The Harry Potter series has captivated the imagination of its audience for nearly twenty years now. It seems that ending the original series of novels was not enough to kill interest in the franchise, as the Potter fanbase is still so active that Warner Bros. is making some new prequel films just to satiate the appetite of those who want more magic in their lives.
If there is one thing we love here at Screen Rant, it’s discussing Harry Potter– from fan theories to intriguing facts about the series, and even what the cast of the movies is getting up to these days. The series has so much depth that we could talk forever about the intricacies of the magical world of Harry Potter.
Today, we are here to delve into the things that could have happened differently. Both J.K. Rowling and the makers of the films have been very open about how they almost went in a different direction at major points in the story. From deeper insight into Draco Malfoy to the King of Pop’s unique vision for the series, here are the 15 lost Harry Potter stories that almost happened.
15. Nintendo’s Harry Potter
Before Warner Bros. secured the adaptation rights for the Harry Potter franchise in 1999, several different media entities (including Disney and Universal) were fighting to acquire the license. One company that met with J.K. Rowling in order to pitch for the rights was, surprisingly, Nintendo.
Within the space of a few weeks, Nintendo employees were tasked with creating character designs and basic tech demos for Harry Potter games on the Nintendo 64 and Game Boy Advance. While most of the designs have not been released by Nintendo, we do know that they had wanted Harry Potter & Co to resemble manga characters rather than the traditional illustrations seen in the books.
The reason J.K. Rowling refused the offer was due to the fact that Nintendo was only offering games, whilst all of the other companies offered film and television adaptations (as well as video games). Had she approved this deal, then there would likely never have been any Harry Potter films, and the Nintendo exclusive games we got would have more closely resembled a Japanese anime.
14. The Death Of Arthur Weasley
During the events of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Arthur Weasley (the father of Ron) is attacked by the poisonous snake Nagini. He only survives the encounter due to Harry having a vision of the attack and alerting Dumbledore in time. This was not always meant to be the case…
After the release of the final novel in the series, J.K. Rowling stated in an interview that she had originally intended to kill off Arthur Weasley, but had changed her mind at the last moment due to him being one of the only good parents in the series. There was a long-running theme of Harry’s parental figures dying and leaving him to fend for himself. This includes his parents, Sirius Black and Albus Dumbledore. Due to the Weasley clan taking Harry in and acting like the family he never had, they too would have suffered a grievous loss when the father of the family perished.
Due to Arthur being spared, J.K. Rowling decided that the characters of Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks were to be killed in his place during the climactic battle of the last book– a decision that would leave Lupin and Tonks’s infant son an orphan.
13. Potter Island
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (also known as Sorcerer’s Stone in America) went through numerous drafts before J.K. Rowling was satisfied. One of the most changed segments of the book was the all-important opening scene of the series.
In the published version, the book opens with Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall leaving the baby Harry Potter on his aunt and uncle’s doorstep, while they fill the reader in on current events through their dialogue (such as the death of Harry’s parents and the defeat of Voldemort).
The original draft of the book opened in a most peculiar way. Originally, Harry’s parents were living on a secluded island off the coast of England. On the fateful night that Harry’s parents are killed, an explosion on the island is witnessed by a sailor. This sailor investigates the explosion and finds the baby Harry all alone in the ruins of his home.
So who is this mystery sailor? He was originally meant to be Hermione’s father, who just happened to be a sailor who lived a few miles away from the island that the Potter’s were hiding on.
12. The Magical Dursley
During Harry’s first chapter of the final book, the Dursleys are forced to flee from their home due to fear of Voldemort’s followers finding and torturing them for information on Harry’s whereabouts. Before they depart for the last time, Harry’s cousin Dudley gives him an emotional send-off; an act that shows that he has outgrown his abusive ways.
After the series had ended, J.K. Rowling revealed that Harry and Dudley had made amends and still saw each other from time to time. At one point, Rowling had even thought to include Dudley in the climactic scene of the series.
The ending of of the final book shows Harry escorting his youngest son, Albus, to King’s Cross Station so that he would board the train for his first year at Hogwarts. J.K. Rowling had originally decided that Dudley would have a young witch or wizard for a child and would also be escorting them on the same day.
11. The Chamber Of The Half-Blood Prince
During the creation of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (the 2nd book in the series), it was originally called Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, a name that would later go on to become the title of the sixth book in the series.
In this earlier version of the story, many plot elements from the sixth book were originally to be introduced as part of the Chamber of Secrets storyline. The story elements that were first revealed in Half-Blood Prince (the Horcruxes, the textbook with the notes written by the Prince) were going to be separate parts of the story that also included the Basilisk and the Chamber itself. As development of the book continued, J.K. Rowling decided that the Half-Blood Prince storyline belonged later in the series, and its elements were removed from the novel.
Had the second book remained as Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, it is likely that a lot of the major plot points and key mysteries of the series (mainly the secret behind Voldemort’s immortality) would have been revealed far too early. This would have made the surprise of his eventual return in Goblet of Fire a lot less effective.
10. The Death Of Dean’s Dad
One of the recurring background characters who appear in the series is Dean Thomas. He is a fellow Gryffindor student in Harry’s circle of friends during his time at Hogwarts. Despite being mentioned many times in the text, Dean did little of importance in the story– outside of being Ginny Weasley’s overbearing boyfriend.
This was not always meant to be the case, however. Dean was meant to be a major character at one point during the development of the first two novels.
Originally, Dean Thomas came from a muggle-born family and was unaware of his magical heritage. He spent his whole life believing that his father had walked out on the family when he was a baby. Throughout the events of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Dean would discover that his father was a wizard who was slain by the Death Eaters when he refused to join them. Dean’s father hid the truth of his heritage in order to protect the family.
9. Hermione Meets Her Match
It is stated several times throughout the series that Hermione Granger is the brightest witch of her age. She is usually the first to know the answer to any question given by the Hogwarts teachers. In terms of knowledge, Hermione was unequalled throughout the school.
This was not always meant to be the case however, as during the development of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Hermione was meant to have an intellectual rival.
A new girl named Mafalda was going to be sorted into Slytherin in the fourth novel and she would have be Hermione’s match in terms of magical knowledge. If anything, Mafalda had even more information than Hermione due to her being a Slytherin. She was originally intended to act as exposition concerning the Death Eaters. What made her even worse was the fact that she was going to be a distant cousin of Ron– Hermione’s love interest.
8. The Lost Peeves Scene
Since the release of the first Harry Potter movie in 2001, there have been numerous home releases of the film series across several mediums. While some of these versions contained deleted and extended scenes, it is known among the fanbase that a lot more material has yet to see the light of day. The most intriguing of these lost scenes involves a famous British comedy actor named Rik Mayall, who had played the role of the recurring character, Peeves the Poltergeist, in the first movie.
Rik Mayall, best known for his role as Fred in Drop Dead Fred, once discussed the lost scenes during an interview. His performance as Peeves was so funny that the kids who were sharing the scene with him kept laughing. After attempting the scenes with his back to the kids, who still laughed, and finally without the kids present at all, the scenes were finished. A few weeks later, Rik found out that he was cut from the movie without explanation.
The best case scenario for this lost footage is that it is being saved for some special edition further down the road. The fans have no been so patient, however, and have petitioned Warner Bros. for the release of the lost scenes.
7. Voldemort’s Fancy Man
In the earlier drafts of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, a character existed who never made it into the final series. His name was Pyrites (a term meaning “fool’s gold”, referring to a metal that resembles gold) and he was the first servant of Voldemort that we were meant to see in the series.
Pyrites is described as a finely dressed man and a “dandy”, who wore white silk gloves that would be stained with blood upon his master’s orders. In retrospect, having a fancy butler among the Death Eaters may have lowered their street cred a little.
The most peculiar clue we have about Pyrites was his intention to meet Sirius Black outside of the Potter home on the day they were killed. Was he an earlier version of Peter Pettigrew? Was Sirius originally intended to be the one who betrayed the Potters, as everyone believed in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban? It seems we will never know.
6. The Owner Of Sirius The Dog
At the end of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Sirius Black is freed from his imprisonment and escapes from Hogwarts on the back of the Hippogriff Buckbeak. The next time we hear from him in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, he had been hiding in a cave somewhere in the tropics. Harry guesses this due to Sirius sending him tropical birds with letters in lieu of the usual owls that are used as a postal service.
In the original draft of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Sirius was intended to be a lot closer to home than a tropical island.
J.K. Rowling originally created a character named Mopsy, who was a witch that lived on the edge of Hogsmeade (the town near Hogwarts). Mopsy was going to be the Harry Potter equivalent of a crazy dog lady and be the owner of numerous hounds. Sirius was originally going to be one of the those dogs (hiding in his Animagus form), allowing him to remain close to Harry while hiding under the Ministry of Magic’s nose.
5. Aunt Petunia’s Goodbye
The last time we see Aunt Petunia in the novels is when Dudley gives his genuine farewell to his long suffering cousin. Petunia seems to be on the verge of doing something similar. For one brief moment, it seems like she is going to say goodbye and admit her guilt over Harry’s treatment for all of those years. In the end, she says nothing and leaves without a word.
The fans had hoped for one final moment of redemption for Petunia, where she would finally make amends with Harry. J.K. Rowling mentioned on Pottermore that an act of compassion was out of character for Petunia, and that the years of jealousy toward both Harry and his mother Lily were too much for her to overcome.
The first part of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows film adaptions originally intended to give Petunia a decent send-off. In a deleted scene, we see her and Harry together in their empty home as they say goodbye for the last time. In this version of the story, Petunia shows sadness at the loss of her sister Lily for the first time, revealing a compassionate side to her that, sadly, never made it into the novels.
4. The Lost Draco Chapter
With a few exceptions, the vast majority of the chapters in the Harry Potter books were focused on Harry. While we did occasionally see things from the perspective of other characters, such as Narcissa Malfoy or the Muggle Prime Minister, the series mostly stayed with the protagonist.
One thing we never saw in the series was a chapter that focused on a Hogwarts student other than Harry (at least until Harry Potter and the Cursed Child anyway). Everything we known about Harry’s friends and rivals within the school comes from Harry’s perspective.
At several points throughout the series, J.K. Rowling had intended to include a chapter that focused on Draco Malfoy. This would have been an opportunity to show his home life (especially how it differed from Harry’s) and his relationship with people outside of the school setting. A minor character from the books named Theodore Nott would have had a large role in this chapter. Nott was the son of one of the Death Eaters – meaning we would see Draco having to interact with someone of equal social standing. This chapter would have given the reader an insight into how Harry and Dumbledore were viewed from the side of the enemy.
3. The Fate of Florean Fortescue
After the Dark Lord returns in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the Daily Prophet newspaper is filled with stories of witches and wizards who have gone missing. It was during the events of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince that a wizard named Florean Fortescue was dragged away by the Death Eaters, never to be heard from again.
Florean Fortescue was the owner of an ice cream parlor in Diagon Alley. It was never implied that he had any relevance to the story other than serving desserts for the kids who are picking up their gear for Hogwarts. At one point during the story’s development however, Florean had a much bigger role to play.
J.K. Rowling has discussed Florean in interviews and on Pottermore. It was originally planned for the Fortescue family to be closely related to Ravenclaw’s Diadem and the Elder Wand. At one point, Harry and his friends would rescue Florean and receive important information from him. Over time, Florean’s dialogue was given to Ollivander and the Grey Lady. In the end, Florean was killed simply for knowing too much.
2. Draco’s Redemption
During the climactic battle of the final novel, Draco Malfoy is not present, due to his having been knocked unconscious. In the movie version, Draco shares the most awkward hug in the world with Voldemort and joins his family among the Dark Lord’s supporters. They eventually flee from the battle and leave Hogwarts together, as a family.
A deleted scene from the final movie would have given Draco one truly heroic move in the franchise. After seeing that Harry is still alive and that the battle against evil can still be won – Draco breaks off from Voldemort’s army and throws his wand to Harry. This move allows Harry to fight on even terms with Voldemort and as we learn later- using Draco’s wand is instrumental in the defeat of the Dark Lord.
While Draco has something of a redemption arc in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, he never had one in the original series (outside of being on cordial terms with Harry during the epilogue). This scene in the movie would have finally given Draco a heroic act and showed that he had turned his back on his twisted upbringing.
1. Michael Jackson’s Harry Potter
Since the release of the first Harry Potter novel in 1997, the series has been adapted into nearly every medium available. From the blockbuster movies to the numerous video game adaptations that go as far back as the Game Boy Color, the audience has experienced Harry Potter in many different ways.
With the show making its way to the stage, there exists one major medium in which Harry Potter has yet to venture – the music world. That is at least if you don’t count the excellent (but unofficial) A Very Potter Musical.
At one point, however, we were denied something that could have been incredible. J.K. Rowling told Oprah Winfrey during an interview that Michael Jackson had asked for the rights to create a Harry Potter musical – an offer which she refused. Mrs Rowling’s only reasoning being that she felt the musical would lack “credibility”.
While the chances of a Michael Jackson-produced Harry Potter musical actually being made were slim (he still would have needed permission from Warner Bros) – one can only wonder at the potentially amazing… or disastrous end product that may have been made by these two giants of the entertainment world colliding.