It’s now been 20 years since the first Harry Potter film launched one of the most successful and frankly lucrative franchises and Return to Hogwarts has the three main actors – Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint – reunited. This two hour special has a sincerity about it even if it does become a little bit sickly sweet as the three look back over the eight films. With the elaborate sets recreated for the actors to wander through and recall memories of how scenes were shot. Many of the recollections in the special are well known including:
- Director Alfonso Cuaron (Prisoner of Azkaban) made the three write an essay about their characters
- That by the end the three felt like siblings making Radcliffe and Watson feel very awkward in their screen kiss describing it as ‘the most horrifying thing either of us had to go through’.
- How the practical effects in the earlier films gave way to green screen CGI
- Radcliffe reunites with director of the first film Chris Columbus and who had a big say in the casting of the then young actor in the role that would change his life
- Grint has a moment where he only just manages to contain his tears as he recalls how much Radcliffe and Watson mean to him.
- Radcliffe recalling how ‘foundational’ it was to his development as he became an adult – hardly surprising when the franchise saw him catapulted on to The Times UK Rich List of people under 30
- Watson recalls the realisation of just how famous she had become after Order of the Phoenix and feeling isolated and alone.
The most obvious person missing from the Return to Hogwarts is of course author JK Rowling who only appears in clips from a 2019 interview before she courted controversy about the trans community which instigated all three main actors to issue their own statement supporting trans people.
But for fans of the franchise who will now be adults there’s much enjoyment to be had here which will instigate audiences own warm memories of Potter mania.
Harry Potter 20th Anniversary : Return to Hogwarts premiers in 1st January 2022 on HBO Max