Harry Potter 20th anniversary


Photo Courtesy of Tavie Valdez

Erielle Ocampo, Opinion Editor

The Harry Potter movies that took the world by storm, a whole new universe created from a fandom who saw magic in its beauty. On January 1, 2022, HBO Max released “Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts.” This documentary includes exclusive behind-the-scenes footage with the original cast of the hit series all coming back to tell their story of what it’s like to be able to turn fiction into a reality. 

The anniversary special is divided up into chapters. Each of these chapters highlights an important part of the casts’ lives like casting, working on set, and life after the films. The cast being brought back together gives the Harry Potter fandom a time to reminisce on the decade spent creating this world.

“I became completely gripped by the excitement around this audition,” said Emma Watson in the anniversary special, “I always knew that I was going for Hermione, in a way that terrified my parents.”

Most of the cast were still children when the first film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s stone was being created. Finding the perfect cast to play each and every character was a simple task until they got to finding who will play the main character, Harry Potter. 

“It’s never going to happen,” said the casting directors, “His parents do not want him involved in this world. They don’t want him to take this role.” 

But that didn’t stop film producer, David Heyman, from getting Radcliffe this role. He snuck into the movie theatres and convinced his father to bring Radcliffe in for an audition. And that’s where it all started. 

The trio 20 years later. 

“I do remember that when it was the three of us, something felt different… right,” said Watson, “I do remember the click.” 

The Golden trio, Emma Watson, plays Hermione Granger. Rubert Grint, who plays Ron Weasley, and Daniel Radcliffe, who plays the infamous Harry Potter, are all gathered back in the Gryffindor common room to reminisce on their childhood spent together. When asked how it felt like to be back talking about the films, the golden trio had many heartfelt words to share with the audience. 

“A. Really emotional, obviously,” said Watson, “B. It feels like no time has passed and loads of time has passed simultaneously.” 

“This is surreal, isn’t it? It doesn’t feel like we’ve kind of earned a reunion yet,” said Rupert Grint. 

“There is such a collection of shared memories and stuff that we just all did together, that it is immediately very easy to sort of slip back into where you were,” said Daniel Radcliffe. 

The way the cast described their experience was very loving. Not one cast member regrets the time and energy that was spent on making this series happen. They created lifelong friendships with one another. Even in other movie roles, having a kid, and growing into adulthood, they were still able to laugh like old times. 

Actually creating the Wizarding World

“I was always adamant that Hogwarts shouldn’t feel as if it’s a world that couldn’t exist in reality,” said Chris Columbus, the director of the first Potter films. 

The creation of this reality was pure art. Not only do you see the beauty in the films but also in the merchandise and The Harry Potter World at Universal Studios. The replication of the Hogwarts school and the Gringotts bank as well as Diagon alley surely amazed many fans. People come from all over to experience the wizarding world. They have the delicacies you see the students buy while on the train as well as the classic butterbeer. But what truly captures the whole experience is being able to buy and pick out a wand. You can stop by Ollivanders in Diagon Alley and choose a wand that can interact around the amusement park or you can choose a wand from your favorite characters. 

Unbreakable bonding 

It’s no surprise that the cast created bonds with each other that were strong and caring. After a decade of filming, every single cast member got to grow up with one another. The families, friendships, etc. were not far from fake. Many of the cast found it easier to act when they created a connection with one another. 

“I always loved any scene where the Weasleys were together,” said Grint, “It just had this frenetic energy. Everyone kind of played off each other.” 

The Weasleys were an essential part of the story. We see this amazing contrast between different characters. The funny twins, the clever sister, the courageous brother, and the protective parents. The audience was able to see how this family truly saw the good in everyone and took Harry in as one of their own. 

The 20th anniversary was truly one of the most intriguing and heartwarming documentaries I’ve watched. You don’t see the cast come together often so this was truly a great surprise. We got to learn more about the behind the scenes as well as secrets between the cast members!