TV & Movies

Harry Potter Fan Films To Watch Instead of the New TV Show

Source: Taryn Elliot | Pexels
Source: Taryn Elliot | Pexels

It’s no secret J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter film franchises are some of the top-grossing series of all time. Sadly, the magic and excitement of the wizarding world millennials grew up with have largely been mired in controversy for the past few years, leaving some fans wondering how, if at all, they can continue to watch the movies and read the books they’ve loved for most of their lives. 

For those unaware, in 2019, J.K. Rowling tweeted in support of Maya Forstater, a UK woman who lost a non-profit consulting gig after her own series of tweets against the UK’s Gender Recognition Act. Forstater likens gender-affirming surgery to “cosmetic surgery” and defends the sex-based rights of women, a trans-exclusionary stance that Rowling echoed and continues to echo. Transwomen, in particular, are the target of their transphobia as to both Forstater and Rowling, they’re just “men in dresses.” 

As a result, Harry Potter has become tainted for some fans, including myself, with a love of the stories Rowling created overshadowed by her vocal transmisogynistic opinions. Aside from alienating a huge portion of her fanbase, her rejection of transgender identity and experience is adding fuel to the anti-LGBTQ and transphobic fire that’s ramping up across the US and UK, among other places. 

So with the announcement that Warner Brothers Discovery is producing a Harry Potter TV show, many fans are calling for a boycott. 

Rowling and her production company, Brontë Film and TV, are set to produce the new series. And like with the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films, Wizarding World theme parks, Cursed Child stage play, and Hogwarts Legacy video game, that means Rowling stands to profit off it.  

Ultimately, the decision to buy something Rowling has created is an individual’s choice. And I don’t believe people should be publicly shamed or ostracized for it. But if you decide to go the route of opting out of the new show and any other new Harry Potter properties that come about, there is an alternate route you can take. 


How Fans Are Still Enjoying Harry Potter

Continuing to be a Harry Potter fan amidst the J.K. Rowling backlash hasn’t been easy. Can we really separate the art from the artist? I’d like to think that we can, especially if we turn to the fan communities that have given the wizarding world its staying power for the past 26 years. 

Fan-created works have always played an important role in building and fostering community around a fandom. Heck, Fifty Shades of Grey wouldn’t exist without the Twilight fandom. And filmmaker Dan Trachtenberg, director of 10 Cloverfield Lane and Prey, the Hulu-produced Predator film, wouldn’t have gotten his start if it wasn’t for his Portal fan film

The Harry Potter fandom is a particularly rich one, full of immensely passionate and creative people. In fact, many fans have created their own non-profit film interpretations of the stories and characters from the Harry Potter universe. 

So if you still love Harry Potter, but not J.K. Rowling, and are conflicted about whether or not to watch the new Harry Potter TV show when it comes out in a few years, consider watching one of these Harry Potter fan films instead. 


1. The Greater Good

Where to Watch: YouTube

Even if you haven’t read all the Harry Potter books, most fans of the series are aware of the relationship between Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald through the Fantastic Beasts franchise. But before the Fantastic Beasts films were even written, writer-director Justin Zagri was crafting his interpretation for the small screen. 

Perhaps the oldest of the Harry Potter fan films (coming out in 2013), The Greater Good is a 17-minute short that highlights the confrontation between Albus Dumbledore, his brother Aberforth, and Grindelwald. Although Aberforth recalls this confrontation in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and how it led to the death of his and Albus’ sister, Ariana, the fight was never included in any of the Wizarding World films.  

The Greater Good plays out this legendary three-way duel on a beach, rather than the Dumbledore’s home, with standout acting and innovative visual effects. It’s exciting to see the Dumbledore brothers fighting together. And heartbreaking to get a glimpse of Ariana’s fragile mental state—the result of trauma and her Obscurial status. Josh Brodis’ portrayal of Grindelwald is particularly chilling, as we see the beginnings of the psychopathic and xenophobic personality that led to his reign of terror. 

Serving as an inspiration for many later Harry Potter fan films, The Greater Good is definitely worth a watch, especially for Dumbledore stans. 


2. Les Fondateurs: Le Fantôme de Serdaigle (The Founders: The Ravenclaw Ghost)

Where to Watch: YouTube

The Founders was originally slated to be a four-part series on the Hogwarts founders — Godric Gryffindor, Rowena Ravenclaw, Salazar Slytherin, and Helga Hufflepuff. But unfortunately, the filmmakers were only able to release one part before getting halted (and possibly sued?) by Warner Brothers. It’s a shame, too, because the part they did release is a wonderful addition to the Harry Potter universe.

The Ravenclaw Ghost tells the story of Ravenclaw House founder, Rowena Ravenclaw, in her final days, and how her daughter, Helena, became the Gray Lady — Ravenclaw House’s resident Hogwarts ghost. It’s a period piece set in the 10th century at the beginning of Hogwarts’ founding, with wonderful Medieval costumes, sets, and locations. 

Filmed in French with English subtitles, The Ravenclaw Ghost is a haunting piece (pun intended) that’s extremely well done from the set decoration to the music. I also loved seeing how they turned Helena into a ghost. To be honest, I’m not sure the Harry Potter TV show can even top this interpretation of the Ravenclaw story.


3. Voldemort: Origins of the Heir

Where to Watch: YouTube

The filmmakers for Voldemort: Origins of the Heir sought to dive deeper into the events leading up to Voldemort’s rise to power. It focuses on his quest for the Hogwarts founders’ artifacts that he eventually turns into his Horcruxes. 

With engaging story-telling and excellent cinematography, the film jumps between an interrogation scene and flashbacks relating to Tom Riddle, including his relationship with other alleged descendants of the Hogwarts founders, and the death of Hepzibah Smith. 

The film is a visual delight with scenes of Hogwarts, newspaper graphics that look straight out of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, a house elf, and real owls(!). It’s heavy on CG and special effects in some parts, but the production quality is high. Aside from the distracting English dubbing, it’s a really well-done film. And Stefano Rossi, who plays Tom Riddle, is particularly unsettling.

A full-length fan film, Voldemort: Origins of the Heir clocks in at just under one hour. So settle back with some popcorn and a Harry Potter-themed cocktail for your viewing.


4. Sisters of House Black

Where to Watch: YouTube

If you ever wondered what made Bellatrix go completely psycho and become a Death Eater, you have to watch Sisters of House Black. I won’t give it away, but the filmmakers managed to humanize Bellatrix just a little bit as a result.

The film centers on the Black sisters: Bellatrix, Andromeda (Tonk’s mother), and Narcissa (Draco’s mother) who are all as different as sisters can be. At the start, they’re like a little coven, more powerful together than when they’re apart. But by the end of it, they’re broken by their family’s obsession with pure blood supremacy and involvement with Lord Voldemort. 

The story has a few time jumps, which, aside from moving the story along, allows us to see Bellatrix’s story arc progress. But surprisingly, this is one of the more fast-paced fan films, despite having a run time of 42 minutes. Slytherins and Bellatrix lovers will revel in this gothic family drama.


5. Neville Longbottom and The Black Witch

Where to Watch: YouTube

One of the most impressive fan films on this list is Neville Longbottom and The Black Witch. Filmmaker Kali Bailey imagines the story of Neville’s parents, Frank and Alice Longbottom, and how they came to be at St. Mungo’s. It’s a unique glimpse into the lives of the Longbottoms before Voldemort and his minions destroy their family.  

The film is extremely well done—professionally shot—with spot-on locations, impressive effects (including a flying letter!), and great acting. Kathryn Baker, who plays Bellatrix Lestrange, is absolutely feral in this film and really channels Helena Bonham-Carter with her wide-eyed portrayal of Voldemort’s most devoted servant. Because of the high production value, it’s easy to get lost in the story and forget that this is a fan creation and not an official release. 

There are also so many great creative touches throughout the film like the moving greeting cards, paintings, and newspapers that looks straight out of one of the official films. And when Alice gives Neville a gum wrapper at the end? Gut-wrenching. 

Have some tissues ready because this is probably the most tragic and painful-to-watch story in the Harry Potter universe.


6. Severus Snape and the Marauders

Where to Watch: YouTube

Ok, I have to admit, I’m a bit biased with this one. I helped produce this fan film with my husband. But I promise it’s worth it! 

Severus Snape and the Marauders went viral when it came out in 2016, getting shared by the BBC, Entertainment Weekly, and MTV among other outlets. The film was shot with a professional crew in Los Angeles and was crowdfunded for approximately $31,000 by fans all over the world. Many of the extras were also from a now-defunct wizarding camp, The Hollywood Academy of Magic and Mystery (HAMM), so shout out to them!

The story focuses on the rivalry between Severus Snape, Harry’s father, James Potter, and his friends the Marauders: Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew. It takes place after they all graduate from Hogwarts and are on the precipice of The Great Wizarding War. After running into Snape at a pub, the Marauders decide to confront him, aware of his propensity for the dark arts. 

Severus Snape and the Marauders is 25 minutes of gorgeous cinematography and music, superb acting, and incredible special effects. There are also lots of little references to details from the books. Plus, if you’re a Star Wars fan, don’t miss the matte painting of Hogwarts at 1:17, created by Bryan Morten, art director for the Star Wars: The Force Awakens poster.