity, timelessness, and magic to the reunion.
The cast reminisce on what it was like to grow up on the set, and their friendships with the older actors. “The adult actors came in and were the mischief in a funny way,” Emma Watson says. And of course, these were adults who had years of experience in the acting world. “I don’t think any of the kids had the capability of understanding the gravity of who they were dealing with at the time… the British royalty of the acting world,” explains the director, Chris Columbus. However, many of those actors that the younger part of the cast looked up to had passed away within the twenty years. Richard Harris (Albus Dumbledore), Richard Griffiths (Vernon Dursley), Helen McCrory (Narcissa Malfoy), and Alan Rickman (Severus Snape) were four of the twenty-eight. “They’re like family. You can grieve in the same way,” said Rupert Grint.
The reunion ends with the cast explaining the legacy the wizarding world will continue to leave behind. “You could be watching [Harry Potter] in 50 years time, easy. I’ll not be here, sadly, but Hagrid will,” says Robbie Coltrane. “Most of the fans that come up and say hello to me now weren’t even born when we made the films, so it quickly makes you feel slightly older and very grateful that it’s been passed down to other generations,” explains Tom Felton, and it doesn’t look like Harry Potter’s fanbase is going anywhere anytime soon.
Hogwarts Legacy, a video game based off of the series, is set to release in 2022. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, is also releasing this year. But until then, if you’re a Potterhead and looking for something to do other than read fanfiction or reread/rewatch the series, this reunion is for you.