Let’s face it: any actor that has ever been in a Harry Potter film will be forever associated with the franchise. Most have gone on to do other projects, but it often feels impossible to separate them from the wizarding world.
However, even as irreplaceable as the Harry Potter cast feels, there are undeniably performances that felt underwhelming, as well as some that feel especially iconic.
It’s likely that a Harry Potter reboot is never going to happen (at least not for a very long time), but it’s always fun to envision what the series could possibly look like with some fresh faces in place. So, here are three Harry Potter characters I’d recast and three that shouldn’t even be in consideration for a recast.
Recast: Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright)
Of all the Harry Potter characters whose on-screen adaptations proved to be a major disappointment, Ginny is at the top of the list. No disrespect to Wright, as writing played a massive role in this failed portrayal.
In the Harry Potter books, Ginny is witty, fiery and fierce – a fitting personality for the youngest Weasley child who doubles as the family’s only daughter. Ginny plays right along with her brother’s schemes and possesses a sense of humor that easily matches theirs. She’s not afraid to challenge those around her, but also won’t hesitate to stand up for her loved ones at all costs. Oh, and she’s AMAZING at Quidditch.
That’s exactly why Ginny’s lackluster, almost nonexistent on-screen translation is so disheartening. Wright’s portrayal of the youngest Weasley lacks all of the wit and fire that made book Ginny so lovable – and such an unforgettable piece of Harry’s story. It’s almost as if the series’ filmmakers would forget that Ginny existed and hastily write her into the plot whenever they finally remembered.
Again, the blame can’t really be placed on Wright. However, it would be refreshing to see a completely new take on Ginny’s character that remains faithful to her fiery spirit.
Never Change: Hermione Granger (Emma Watson)
This is probably the most obvious character to make this list. Watson was pretty much perfect as the bossy, wildly intelligent and kind-hearted heroine of the series.
What makes Watson’s portrayal all the more special is how quickly viewers are able to recognize that there couldn’t have been a better casting choice for Hermione. From the moment a young Hermione sits down in Harry and Ron’s train cabin and schools them with her advanced magic skills, Watson solidifies herself as a centerpiece of the series.
Watson absolutely sticks the landing in capturing Hermione’s charming bossiness and unwavering courage. It’s impossible to even entertain the thought of anyone else stepping into the role.
Recast: Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon)
Could this possibly have something to do with Gambon’s botched “DID YOU PUT YOUR NAME IN THE GOBLETOFFIRE?” line? Yes, but only because that line is a small representation of a much larger problem with Dumbledore’s on-screen adaptation.
In the books, Dumbledore is much calmer and more eccentric than his movie counterpart. His wisdom shines through more clearly, and he is more likened to a stern but gentle father figure to Harry and the other students at Hogwarts.
Movie Dumbledore, on the other hand, is stricter and more aggressive (understand the much larger problem that that botched line represents now?) It’s harder to get an understanding of Dumbledore’s calming, fatherly presence through Gambon’s misguided portrayal.
It’s important to note that Gambon only portrayed Dumbledore for three of the seven films, as Richard Harris brought the beloved character to life in the first two before his passing.
Harris’s portrayal of Dumbledore was undeniably more gentle than Gambon’s, and ultimately far more accurate. It’s a shame that we never got to see how Harris’s adaptation worked as the series progressed and its films got darker and more mature.
Never Change: Sirius Black (Gary Oldman)
There are exactly two characters who deserve the title of best character in the Harry Potter series, and their names are Remus Lupin and Sirius Black.
(Just kidding. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But that particular opinion is one that belongs to people with taste.)
David Thewlis was my honorable mention for making it on the “Never Change” list for his portrayal of Lupin (right next to the queen Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall).
However, Oldman got the victory in the end, and rightfully so.
Oldman has exactly the kind of comforting presence on screen that was needed to seamlessly bring Sirius to life in movie form. He has a subtle way of showing viewers Sirirus’s kind-hearted and gentle but passionate nature. It’s hard to not feel completely captivated by Harry’s beloved godfather every time Oldman sets foot on screen.
Of course, by making it easy to adore Sirirus on the big screen, Oldman made Sirirus’s death resonate with viewers in all the ways it should have. I’m crying just typing this.
There’s no way on earth that Sirius deserved to be recast. However, I would accept another, younger portrayal of my all-time favorite Harry Potter character if a Marauders movie ever happened.
Recast: Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe)
Put your pitchforks down, please. I’m going to explain my reasoning behind this hottest of hot takes (or coldest of cold takes, depending on what side of this issue you’re on).
I like Daniel Radcliffe. I think his portrayal of Harry was fine. I’ll admit, it would be bizarre to see anyone but Radcliffe in the series’ titular role. However, I think the on-screen adaptation of Harry was flat and could have been more than what it was.
This is likely a scenario similar to Ginny, where the writing played a significant role in the character’s problems.
It’s hard not to note, though, that Radcliffe didn’t always give viewers the snarky, expressive Harry that existed in the books. Movie Harry feels a little too stiff and stoic in comparison to the Harry that, for example, looked Snape in the eyes and told him that his nickname was Roonil Wazlib.
Of course, some of Harry’s best lines were left out of the movies, which is not Radcliffe’s fault, but it’s a little difficult to imagine Radcliffe’s Harry delivering a line like, “There’s no need to call me ‘sir,’ Professor,” in a way that sticks the landing with audiences.
So again, Radcliffe was fine, but I can’t help but wonder what a snarkier, less stoic portrayal of Harry would have looked like on the big screen.
Never Change: Severus Snape (Alan Rickman)
You knew this one would be on here. There’s no way it wasn’t going to be on here. I don’t even think I need to explain it, but for the one person out there who may not understand why this entry made it to the top of the “Never Change” list, I’ll explain.
Rickman gave the best on-screen adaptation of any Harry Potter character. Period.
Snape is arguably the most complex character in the entire series. There are so many reasons to hate him, but somehow so many reasons to love him at the same time. He’s dark and brooding, but there’s also something oddly comforting about his presence. Rickman manages to capture all of those sentiments perfectly.
It’s difficult not to feel intimidated by Rickman’s adaptation of Snape every time the character sets foot on screen. At the same time, though, you don’t want him to leave. Rickman’s entire performance is captivating to the point where one could justifiably put him alone in a movie, and he would be able to carry the entire movie by himself.
Rickman makes the payoff worth it in the end, too, when Snape meets his demise. There have been plenty of gut-wrenching deaths throughout the series. Cedric Diggory’s hurt. Dumbledore’s was undeniably powerful. Don’t even get me started on Fred Weasley. Snape’s, though, remains the most memorable and impactful of the films, and all the credit lies with Rickman.If you need any more proof of Rickman’s long-lasting impact on the series, just look at the way the world responded to his passing in 2016.
Do you agree with our casting choices? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @Filmnetic