The 8 Biggest Takeaways & Surprises from HBO Max's 'Harry Potter: 20th Anniversary Reunion' Special

From Emma Watson and Tom Felton's love for each other to casting stories, here are the takeaways from the 'Harry Potter: 20th Anniversary Reunion' on HBO Max.

harry potter 20 year reunion
Warner Bros.

Image via Warner Bros./HBO Max

harry potter 20 year reunion

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone celebrated its 20th anniversary earlier this year. The beloved cast and crew commemorated the occasion by reuniting for the Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts special premiering on HBO Max on Saturday, Jan. 1. Harry Potter fans will be kicking off the new year filled with nostalgia as they watch Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) head back to where it all started more than two decades ago. The trio became worldwide icons when the movie was released in November 2001, but they had no idea how suddenly their lives would change.

This special is similar to the ones we’ve seen for Friends and for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air recently. In an era where beloved shows and movies are constantly brought back to life for spinoffs and reboots, having a simple walk down memory lane is enough—it’s emotional and nostalgic without overdoing it. This anniversary celebration allowed fans to watch as the cast relived some of the best moments from the 10 years they spent together. The stars recounted stories of their auditions, their first times meeting each other, their secret crushes on set, and even the moments they considered walking away from the franchise.

Harry Potter 20 Year Reunion Emma Watson

As a die-hard Potter fan, seeing Radcliffe with a beard and watching a grown-up Watson walk into Hogwarts made me more sentimental than I anticipated. It’s a strange feeling to look back at your own life and make parallels between where you were and who you were when each one of the movies dropped. As the actors have grown up and gone on to accomplish different things, so have we as fans. Fans who watched the films in theaters at midnight are also all adults now too, some in their 30s or even older, and continuing the magic by introducing the films to younger generations. During the special, Radcliffe said that Harry Potter makes life richer, and that’s exactly what the films have done and will continue to do, always. Check out all the things we learned from the Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts.

Who appears in the Harry Potter special?

Harry Potter 20 Year Reunion

Finding the right actor to play Harry Potter was the most challenging part

Harry Potter 20 Year Reunion Cast

Casting Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley was easier

Harry Potter 20 Year Reunion Emma Watson Tom Felton

They celebrated director Chris Columbus’ contributions to the franchise

Chris Colombus Harry Potter 20 Year Reunion

Watson considered leaving before the fifth film

Harry Potter 20 Year Reunion Emma Watson

Emma Watson “fell in love” with Tom Felton

Emma Watson Tom Felton Harry Potter 20 Year Reunion

The cast revealed that there were crushes, dating, and breakups that took place within the cast just like if Hogwarts was a real high school. They even referred to their time filming 2007’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as their “peak hormone” stage. The chemistry between some of them has remained through the years, though. Felton and Watson revealed there was a connection between them when they were kids, and Felton’s face lit up upon seeing Watson arrive at the reunion. (The moment they hugged is already making the rounds on social media.) Watson made such an impact on him from the start, that he still remembers the first time they met when they were auditioning for the films—and it’s such a typical Draco and Hermione interaction. “This little girl asked me, ‘What’s that?’ and I said, ‘That’s a mic, duh,’” he said. “I remember it because it was Emma.”

Emma Watson and Tom Felton reunite in Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: #ReturntoHogwarts

— Film Updates (@FilmUpdates) December 28, 2021

The actress revealed she had “fallen in love” with her co-star, who was three years older than her, at one point. “I walked into the room where we were having tutoring,” Watson said. “The assignment that had been given was to draw what you thought God looked like, and Tom had drawn a girl with a backward cap on a skateboard.” And that did it for the young actress. “And I just don’t know how to say it—I just fell in love with him. I used to come in every day and look for his number on the call sheet, it was number seven, and if his name was on the call sheet, it was an extra exciting day. He was three years above me and so for him, he was like, ‘You’re like my little sister.’”

Felton and Watson have inspired dating rumors in the past, but they denied those once and for all. “Emma and I have always loved each other, really,” Felton said. “I think I was in the hair and makeup chair and someone said, something along the lines of, ‘She has a crush on you.’ I became very protective over her, I’ve always had a soft spot for her and that continues to the day,” Felton said. “There’s always been something that’s like a kinship.” It seems to have been a little more than that for Watson, who revealed she felt a level of vulnerability with him she didn’t feel with anyone else. “The truth of it was Tom was the one I could often be more vulnerable with,” Watson said. “Nothing has ever, ever, ever happened romantically with us. We just love each other. That’s all I can say about that.”

They paid tribute to their late co-stars 

Harry Potter 20 Year Reunion

Watson said kissing Grint was “horrifying”

harry potter 20 year reunion

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