The Harry Potter series is one of the most visually stunning film series ever made. The films brought J.K. Rowling's intricate fantasy world to life on screen. The Harry Potter films are designed in a way to take fans away from reality to the wizarding world that lives in secret alongside the muggle world.
From the lavish medieval design of Hogwarts to the dark iconography of Voldemort and his followers, the wizarding world of the films painted a picture of something both nostalgic and unfamiliar. The films introduced fans to the faces of beloved character and the now-familiar appearances of creatures like house elves, Dementors, and hippogriffs.
However, the magical world did not always look like the finished designs from the movies. Concept artists worked with a range of ideas for the look of various facets of the movies, from Death Eaters to Dementors. They drew up unused designs for familiar film characters and characters that never made it into the movies. These artists even worked on designs for entire scenes that viewers never saw in the films.
These concept art designs reveal a much darker and more terrifying picture of the Harry Potter movies and show the potential for emotionally heavy moments that never made it on screen.
Here are the 20 Harry Potter Concept Art Designs Better Than What We Got.
20 The Death Eaters
The Death Eaters, Voldemort's band of fanatic followers, made terrifying antagonists in the various visually menacing designs used in the films. Death Eaters adorned several costumes, from a Ku Klux Klan type of pointed hood to dark cloaks with bone masks to full-face skull-inspired masks. Their uniform design, marching in numbers with disguised faces, always presented an adrenaline-raising threat when they appeared.
This unused design for the Death Eaters made for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire adds something extra to Voldemort's dark army. This design features ornate, detailed, armor-like cloaks combined with strange skull masks that do appear quite human, a look that seems more at home in Star Wars than in Harry Potter's world. The otherworldly, ghoulish feel of this design makes the Death Eaters an even more frightening army to back up Voldemort.
19 The Hogwarts Giant Squid
The wizarding world contains many creatures that never appeared on screen. One such creature is the Hogwarts Giant Squid, an enormous, semi-domesticated squid that lived in Hogwarts' Black Lake. The squid made a few appearances in the books, interacting with students by helping them, playing with them, and even taking food from Hermione and other students.
The giant squid never appeared in any Harry Potter movie, but an early draft had the squid make a brief appearance in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban as Harry flew Buckbeak over the Black Lake.
This concept design from the movie shows the squid's appearance that never made it to filming. Although it would have only been a brief moment, the squid's appearance here with Hogwarts in the background would have made a stunning scene.
18 Riding an Occamy
In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Newt Scamander's adventures introduced fans to a variety of gorgeous new creatures, from the adorable Bowtruckle to the beautiful but dangerous Swooping Evil. Several of these creatures caused trouble in Fantastic Beasts, including an Occamy that escaped Scamander's suitcase.
The occamy design was interesting enough in the movie, which showcased its ability to grow and shrink to fit available space. Scamander and company's attempts to trap the enormous escaped occamy in a teapot was one of the best uses of the new creatures in the movie.
Although the design of the occamy is similar to the final result in this artwork, this concept design takes the creature's part a step further by showing someone riding a flying occamy, which would have been an interesting addition to Scamander's adventures with his New York friends.
17 Christmas with Remus and Tonks
All of the movies have shown Harry's Christmas celebrations, normally at Hogwarts, but occasionally with the Weasley family and his friends from the Order of the Phoenix. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry spent Christmas at the Burrow with the Weasley family.
Remus and Tonks are also shown to be there in a short scene where they discuss the ongoing plot Draco and Snape are involved in to assassinate Dumbledore. The Christmas scene has a serious tone in line with the dark events transpiring at Hogwarts.
This concept art portrays the holiday celebration slightly differently, showing a more light-hearted scene with the Weasleys, Remus, and Tonks gathered around the Christmas tree in a more celebratory atmosphere. Although it may not have matched the tone of the rest of the movie, a scene like this would have shown a few more happy moments for Harry and his friends and provided a little more screen time for Remus and Tonks.
16 The Giants
The giants had a complicated role in Harry Potter lore. They were feared creatures who allied with Voldemort in both the First and Second Wizarding Wars. The epic Battle of Hogwarts included many giants on the side of the Death Eaters attacking Hogwarts forces, but the series also showed beloved half-giant Hagrid and his half-brother Grawp who sided with Hogwarts during the final battle.
The final design of giants was burly and ogre-like, but that was not the only design in consideration. Other concept art designs reveal how the giants could have looked.
This design shows a giant that more closely resembles a human and seems to wear trophies of past victories. This lean, muscular, tattooed design with a necklace of human skulls would have been a compelling visual in the Battle of Hogwarts.
15 The Black Lake Crypt
In the second challenge of the Triwizard Tournament, Harry had to dive into the Black Lake for an hour to rescue his friend captured for the purpose of the challenge.
Over the course of the challenge, Harry had to face the grindylows and merpeople that reside in the lake while trying not to drown. The Black Lake seen in the film appears to be mostly open space with some of the merpeople's structures in the background.
This concept art for the second challenge shows Harry exploring an area of the Black Lake not seen in the movie. He swims through a low, enclosed crypt, most likely home to merpeople, as the looming shadow of a mermaid with glowing eyes would evidence.
This setting would have added a certain intensity by giving a more claustrophobic feeling to Harry's journey into the mysterious Black Lake.
14 Sleigh Ride
With so much material from the books to work with, the creators of the Harry Potter films had difficult decisions about what would make it into the films and would would be cut. Concept artists worked up designs for scenes that never even made it to filming, such as this cut sleigh ride scene from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
This scene would have been a festive addition to the film's Christmas holiday scenes that were otherwise devoted to Hermione finishing the polyjuice potion so the trio could question Draco Malfoy about whether he was the heir of Slytherin.
Unfortunately, the scene was cut before it even began filming, so the concept design is the only version of the winter holiday scene that fans will get to see.
Dementors are arguably the most bone-chilling creatures in the entire Harry Potter series, both literally and figuratively. Dementors are soul-sucking creatures that feed on happy memories.
Wizards are often alerted to their presence by a feeling of despair and the cold and ice forming in the Dementor's vicinity. The Dementors' film design resembled a wraith, with long, ragged cloaks that usually obscured their faces except for their soul-feeding mouths.
Artists worked on various designs for the best way to strike terror into the hearts of the characters and the fans. One design shows a skeletal figure only barely obscured by the cloak, making the Dementor's association with death and despair even more apparent.
Another early design shows a more covered and less wraith-like figure, more resembling the Grim Reaper. Either of these renderings of the Dementors would have made a horrifying spectre in the film.
12 House Elves
Dobby, Kreacher, and the other house elves are now familiar sights in the wizarding world as the overworked, underappreciated, and surprisingly powerful servants of wizards.
House elves are enslaved and often mistreated by their masters who can only free them by presenting them with clothes. These abused creatures are made more sympathetic by the presence of Dobby, whose adorable appearance and unwavering loyalty is hard not to love.
Several other concept designs were considered for the house elves, working with the shape of the head and body for the best results. Some of the designs even change the house elves' color, making them blue or green.
These early house elves are perhaps more believable as the mistreated and ignored servants of wizards, as they are less child-like and more reptilian than Dobby's final design.
11 Nagini's Transformation
Nagini's surprise attack on Harry while disguised as Bathilda Bagshot is one of the most disturbing scenes in the series. Nagini was put into Bathilda's body to lure Harry into a trap where he could be held for Voldemort.
In the film version, after Nagini had lured Harry away from his friends, the visage of Bathilda disappeared under her cloak and Nagini slithered out of the empty cloak.
However, the concept art for this scene shows an even more horrifying version of the transformation inspired by the book. Nagini emerged from the still-intact body of Bathilda in what would have been a scene to really make viewers' skin crawl.
In the end, the filmmakers went with a less graphic version that explained less and left more to the imagination, but there's little doubt this version of the scene would have been a horrific sight to behold.
10 The Obscurus
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them focused heavily on the Obscurus, a highly destructive manifestation of repressed magic that appears when young magical children are forced to repress their magic through abuse.
An Obscurus will attack those who cause the magical child distress. Newt Scamander had an Obscurus in his suitcase that he managed to keep alive and contain after the Obscurial girl died.
This Obscurus in the film was a mysterious floating, black ball of ether. However, the creators considered another design for the Obscurus. This Obscurus is a different shape, probably contained in a more rigid box-shaped field.
The Obscurus seems to have a screaming face inside of it, presumably the face of the host still expressing its distress even after the death of the Obscurial. It is a haunting design for an entity created through someone's pain.
9 Sir Patrick Delaney-Podmore
Sir Patrick Delaney-Podmore was one of many ghosts to inhabit the Hogwarts castle, much to the entertainment of the Hogwarts students. Delaney-Podmore was beheaded in circumstances that are not revealed.
As a ghost, he was in charge of the Headless Hunt and strictly demanded participants must be completely headless to join. This rule set him against Nearly Headless Nick, who could not participate and called him Sir Properly-Decapitated Podmore.
Delaney-Podmore appears in a few scenes in the books, but he never makes an appearance in the movies. The films introduce only a small quantity of the Hogwarts ghosts, but concept art from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets reveals that Sir Patrick was almost included in the films along with his frequently recurring rival Nearly Headless Nick.
8 The Lestrange Vault
The Lestrange family vault at Gringotts contains all manner of mysterious objects. In the movie, the vault notably contained a Horcrux in the form of the cup of Helga Hufflepuff, a copy of the sword of Godric Gryffindor (though it once contained the genuine item), and various gold objects enchanted to multiply whenever a would-be thief tried to touch them.
In the book, the vault contained a variety of odd items, such as the skins of giant creatures, armor, potions, and a skull wearing a crown. This concept for the Lestrange vault draws inspiration from the book for an even stranger item -- an entire gold and jewel-crusted skeleton wearing a crown and other lavish jewelry.
This item's inclusion in the vault would have created even more questions about its origin, though such an odd item would feel right at home in the Lestrange vault.
Harry Potter has had to face many magical creatures throughout his adventures, but few as terrifying or overwhelming as the Inferi that guard the Horcrux in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This army of reanimated corpses was said to have killed Regulus Black.
When Harry and Dumbledore attempted to take the Horcrux, an army of Inferi came up out of the water to attack them. Harry was dragged underwater and almost killed by one of them before being saved by Dumbledore's powerful magic.
The Inferi shown in the film are plentiful, but sparsely dispersed in the lake. This concept art shows a more chilling scene of Harry being overtaken by a literal swarm of Inferi, posing a clear dire threat to Harry. In this scene, it is unsurprising that Harry required Dumbledore's assistance to get free of the army of the dead.
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry encounters the hair-raising colony of mermaids on second task in the Triwizard Tournament. The mermaids in the Black Lake threatened and attacked Harry when he tried to take more than one of the people imprisoned underwater for the champions to save.
The mermaids are scary enough, scarcely resembling anything human, but the concept design for the male of the species is even more so.
The mermen were designed to have the same wild hair as the mermaids, but they seem to have a more animalistic face and body design. Mermaids already draw heavily on the look of a fish or an eel, but the mermen resemble the sea creatures almost entirely. They would have added significantly to the terror of the mermaid attack in the Black Lake had they been included.
5 Dumbledore Duels Voldemort
The duel between Dumbledore and Voldemort is the perfect dramatic climax to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. In the film version of the duel, Voldemort cast a snake made of fire at Dumbledore, which Dumbledore defeated. Dumbledore the trapped Voldemort inside an orb of water.
Voldemort then broke the glass around him and threw it at Dumbledore and Harry before possessing Harry.
This concept art shows a slightly different version of the duel, where Dumbledore casts a rope of fire around Voldemort. This is an adaption of the book version of the duel, where Dumbledore cast this rope and Voldemort turned it into the fiery snake.
The concept of the duel may have been closer to the book in early versions of the script, including this interesting visual and perhaps extending Dumbledore's role in the battle.
4 Fenrir Greyback
Fenrir Greyback's malevolent appearance as a werewolf working for Voldemort made for a few horrifying scenes in the films, though Greyback's involvement in the films was very small compared to the books. The films did not delve into his attacks on Remus Lupin and Bill Weasley, and only a wanted poster explained that Greyback is a werewolf.
Dave Legeno did go through a lot to play Fenrir Greyback for the movies, including having animal hair attached to him to create Greyback's hairy appearance. However, the film version pales in comparison to this chilling concept art showing a more wolf-like Greyback.
The Greyback of the movies is clearly hairier and possesses sharper teeth than a normal human, but this concept design would have hardly resembled a human, showing more of Greyback's vicious animal side.
Nymphadora Tonks was shown very little in the Harry Potter films, but she was always a noticeable presence. In her final design, she usually had shoulder-length purple hair and dark eyes. As she was a Metamorphmagus, able to change her appearance at will, she had a few different looks in the movies and a wider range of appearances in the books.
In this early concept design for Tonks, she makes a striking figure with short, spiky, deep purple hair and unmatched green and purple eyes. Her clothes are more distinctive from the designs of other characters than they are in the films.
She would have been even harder to miss in her scenes with this character design, though it probably would not have changed her underutilized presence in the films.
2 Dumbledore's Funeral
In the film version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Dumbledore's funeral is never seen. The film's director made the decision to cut the scene because it did not work with the other scenes revolving around Dumbledore's death. He felt the funeral made the ending less about the man Dumbledore was and more about the ceremony.
The emotional scene was never filmed for the movie, but concept art shows what the funeral would have looked like if the scene had ever made it to the screen. Most of the remaining beloved characters are in attendance, including Hagrid, Remus, Tonks, and Moody.
Perhaps cutting this scene made for a better cinematic ending, but there is little doubt this would have been a tear-jerking scene for fans to see after Dumbledore's death.
1 Toy Hippogriff
For a school full of students as young as eleven years old, Hogwarts is strangely free of the usual markers of childhood. The only playthings given any real mention in the films are the Weasley creations.
That absence of childhood items makes this concept art from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows all the more haunting. The artwork shows a stuffed toy hippogriff that seems to be lying on the ground.
In their rigorous training to become wizards and witches, it is easy to forget the students at Hogwarts are still kids. Voldemort's frequent attacks on Hogwarts put many young children in danger, and some of the Hogwarts students who took part in the Battle of Hogwarts never actually made it to adulthood.
The presence of a stuffed animal in the dark, violent events of the finals films would have served as a sad reminder of that fact.
What do you think? Do you wish we'd received this Harry Potter concept art in the movies? Let us know in the comments!