Four quick years have almost passed us by since the final instalment of the Harry Potter film series and even the most die-hard fans must be getting used to a life after Harry Potter by now.
We’ve had time to reflect, to watch the films (time and time) again and see the world’s most famous wizards take on new roles in their acting careers (sort of). So what’s the real legacy left to us from the second biggest movie franchise in history – the films themselves, the fan base or something else entirely?
Looking back at the best and worst of the Harry Potter films
It’s fair to say the films weren’t without their highs and lows (much like the books you could argue) and now the hype has died down a little we can afford to be a little more objective about things. You don’t have to go far to find lists ranking the films in order of quality, that’s for sure, and it seems just about every fan has got a strong opinion about it.
Naturally, personal taste plays a large role, but after reading three pages of Google results there are some patterns to be spotted. Both Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 2 take the top spots in an overwhelming majority, while Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone dominates last place on almost every list.
So what makes a good Harry Potter film?
Let’s be fair to the first film in the series, because it’s difficult for a director to transform a novel that basically serves as an introduction to a bunch or characters and a fairly disambiguous world. Fans want to see a visual representation of what they read in the book and this is pretty much all the film does—one of its main weaknesses. And then we have a group of young actors taking to the biggest of screens for the first time, which comes with some inevitably awkward dialogue and touches of overacting.
Fast-forward to the final film and things are very different. The series’ fourth director, David Yates, has enjoyed more freedom to develop characters and highlight parts of the books he wants to explore the most. And, of course, we now have a matured bunch of actors at the height of their Harry Potter game, combined with special effects the first film could only have dreamt of back in 2001.
The legacy four years later
So what legacy has the second biggest film franchise in history left behind? More than most it turns out and, while its huge fanbase is probably the most important, there’s a lot more to the story of life after Harry Potter.
The studio tour outside London is something unique in itself, still attracting hoards of fans every year. While most sets, props and other mementoes are sold off to the highest bidder after production, a group of crew and cast members from the Harry Potter films decided the franchise should live on, in the form of a walking tour through the studios, where all the magic happened.
A craving for fantasy series that all started with the Harry Potter films and swiftly followed by The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Nearly 15 years later and we have The Hunger Games books produced into future-retro film adaptations and the likes of Game of Thrones among the biggest shows on TV.
An ever-growing Potterverse which is moving into the next stage of its life with the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them trilogy soon to start filming. Add this to the popular Warner Bros. tour, film locations scattered across the UK – plus the related works of J. K. Rowling – and you have yourself a Potterverse that only continues to grow.
So it turns out life after Harry Potter isn’t all that different from when the boy wizard was firmly in the spotlight. The films are always there for rainy days or lazy weekends and we have a new trilogy on its way, which will surely keep the fan base and legacy alive for a while to come yet.